Update:

We have resumed some on-campus services, including book pickup, virtual consultations, and fulfilling scanning/digitization requests. Many library materials are available online, but our buildings remain closed until further notice.

Access to Digitized Versions of Physical Books Held by Harvard

HathiTrust, a large digital book provider, has given emergency temporary access to their materials while Harvard Library remains physically closed.

Through this service, Harvard Library users with a valid HarvardKey may lawfully access specific digitized versions of physical books held by Harvard. These items may be protected by copyright law but are made available through Temporary Access. No further reproduction or distribution is permitted by any means without the permission of the copyright holder. Please see additional information and FAQs at HathiTrust.

Works in the public domain continue to be available as usual. 

Which in-copyright books are eligible

If the work is available in digital form in HathiTrust, and Harvard has the physical book in its collection, users will usually be able to access the digital version. We say "usually" because the access is also based on matching OCLC numbers in HOLLIS and HathiTrust, for data in HOLLIS based on a 2018 snapshot. 

How it works

  1. Log In to HathiTrust as Harvard University
  2. Search for books and read online.

To note:

  • “Temporary Access” books can be read online only.
  • You can Check Out a book for 1 hour. Your access will renew automatically at the end of that hour, unless another user requests the book after that hour is over. 
  • Only one user may Check Out a book at a time (or one user per each copy of the book we hold). 
  • Use the Return Early button to make it available for another user. 
  • To read a book that is being used by someone else, you will need to check back periodically.