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UCLA Library continues work to increase digital accessibility with new partnership

UCLA Library will be offer millions of its books online through the digital research collaboration HathiTrust. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Irene Zhou

April 17, 2020 9:13 p.m.

UCLA Library has partnered with a large digital library to provide students and faculty with online access to more than 40% of the materials held in its collections.

HathiTrust is an association of academic and research libraries that preserves materials in a digital library.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, HathiTrust has provided member universities, including UCLA, with temporary online reading access to materials that currently cannot be accessed in person. Students and faculty will have access to these resources as long as the libraries are closed.

“We intend to expand fair use access to our corpus to ensure that the academic communities of our members can continue teaching and learning with HathiTrust resources if physical access to print collections is compromised during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HathiTrust executive director Mike Furlough in a statement posted online.

Through HathiTrust, millions of printed books in the University of California libraries are temporarily available in digital form to any students, faculty or staff who need to access them, said Alison Scott, associate university librarian for collection management and scholarly communication at UCLA.

To access the digitized materials, UCLA students and faculty can log in to the HathiTrust Digital Library website and enter their campus information.

Many professors have had to rely on HathiTrust or other methods to find digital copies of texts or have had to alter their syllabus to favor newer texts.

By making digital materials accessible or adjusting text requirements so students do not have to buy books, UCLA can help to ease students’ stress, especially since many research fellowship grants will not be providing funding, said associate history professor Robin Derby.

“It’s been a challenge (to find ways to accommodate students’ new financial difficulties), but the library has partnered with different institutions to provide more e-book access and the resources they have made available helped solve a lot of my problems,” Derby said.

UCLA students and faculty also have expanded access to collections of several other large online research databases, including the National Emergency Library, ProQuest and EBSCO, while the pandemic is ongoing.

In addition to working with HathiTrust, UCLA Library staff is also pulling other resources together to figure out ways to help students and faculty access research during the pandemic, said Katherine Kapsidelis, a research and instruction librarian.

Kapsidelis and Matthew Vest, a music inquiry and research librarian at UCLA, collaborated on a library guide to temporary online resources students and faculty can access during the pandemic.

“UCLA was well prepared to provide this information online,” Vest said. “We have done a lot of work in subscription materials and support of open access initiatives, as well as online workshops and moving research consultations online.”

OpenUCLA, a current UCLA Library initiative, also intends to support online availability of research articles by launching a new website to offer students and faculty direct access to some digital collections and programs developed by UCLA Library. It will be available within the next few weeks, Scott said.

OpenUCLA was developed by UCLA Library as a new interface for research communication by making UCLA’s research and digital collections globally accessible and affordable for students and faculty.

“We really want to do everything that we can to help students and instructors access and use those resources because we’re hoping that it’s one less source of stress for everybody in this otherwise very difficult moment,” Kapsidelis said.

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