There’s An Elephant In The Library! Welcome To HathiTrust…
What is HathiTrust? (From the site…)
“HathiTrust makes the digitized collections of some of the nation’s great research libraries available for all. HathiTrust was initially conceived as a collaboration of the thirteen universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the University of California system, and the University of Virginia to establish a repository for those universities to archive and share their digitized collections.
HathiTrust will quickly expand to include additional partners and to provide those partners with an easy means to archive their digital content.”
What does the name HathiTrust mean?
“Hathi (pronounced hah-tee) is the Hindi word for elephant, an animal highly regarded for its memory, wisdom, and strength. Trust is a core value of research libraries and one of their greatest assets. In combination, the words convey the key benefits researchers can expect from a first-of-its-kind shared digital repository.”
Are the materials open to everyone?
“Works in the public domain in HathiTrust are open to all researchers—whoever and wherever they may be. Content in HathiTrust is discoverable through online search technologies within the repository and through Google, with no authentication, login, or password required. As it becomes possible to expand access to the materials through permissions or other agreements, other materials will be made available. HathiTrust has already been contacted by some rights holders wishing to provide broader access to their content.
The research collections of partner libraries, accumulated over centuries, represent a vast treasury of cultural heritage and investment in the broad public good of promoting scholarship and advancing knowledge.”
What about the digitized material?
“Content is growing daily. As of June 12, HathiTrust contained more than 3 million volumes, approximately 15 percent of which are in the public domain.
The institutions that have deposited content in HathiTrust to date include Indiana University, the University of California, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin.
HathiTrust is making bibliographic records for the public domain HathiTrust materials available so that institutions around the world can load them into their online catalogs, alerting users to the availability of these digitized volumes.”
Now Let’s See How You Can Use This Thing To Find Lots Of Great Public Domain Books & Other Documents Related To Your Niche…
Step One – Visit the HathiTrust Catalog Search page by directing your browser to http://catalog.hathitrust.org/ – you’ll see the page below…
Step Two – Enter your niche keyword (s) into the search box, set the delimiter, (when searching wide, I usually leave it on “All Fields” but you can narrow it down to title and author, even ISBN if you want), then click the “Find” button.
Step 3 – In most cases, you’re going to get a whole lot of search results. Keep in mind that HathiTrust archives much more than just public domain books so pay attention to that fact.
Books still under copyright can make valuable contributions to your niche research so don’t count them out completely but…
To limit your search results to just public domain materials, click on the “Full-text” link that you’ll find to the left of the page as indicated below (sort of like Google Books “Full View Only” filter).
Step 4 - After limiting your search to Full-text only, your public domain books will be listed on the right as shown below.
You’ll find title, author, publication date, a thumbnail image (if available), and a direct link to the actual digitized version of the book.
Now it’s time to hunt for treasure! Investigate the content of these books and make notes as to what you feel you can use in your product / content creations.
Side Note: On the left hand side of the page, you’ll find a “Similar Items” listing – many times these listings can lead you to more public domain treasures that you may not have found otherwise – personally, I’ve made some really valuable finds this way…
One Last Thing: When you are viewing the actual books, you are limited to viewing one page at a time however, you have a few different options for capturing the content.
Below, left, you’ll see a “view page as” section where you can specify “image” (default), “text” (copy and paste), or “pdf”. With the “pdf” option, you can only download up to ten pages of the books at a time. Kind of a pain, but if you really wanted to, you could download the entire book ten pages at a time and then stitch it all back together into one document.
The 20 Niche Topics In 5 Minutes Challenge…
To show you just how powerful and useful HathiTrust really is, I wanted to propose a challenge…
How many niche topic public domain books can you find in just five minutes? I’m talking about tightly niched books that you could potentially spin into a full-blown product right now?
My challenge to myself is to find 20 niche topic books in five minutes.
I cheated by using the phrase “how to” in my search and setting it on “Title” search, then limiting view to “Full-text” only.
Here’s what I came up with in just five minutes…
Motor cycles and how to manage them
by Wilson, A. J.
How to use a chafing dish
by Rorer, Sarah Tyson Heston 1849-1937
How to get on the stage and how to succeed there.
by Wagner, Leopold 1858-
The use of money; how to save and how to spend,
by Kirkpatrick, Edwin Asbury 1862-
Villa gardens; how to plan and how to plant them
by Rogers, William Snow 1864-
These are your children : how they develop and how to guide them
by Jenkins,Gladys Gardner 1901-
Memory; what it is and how to improve it
by Kay, David
How to be a modern leader.
by Frank, Lawrence K. 1890-1968
How to retire without money.
by Belmont, Bob
How to grow roses
by Pyle, Robert 1877-
How to operate excavation equipment.
by Nichols, Herbert L. 1908-
How to play golf.
by Vardon, Harry 1870-
Rumford fireplaces and how they are made
by Rumford, Benjamin Graf von 1753-1814
How to develop personal power
by Carlson, Dick 1893-
Metals and how to weld them
by Jefferson, Theodore Brewster
How to conduct conferences.
by Cooper, Alfred M
How to collect money by mail
How to write for radio
by Whipple, James
How children learn to draw
by Sargent, Walter b. 1868
How to identify the stars
by Milham, Willis I. b. 1874
How prints are made
by Curtis, Atherton
Ferns and how to grow them
by Woolson, Grace A. 1856-1911
How to live with epilepsy
by Lunt, Carroll 1889-
How to practice successful dentistry
by Marks, Geoffrey
How plants get their names
by Bailey, L. H. 1858-1954
How to paint and stencil textiles
by Brownley, Albert 1907-
How to keep bees for profit
by Lyon, D. Everett
How to master the irons : an illustrated guide to better golf
by Littler, Gene
Wake up younger!: How to make the most of your later years
by Gertman, Samuel
Professional cleaning and building maintenance; how to organize a money-saving service business or a department for floor and building cleaning.
by Clark, Bill 1927-
How to recognize and handle abnormal people : a manual for the police officer
by Matthews, Robert Archibald 1903-
How to build 20 boats.
Gemcraft : how to cut and polish gemstones
by Quick, Lelande
How to become a successful speaker
by Zelko, Harold P.
Oops, I overshot a little bit and came up with 34 books in 5 minutes!
Granted, I haven’t done anything to verify demand for these topics and I certainly haven’t checked out the potential markets for any of these books ~ heck, I haven’t even looked at these books yet, I’m just going by title alone…
But, these are all pretty evergreen topics so I’ve already got a really good start here. This could have been the most potentially profitable 5 minutes I’ve spent all day.
What about you?
How many niche topic Public Domain books can you find in five minutes?
C”mon, what are you waiting for?
Grab one of these puppies and let’s make a new product!
P.S. – one more thing that may seem obvious but I don’t want you to miss it ~ when you are looking at the catalog listing for a book, check out the “Subjects” section. You’ll find keyword links that’ll bring you many more matches and potentially useful books (public domain and otherwise)…
About The Author:
|Logan Andrew is an online entrepreneur, information publisher, and author that has been using Public Domain material to create profitable products and businesses since 2001. He is also co-author of "The Public Domain Treasure Hunter's Survival Kit" available here. For more info Logan, click here.|