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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


This guide will provide you with an introduction to using the HathiTrust Digital Library.

University of Illinois Affiliates

If you are affiliated with the University of Illinois or with another HathiTrust partner institution you can download full PDFs of all works that are in the Public Domain or have Creative Commons licenses.

HathiTrust partners:

  • Automatically have an account via their institution
  • Can save titles to different folders in their account
  • Can download entire works


  • For Limited (search-only) works, most patrons cannot view the entire work. This is because either the work is copyrighted or because HathiTrust cannot determine if they are in copyright or not.
  • Some materials are not available for full-PDF download because of third-party agreements between HathiTrust and other institutions, like Google.

Exceptions to Full-Download Restrictions:

Unaffiliated Patrons

If you are not affiliated with the University of Illinois, librarians cannot download and send HathiTrust documents to you. Unaffiliated patrons can search and access fully viewable materials in HathiTrust and download materials where there are no third-party restrictions. You can also create a HathiTrust “Friend Account,” which lets you organize your collection. However, it does not give you the same access to documents that University of Illinois-affiliated patrons have.

Public Domain

The following are in the public domain, giving full access:

  • Volumes published in the U.S. prior to 1926
  • Published outside the U.S. before 1876 (for non-U.S. users, before 1873)
  • U.S. federal government documents

Note: Users with non-U.S. IP addresses cannot access volumes published outside the U.S. from 1876-1922.

HathiTrust can give access to materials with the permission of the rights holder. Users are free to contact publishers or authors of materials to request that the materials be opened in HathiTrust. If a volume was published in the United States from 1923 to 1963 and is Limited (search-only), it is possible that it could be in the public domain (see HathiTrust's Copyright page).