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New Shared Print Advisory Committee at HathiTrust

The committee is an opportunity for Harvard Library to actively contribute and share knowledge of collection management and resource-sharing practices with the HathiTrust partnership. 


HathiTrust is a membership organization that provides 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 materials digitized 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.

For Harvard faculty, students and staff, this means a wealth of digital content provided by more than 50 research libraries. Library users have access to millions of books, journals and public-domain content at a click of a button.

To begin the work of building the print archive, the membership supported a 2011 ballot initiative calling for the development of a distributed print monographs archive. HathiTrust charged a Print Monographs Archive Planning Task Force in the spring of 2014 to make initial recommendations for a program that would serve both members and the broader scholarly community. In response to the Task Force Report, the HathiTrust Program Steering Committee created a Shared Print Advisory Committee (SPAC). The Committee is asked to make recommendations in the following areas, building on the plan proposed by the task force and endorsed by the Program Steering Committee and Board of Governors in June 2015.

  • Goals and selection criteria for retention commitments. SPAC will review the Task Force recommended plan and advise about a feasible methodology and timetable for identifying holdings to be committed to the HathiTrust Shared Print Program.
  • Recruitment and qualifications of retention partner libraries. SPAC will recommend methods to encourage partner participation and will identify standards and criteria for participation if desired (e.g. geographic distribution, facility type, breadth of contribution).
  • Data and systems infrastructure. SPAC will review and advise about use cases, system requirements and preferred approaches and priorities for developing and supporting HTSPP systems, based on technical information developed by others.
  • Operating policies, memorandum of understanding (MOU) terms, and business model. SPAC will review and confirm or suggest modifications to the operating policies, MOU terms, and business model recommended by the Task Force, including retention periods, discovery, access policies, and service models. SPAC will also advise regarding appropriate methods to gather input and commitment from the general partnership. Once the HathiTrust Shared Print Program is operational, SPAC will review policies periodically and as requested by partners. Final decisions about policies, MOU terms, and the business model will rest with the Program Steering Committee and/or the Board.

The committee is chaired by Lizanne Payne and includes colleagues from across the country. The current slate of participants include:

  • Clem Guthro (Colby College)
  • Jacob Nadal (ReCAP)
  • Ken Peterson (Harvard University)
  • Matthew Revitt (Maine Shared Collections Strategy)
  • Matthew Sheehy (Brandeis University)
  • Emily Stambaugh (California Digital Library)
  • Karla Strieb (Ohio State University)
  • Tom Teper (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Ben Walker (University of Florida)

The committee is an opportunity for Harvard Library to actively contribute and share our knowledge of collection management and resource-sharing practices with the partnership. Additionally, we have a unique opportunity to shape the program—which may help inform our own internal processes for approaching commitment and access decisions.

Article by Ken Peterson, Director of Access Services, Harvard Library

Article published on August 3, 2016.