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A basic guide on using HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access during COVID-19 closure of the University Libraries.
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UNL Libraries Essential Information

HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access

Why Do I have to Use the Electronic Book When a Print Copy is on the Shelf?

HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access (ETAS) is designed to authorize access to copyrighted, or potentially copyrighted, material during a crisis situation where a library is not able to provide access to its physical collections. Since copyright is involved, there are limitations on this service and access to materials.

  • HathiTrust User Terms - In accordance with HathiTrust User Terms, If print books are checked out, and the same books are also available digitally in HathiTrust ETAS, the Libraries must deactivate the ETAS program to avoid copyright infringement. If the ETAS program was deactivated, and complications should then arise from COVID-19, resulting in a temporary Libraries closure, the ETAS program will not be reactivated. This would effectively eliminate access to the electronic versions (of their print equivalents) in the Libraries by nearly 20%, at a time when access to electronic resources would be essential. Maintaining the ETAS is an arduous process; therefore, the university has chosen to keep the program active for precautionary measures to ensure reliable and expansive access to the Libraries' resources. Keeping HathiTrust ETAS operational (and adhering to the stipulations required)  is consistent with the practices of nearly all Big Ten university libraries.
    • Paging services - The Libraries have closed off all stacks to avoid deactivation of HathiTrust ETAS. Non-HathiTrust ETAS print materials can still be obtained and checked out through our Request and Paging services. For additional assistance, please use Ask US.


  • Hybrid Learning - UNL is currently employing a hybrid approach of online and on-campus services. As some individuals cannot return to campus in-person due to health concerns or other approved reasons,  the ETAS system provides equitable access to all Libraries' users.


  • Time limit for Check Outs - HathiTrust determined that resources can be used for 60 minutes, and must be re-checked out after that period of time. The 60 minute usage period is a HathiTrust term of use, and cannot be altered by UNL Libraries.


  • Individual E-book Shutoff - Individual e-books cannot be deactivated to enable print use - All UNL Libraries' holdings information were sent to HathiTrust at one time and cannot be updated. UNL Libraries cannot deactivate individual records, and HathiTrust will not accommodate individual requests. There are over 100 universities that subscribe to HathiTrust, and HathiTrust cannot handle the large volume of requests that would be made by library patrons.


  • Reducing the Spread of COVID-19 - According to the REALM Project, COVID-19 can remain on materials up to four days. Limiting access to physical materials reduces the chance of touching (or creating) infectious materials. If the Libraries know what materials have been used, they can be properly quarantined and cleaned.  For the safety of university patrons and Libraries staff, use of electronic resources are prioritized over the print equivalent.





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