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HathiTrust Digital Library

Provides overview and tips on using the HathiTrust Digital Library.

Copyright & HathiTrust Digital Library

Many of the items in HathiTrust Digital Library are protected under copyright law, meaning that full-text viewing is not possible without the express permission of the copyright holder. Those items in the public domain can be viewed in their entirety (e.g. such as U.S. works published before 1928), as well as U.S. government documents, and items where the copyright holder gave permission to HathiTrust. Details about copyright can be found at

Additionally (from the HathiTrust web site): "Because of differences in international copyright laws, access is also restricted for users outside the United States to works published outside the United States after and including 1898. Therefore, users accessing the volume from US IP addresses will have access to the works published outside the US between 1898 and 1928; however, users with non-US IP addresses will not."

Limited (Search Only) View vs. Full-text View

Not everything that has a record in HathiTrust Digital Library is available in its full-text form (indicated as "Full View"). Some books and journals have an "viewability" status of "Limited (search-only)."

Those works that are still under copyright display a "Limited (search-only)" status. You can still search within those works for your key terms, to better understand if the work has the content and context you seek. You can then place an interlibrary loan request to borrow a print version (full text) of that work for your research purposes.

Image of a catalog record with Limited access for Sari, sarong, and shorts.

HathiTrust catalog record with Limited access for the title, "Sari, sarong, and shorts."

For those items that are not restricted by copyright, the "Full View" option will appear in the Catalog record.

Image of a full view catalog record for Vitru und die Poliorketiker

HathiTrust full view catalog record for the title, Vitru und die Poliorketiker.


Clicking on the "Full View" link in a Catalog record will lead you to the HathiTrust Digital Library book reader view.

Image of book reader (full text) view of Vitruv und die Poliorketiker

HathiTrust book reader (full text) view of the title, Vitruv und die Poliorketiker.

In the book reader or full text display, you have multiple methods to view the book or journal page image, such as:

  • Vertical scroll
  • Page flip, side by side
  • Thumbnail overview
  • One page at a time, page-by-page
  • Plain text 

You can jump to specific page numbers or sections (e.g. table of contents), too, as well as search within the text of the item.


U-M users of HathiTrust Digital Library can download complete books in the public domain (or works available under a Creative Commons license). Guests can download one page at a time.

To download a book, display the "full view" of the item in the book reader. Click on the "Download" menu to expand your options. Click on the "LOGIN" link in the pop-up box. Select the "University of Michigan," and log in with your U-M credentials. Click on the whole book option to begin downloading the scanned image of the work. Please be patient while the system creates a PDF to download!

Image of HathiTrust book reader view of "A book for cooks"

HathiTrust book reader view for the title, A book for the cook: Old fashioned receipts for new fashioned kitchens.