Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tech Tuesday - HathiTrust Digital Library

   While searching for source information about the "Wisconsin Helper" on a research note in my Gill family folders, I was directed by WorldCat to HathiTrust Digital Library.
   That was a new one for me.
   I found that the "Wisconsin Helper" had been digitized and could be searched, but was not available for full view because of the copyright.

   I was curious! What was this library? A news release from Indiana University had a brief history of the trust.
"The HathiTrust was created in 2008 through a partnership with the 12-university consortium known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), the 11 university libraries of the University of California system and the University of Virginia. Since that time HathiTrust has grown to encompass the research libraries of more than 50 institutions. HathiTrust was built to enable libraries a means to archive and provide access to their digital content, whether scanned volumes, special collections or born-digital materials. Preserving materials for the long term has long been a mission and driving force of leading research libraries. Their collections, accumulated over centuries, represent a treasury of cultural heritage and investment in the broad public good of promoting scholarship and advancing knowledge. The representation of these resources in digital form provides expanded opportunities for innovative use in research, teaching and learning, but must be done with careful attention to effective solutions for the curation and long-term preservation of digital assets."
   Statistics on the home page says the trust holds 8,577,950 total volumes, 4,701,131 book titles, 209,874 serial titles amounting to 3,002,282,500 pages and 384 terabytes. And only three years old.

   Even though I'm not supposed to be doing research right now (you remember the "I've GOT to get organized" project), I had to give the library a spin.
   You can do a Catalog Search, or a Full Text Search or set up your own Collection. I didn't want to take the time to try setting up a collection, so I decided to dive in to a full-text search. As I discovered a bit later, there is an advanced search for the catalog but not for full text (coming in the future).
   Hmmm. OK.

    Gill. Search is very fast. Returned 880,669 hits, 263,073 in items available for full view. A few too many to look through in . . . what . . . two years.
   William Gill. -- 707,645 total, 229,770 full view. Default must be AND or I'd have gotten more hits.
   "William Gill" -- in quotes -- 6,872 total, 3,421 full view. Still too many.
   "William Gill" & "New Brunswick" -- no good -- use AND or OR or a minus sign (-) to remove words as search terms.
   "William Gill" AND "New Brunswick" -- 2,610 total, 1,266 full view.
   "William Gill" AND "New Brunswick" AND Brockway -- 719 total, 250 full view. I might wade through those some day. Maybe add "-Jersey" to eliminate New Brunswick, New Jersey.
   One more: "William Gill" AND "New Brunswick" AND "Anna Brockway" -- 5 total, 1 full view.

   That's drilling down. 
   The full view was from New Jersey so no help, but one of the "search-only" books I had to find -- Early families of "the Mackadavy" : settlers before, during, and following the Loyalist period, Magaguadavic Valley, Parish of St. George, Southwestern New Brunswick, Canada. Two clicks took me back to WorldCat which told me the closest library owning the book was Allen County -- 210 miles away.
   OK. I'll buy it. It was published in 2004 so it should be available. Well, maybe. Amazon didn't have it. A Google search found one website that said it's out of print and another that said it was $35. The latter site had the author's email address so I fired off an email for clarification. Email bounced. No such address. Not a good sign. This will require some additional research.

   Pages from full-view books can be read on the HathiTrust website. The PDFs also can be downloaded if you are on the domain of a partner institution. Alternatives are to check Google Books, Internet Archive or elsewhere for a downloadable PDF.
   HathiTrust has been added to my Google bookmarks.


  1. I really appreciate how you showed your search strategies! Does your local library do interlibrary loan? Could you get them to request a loan from another library?

  2. Thanks for the suggestion. Considering the type of book it is, I doubt libraries would let it go out. But it certainly is worth a try.

  3. At first I was confused with the search strategy but then it made sense. Thank you for this insight. I'm not sure if this will benefit my research, but I'll definitely post your post for later reference!

  4. Organize?? time to organize? :-)
    Nah - these side tracks are more fun! You'll get back to organizing soon enough.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  5. Hi, thanks for this post. My fingers are crossed that I find out more about my WI ancestors.

  6. Hi Denise -- Winnebago County?