Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tuesday's Tip : Check Out The Hathi Trust Digital Library

When researching your family history, one can never have too many trusted places to look for information.  If you haven't visited this site before, I urge you to visit the HathiTrust Digital Library at www.hathitrust.org.  It just may become one of your favorite sites.

For starters, as the website indicates on the opening screen, "HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world."  The partnership has digitized over 10.7 million volumes, many of which are available for viewing in their entirety online  The partnership itself is impressive - major universities, The Library of Congress, The New York Public Library, and others of similar stature.(1)

I became a fan of HathiTrust while looking for the complete Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, all five volumes, when I was researching my Second Great Grand Uncle Samuel Howard Dean.  Some sources had parts of a few pages from specific volumes, but I wanted to find all five volumes so that I could refer to it for a number of my relatives as well as my husband's.  All five volumes were digitized and available to download or else to read online through HathiTrust.  I was surprised to see so many other genealogy / historical resources available considering the academic nature of the library's partnerships.

Since then, I have found myself returning to HathiTrust and finding other digital resources from an out-of-print genealogy of a 2GGrandparent (The Genealogy of the Benson--Latimer ... Families by Mary Benson Maxwell) to a listing of lumber yards in Manitoba which showed my grandfather as a purchasing agent for one of them.  Both of these were available in full view online with digital images of the original pages and even the covers.  The "search within" box helped me quickly find my information, even in a lengthy book.  For resources with limited, search-only view, you have the opportunity to migrate to OCLC World Cat to see which libraries have that resource available.  This makes it easy to consider using an interlibrary loan or to plan a visit to specific library to use that resource.

I'm using HathiTrust enough that I have established a free, "friend account".  A friend account brings with it the ability to create personal collections of digital resources.  My collection currently holds the five volumes of the Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia as well as Mary Benson Maxwell's Genealogy of the Benson--Latimer ... Families, resources I know I will be using in the future.  One special benefit of setting up a collection is the ability to search within my entire collection for a name, location, or event.  This has been particularly helpful in searching for names in the thousands of pages of the Roster of ... Soldiers volumes.  Even without the friend account, I could still have this searching ability, just one volume as a time. 

Screen capture of my Genealogy Resources collection
There are a number of great sites for digitized print resources including Google Books, HeritageQuest, and Internet Archive, but HathiTrust is my new favorite.  It has a large number of full view resources, ease in searching for information within a specific work, the ability to sync with World Cat to locate print copies of a resource, and a user friendly collections feature.  It all combines to make HathiTrust a prime resource for me.

(1)  HathiTrust. "Home Page." Database and images. HathiTrust. http://www.hathitrust.org : 2013.

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