By Heather Christenson, CDL HathiTrust Project Manager

The HathiTrust Digital Library contains millions of digital volumes that are not available to users, but could potentially be in the public domain and made viewable online if their copyright status were known.  The University of Michigan has addressed this challenge by building a Copyright Review Management System (CRMS), enabling distributed volume-by-volume review of digitized books in HathiTrust by specially trained staff from multiple libraries.  The initial phase of this IMLS-funded project, begun in 2008, focused on works published in the United States between 1923 and 1963.  The project has already opened up almost 157,000 volumes.  Indeed, over 50% of items reviewed thus far have turned out to be in the public domain.

In 2011, Michigan, along with UCI, UCLA, UCSF, and other academic libraries, received a new grant from IMLS to work on a second phase of the project.  The second phase expands the project to English language works published in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.  In addition, Spanish language works from Spain will be reviewed in the future, and possibly more regions as well.

CDL has joined the CRMS project and will be contributing staff to advance these efforts, bringing more digital library materials into public view for our UC students, scholars, and faculty and the citizens of California.  The CDL effort is being coordinated by Curtis Lavery, CDL Licensing Manager, with additional contributed time from Licensing Specialist Nancy Scott-Noennig and Bibliographic Analyst Virginia Sinclair.

More information can be found in today’s University of Michigan press release.