Access millions of items from McGill’s print collection through new HathiTrust emergency service

Published: 30 April 2020

In response to COVID-19, HathiTrust Digital Library has made over two million books from McGill University Library’s print collection available online for all McGill students, faculty, and staff. The Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) includes in-copyright material. The new service provides remote access to over half of McGill’s print collection. In addition to the digitized books held by HathiTrust in McGill’s print collection, all library users continue to have access to more than 6.7 million public domain and Creative Commons-licensed works in HathiTrust, including the ability to download the full text of those works.

McGill users can access the digitized collections by searching the HathiTrust Digital Library. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. From anywhere on the HathiTrust website, click the yellow LOG IN button.
  2. Find and select “McGill University” in the list of partner institutions.
  3. Log in with your McGill email address and password.
  4. When you have successfully logged in, you will be returned to the HathiTrust website.
  5. Enter your search terms in the search bar and select the “Search HathiTrust” button to submit your search.


Watch this short how-to video by Houman Behzadi, Head Librarian at the Marvin Duchow Music Library


Please note that:

  • Users will have 60 minutes of access to the book on the HathiTrust website during any session. Books will automatically be renewed if you remain active on the item and no other user has requested it.
  • While full downloads are not permitted, users may download individual pages.
  • Access to in-copyright materials will be suspended once access to McGill’s print collections is reinstated.
  • The number of copies available for each book coincides with the number of print copies McGill owns. If McGill owns three copies of an item, for example, three McGill affiliates can access the book at any given time. If all copies are in use, users can request it but must wait until one is released.
  • This service is intended for individual research use and at this time, cannot accommodate group use (such as for a course).

If you have questions about the service or need more detailed help, please contact your liaison librarian or chat/text with a librarian Monday - Friday: 10AM-6PM; Saturday 12PM-5PM.

McGill Library’s partnership with HathiTrust

This arrangement, which respects Canadian copyright law, has been made possible via McGill University Library’s membership in HathiTrust – a nonprofit partnership of academic and research institutions that preserves digitized books, journals and other print materials, and makes them as accessible as possible under copyright law.

By offering this service HathiTrust is helping the McGill Library to continue to support teaching and research while we are physically distancing to protect the health of our community.

For more information on HathiTrust and its Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) initiative visit the dedicated website.


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