Four Universities and UC Libraries Join Orphan Works Project

Cornell University, Duke University, Emory University, and Johns Hopkins University have joined the Orphan Works Project.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Leaders at Cornell, Duke, Emory and Johns Hopkins universities jointly announced today that they would begin making the full text of thousands of "orphan works" in their library collections digitally accessible to students, faculty and researchers at their own institutions. . . .

With the announcement, the four institutions formally join the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Florida in a collaborative Orphan Works Project, which aims to identify orphan works that have been scanned and archived in the HathiTrust Digital Library. HathiTrust is a partnership of more than 50 major research institutions working to share, archive and preserve their combined collections of digitized books and journals.

Currently, more than 9 million digitized volumes are held by the HathiTrust. No one knows exactly how many of those are orphans, but HathiTrust executive director John Wilkin has estimated that it could be as many as half. Of those, most are unlikely to have any surviving person or entity who can claim them. . . .

Only books that are identified as orphans through a careful process and also held in print format by the individual institutions will be accessible through the HathiTrust website, and they will only be accessible to members of their respective communities. Just as most academic libraries only allow authorized patrons to check out books from their print collections, so will online access be restricted to users who can authenticate with their university ID and password. However, if a university library is open to the public, visitors will have access through library computers.

The University of California Libraries have also joined the project.

| Digital Scholarship |

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