The University Library, like many academic libraries around the world, is experiencing a disruption in service that has severely limited access to our physical collections. As part of our efforts to provide the materials that you need for your research and study, the University Library is now participating in the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) program.
ETAS allows us to make more than 832,000 in-copyright books held in the Library’s print collections available for full-text, online reading to current McMaster students, faculty, and staff. Access is provided via the HathiTrust Digital Library and will be in place for the duration of the University Library’s closure due to COVID-19. This arrangement, which respects Canadian copyright law, has been made possible by the University Library’s membership in HathiTrust.
How to access the ETAS collection
There are two ways that you can access digitized books made available to McMaster users through ETAS:
Through the Library Catalogue
- Search the primary Library Catalogue from our website as usual—be sure to select the “Catalogue” tab—and look for the orange HathiTrust logo in the full record view. (Note that this process is not available in the Classic Catalogue.)
- Click the logo. This will take you directly to the record for the digitized version of that item in the HathiTrust Digital Library. You will be prompted to log in with your MacID and password for access.
- Click the “Temporary access” link in the Viewability section. This will take you to the temporary access page.
- Click the “Check out” button in the orange banner at the top of the page.
Go directly to HathiTrust
- On the HathiTrust website, click the yellow “LOG IN” button at the top right.
- Find and select McMaster University in the list of partner institutions. You will be prompted to log in with your MacID and password.
- When you have successfully logged in, you will be returned to the HathiTrust website where you can search the Digital Library.
- In-copyright books with “Temporary Access” links are available to McMaster users via ETAS.
Important things to know about ETAS access
- Some books have been digitized by more than one library. You may use the copy from any Original Source library where a Temporary Access link is present. McMaster will not appear as a source library.
- You will have 60 minutes of access to the book on the HathiTrust website. Books will be automatically renewed if you remain active in the book and no other user has requested it.
- Please be courteous and return ETAS books that you have “checked out” when you are no longer using them. This will allow another McMaster student or faculty member to have access as soon as possible.
- You can read the book online but downloads are not permitted.
- The number of digital copies available to McMaster users matches the number of physical copies held by the University Library.
- This service is intended for individual research use and cannot accommodate group use (such as for a course).
What is HathiTrust?
HathiTrust is an international community of research libraries, with more than 150 members in the U.S., Canada, and around the world. Founded in 2008 by a collaborative of the universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (now the Big Ten Academic Alliance) and the University of California system, HathiTrust preserves more than 17 million digitized print items. McMaster University Library became a HathiTrust member in 2018.
HathiTrust members steward and continue to build this digital collection—the largest set of digitized books managed by academic and research libraries—to support preservation and access to digitized books, journals, and other print materials. In addition to reading access, the HathiTrust digital collection is available for computational research by faculty and students at member institutions through the HathiTrust Research Center.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Emergency Temporary Access Service
Will McMaster’s Library Catalogue tell me if the book is available in the HathiTrust digital library?
Yes. Thanks to an integration with the Library Catalogue, HathiTrust availability is displayed for print books in the University Library’s collections now available digitally to McMaster students, faculty, and staff through the ETAS program. If the HathiTrust logo does not appear in the record, that print title may not be available in the HathiTrust Digital Library.
This is in addition to the nearly 1.9 million digitized public domain works always available to McMaster users via HathiTrust and included in our Library Catalogue.
Why don’t I have access to a specific book?
Through the Emergency Temporary Access Service, you have access to items that are in McMaster University Library’s print collections and that match a digitized copy in HathiTrust. The data used to match the two collections and determine access was provided to HathiTrust by the Library in late April. We have endeavored to make the data provided as current and comprehensive of the University Library’s print book and journal collections as possible.
We do not have access to in-copyright items that are not held in print by the University Library.
How did HathiTrust get copies of these books?
Much of HathiTrust's content originated from the Big Ten Academic Alliance and the University of California’s work with Google to digitize millions of print volumes. These have been ingested into HathiTrust for preservation and shared access.
All HathiTrust members are able and encouraged to deposit copies of their digitized books, journals, and other print materials for preservation and access for HathiTrust members. The University Library has not yet deposited our own digitized content, but this is in progress. Books, rare books, maps, archives, and many other materials digitized by the University Library are available in our Digital Archive.
I keep getting the message that all copies are in use. Why can’t I access this book?
Through the Emergency Temporary Access Service, the number of simultaneous users of the digitized version of a specific book is equal to the number of physical copies held by the University Library. The University Library holds one copy of most titles, meaning that one digital copy is available to McMaster users.
Please be courteous and return ETAS books that you have “checked out” when you are no longer using them so that other users may have access. As noted above, books will be automatically returned after 60 minutes of inactivity.
I can usually download a copy of the whole book. Why can’t I download this book?
Books that are labeled with “Temporary Access” are provided through the Emergency Temporary Access Service. No downloading of books provided through ETAS is possible. (Note that as initially launched ETAS access allowed single-page downloads. This policy was changed by HathiTrust on May 28.)
Books that are no longer in copyright may continue to be fully downloaded. As usual, you will need to log in for full-book downloads of public domain works.
I need a book or journal included in the HathiTrust digital library in an accessible format. Is this possible?
Yes. All items in the HathiTrust digital library, regardless of their availability through the Emergency Temporary Access Service, can be provided for users needing accessible formats. Please contact Library Accessibility Services for assistance.
I am teaching a class, and all my students need to read the same book to finish an assignment. Can they all read it at the same time?
No. Through the ETAS program, HathiTrust can only provide simultaneous access to the digital copy equal to the number of print copies that the University Library holds. We are not able to use titles available through ETAS for course reserves or for other purposes where many users will need access at the same time.
You may, however, use out of copyright materials from HathiTrust in your courses. Public domain titles available to us via HathiTrust do not have restrictions on the number of simultaneous users. For more information and assistance on course reserves, including eReserves, please visit our Course Reserves page.
I still have questions. Who can I ask?
For general questions about HathiTrust or access to materials in the HathiTrust Digital Library, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help you.
If you are interested in using the HathiTrust digital collection for computational research, please contact the Lewis and Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship for assistance in getting started.
HathiTrust has created a series of FAQ documents that you may find helpful. These will explain many of the services that are available to McMaster students, faculty, and staff through our HathiTrust membership.
Additional information about the Emergency Temporary Access Service is also available on the HathiTrust website.