At the end of March, HathiTrust announced that one of the ways they are responding to the widespread closures of libraries is to launch their Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) to allow the circulation of millions of digital copies of books now locked up in library stacks. Even those digital books that are still in copyright which under normal circumstances are not available. This is very exciting to those of us whose regular job duties include getting resources into the hands of patrons. Most of us in Technical Services have that mission at the core of our jobs, even though we do not work directly with patrons providing reference or instruction.
After HathiTrust outlined parameters of the ETAS with representatives from member institutions on April 2nd, 2020, an announcement went out to the Duke Community letting everyone know to look for the “Temporary Access” button on HathiTrust’s site, which gives us access to view one page at a time for in- copyright materials of which DUL holds a print copy.
Cory Lown and I quickly started communicating on how we could improve access for our patrons. Because the Hathi BibAPI is already in use for the Books & Media catalog for open access materials, we considered that avenue. Initially, there was not enough metadata available to us to reliably determine which digital books are available through ETAS. So, I started to strategize on how to add records to our Aleph ILS and communicated with our colleagues at UNC-Chapel Hill to determine if their method would work for us. The number of records that would need to be created, though, was high at 1.3 million. That much new access for our patrons is great, but developing the process to get records in, and plan for getting them back out later when ETAS ended, meant that loading records into Aleph was going to be very time consuming.
On April 8th, HathiTrust published an article on their website, “How to Add ETAS Records to Your Catalog” which discusses three ways to provide direct links to the digital surrogate of an institution’s holdings. After reading this article, investigating what our peers were doing, and searching for the information needed to succeed, I realized all of the methods described meant that we had to have access to the HathiFiles database, the Overlap Report for Duke, and authentication credentials so that patrons would be prompted to login with Shibboleth to prove they are Duke people.
I reached back out to Cory to discuss which of the three methods we should use; ultimately, we decided that a combination of two was best for Duke. So, Cory updated how we use the BibAPI to harvest data from a local store of the HathiFiles and Overlap Report to generate URLs that are embedded in records as they are displayed in the Books & Media Catalog.
So, as of April 17th, in addition to being able to search for materials directly in HathiTrust, as they had since April 2nd, patrons now see “View Online” links to the ETAS items directly in our catalog. This temporary access means that approximately 38% of our print holdings now have links to HathiTrust materials (this percentage includes the open access links that were available before making this change).
Here is an example record that shows a “View Online” link: https://find.library.duke.edu/?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search_field=all_fields&q=D02036262L
With teaching, learning, and research activities now having to be done remotely I expect we will continue to look for ways to help our users gain the most effective access we can manage under the circumstances.