HathiTrust began in 2008 as a collaboration of the universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the University of California system to establish a repository to archive and share their digitized collections. HathiTrust has quickly expanded to include additional partners and to provide those partners with an easy means to archive their digital content.
The initial focus of the partnership has been on preserving and providing access to digitized book and journal content from the partner library collections. This includes both in copyright and public domain materials digitized by Google, the Internet Archive, and Microsoft, as well as through in-house initiatives. The partners aim to build a comprehensive archive of published literature from around the world and develop shared strategies for managing and developing their digital and print holdings in a collaborative way.
The primary community that HathiTrust serves are the members (faculty, students, and users) of its partners libraries, but the materials in HathiTrust are available to all to the extent permitted by law and contracts, providing the published record as a public good to users around the world.
HathiTrust Digital Library is a digital preservation repository and highly functional access platform. It provides long-term preservation and access services for public domain and in copyright content from a variety of sources, including Google, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, and in-house partner institution initiatives.
The partners ensure the reliability and efficiency of the digital library by relying on community standards and best practices, developing policies and procedures to manage content and services at scale, and maintaining a modular, open infrastructure.