In every deal you get some things and don’t get (or give up) others, that’s what makes it a deal.
HathiTrust recently a welcome expansion of access to public domain texts, within some significant limits if you aren’t a HathiTrust institution.
- All users can now download full PDFs of public domain volumes that were not digitized by Google. This currently includes nearly 100,000 Internet Archive-digitized volumes that were contributed by the University of California and thousands of volumes digitized locally by the University of Michigan.
- Authenticated users can now download full PDFs of ALL public domain volumes.
Seems safe to assume that a contract/license with Google is what prevents them from sharing public domain PDFs digitized by Google with unauthenticated and unaffiliated users.
In fact, it’s kind of suprisingly nice that they can apparently share digitized-by-google public domain texts with the users of HathiTrust institutions, that are not umich, and that may not even be Google partners (you don’t need to be a google partner to be a HathiTrust partner, do you?).
Thanks HathiTrust for actually giving everyone the maximum account you safely can by contract and copyright law (and additionally, not interpreting ‘safely can’ in the absolute most conservative way possible), instead of just saying “Ah, forget it, that’s too hard, let’s only let umich users/HathiTrust partners/Google partners access any of it.”
And HathiTrust is still useful even without full text, the ability to search text even without being able to see more than snippets (or in some cases page numbers) is still useful. And I’m glad to have a non-profit library consortium in the sector, not just a Google monopoly. If HT wouldn’t really have been possible to start without a jump start from Google, well, that comes with limitations, but it’s a really good platform to start from and the HT folks are doing a good job with it.