Are you familiar with the collection creation part of HathiTrust? http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/mb
There are currently 829 collections created by users and library staff. Many are fantastic and many aren't! We primarily see collections as providing a way to collect materials on a theme or even associated with a particular physical collection/location. Once items are put into a collection, you can search the full-text of just the items in that collection. At the University of Michigan, we have a few collections that are connected to physical locations (e.g., graduate reference reading) so staff and users can search within these collections to help figure out which book has some obscure term or quote and then go pull it from the shelf.
The HathiTrust UX Advisory group has been talking about how great it would be to have even more high-quality collections to help demonstrate the usefulness of this feature. We'd also like to explore how this kind of feature could better help support library needs.
Because large collections can be somewhat cumbersome to create manually, HathiTrust staff can actually work with you to help build them! See below for more details on this along with some sample, custom collections we've helped make.
Does anyone have ideas for collections that might be useful to them or their patrons? Feel free to forward this email to anyone who might.
Information about getting help to build custom collections: