Emergency full text access: HathiTrust

As an emergency measure due to COVID-19 restrictions, HathiTrust is opening up the full text for nearly 2 million copyright-protected items, provided Harvard Library owns a physical copy. 


Harvard University affiliates with a valid HarvardKey for remote access to online resources

  • Unfortunately, this excludes users with "special borrower" or "research assistant" cards through the library. 


If the work is available in digital form in HathiTrust, and Harvard has the physical book in its collection, users will usually be able to access the digital version.

  • Works in the public domain will be accessible as usual
  • The physical book(s) in our collection will not be accessible as long as we have access to the HathiTrust version. See "How."


These works are protected by copyright and normally would not be available to us online; this is legally possible because the library copies are inaccessible to our users during this unprecedented time. This is a temporary emergency measure.

How to get to the full text:

  • From HOLLIS, follow the HathiTrust link from the HOLLIS record.
    • If you've been given a link directly to HathiTrust or are searching on the HathiTrust page without going through HOLLIS, click on the yellow Log In button in the upper right corner. Choose Harvard to get to HarvardKey authentication.
      • If you have not gone through a "View Online" link in HOLLIS, you must log in on the HathiTrust page in order to see the "Temporary Access" status of the relevant items. 
      • If you click on a "may be in HathiTrust" link in HOLLIS, you may still need to log in at Hathi.
  • You can Check Out a book for 1 hour. Your access will renew automatically at the end of that hour unless another user has requested the book.
    • These books, labeled “Temporary Access,” are read-only (the text can't be downloaded, printed, etc.). *Note: single page downloading is no longer allowed (as of May 28, 2020)
    • One user at a time (per title) for each copy we have.
    • To read a book that is being used by someone else, you will need to check back periodically.
  • Help your colleagues out! Use the Return Early button to make it available for another user if you do finish early.

Troubleshooting tips & Notes:

Log In at HathiTrust: No matter how you arrive at the HathiTrust website, if you are not seeing the "Temporary Access" link for an item that appears to meet the requirements, make sure you're logged in on that page (look in the upper right corner). 

Serials & Multi-volume sets: if a HOLLIS link matches up with a set of works in Hathi, the only link related to that item on that page will say "Catalog Record." You must click on this link to see more detailed information including the availability of the item you're looking for. 

If the scan has missing or illegible pages: this is the only instance in which we can access the print item during this time. You can submit a request in Scan & Deliver; if a link doesn't appear in the HOLLIS record, go directly to your Scan & Deliver account (HarvardKey).

If you have trouble reaching these links, Ask a Librarian (or chat from that page or HOLLIS when available).

HathiTrust has more at their Emergency Temporary Access FAQs.

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