Thursday, February 23, 2012

HathiTrust Collections

Are you familiar with the collection creation part of HathiTrust?

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:

In order for us to do this, we would need you to identify specifically which items you want in the collection by either supplying us with IDs or providing a specific set of search terms and limitations.  There are various ways this can be achieved, depending on the type of material you want in your collection. Here are some examples of collections that have been custom built:
Identify the title, and we will locate all the items attached to all the records from all the partners and build a collection. 
This collection was based on a catalog search for "genealogy" anywhere in a HathiTrust record, with only full view items wanted.  The owner has since added other items manually after the fact; the genesis of the collection was roughly 1700 items.
Because we link to HathiTrust items in Mirlyn, our catalog, I could use the Aleph client and retrieve all the records with a location of "Hatcher Graduate Reference Rm." and then save all the attached HathiTrust holdings to extract IDs.  The selector who wanted this collection elected to have volumes from all partners included; it would have been simple to have limited it to Michigan items only, if he had decided to do so, based on the namespace of the identifiers.
ESTC staff provided us with identifiers based on their analysis of the bibliographic information available through the bib API.

Please note that once the collection has been built, we would transfer ownership to whomever wants it so the collection can be updated and maintained. 

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