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Course & Subject Guides

HathiTrust Digital Library @ Pitt: Search HathiTrust & Download Content

This guide explains HathiTrust and its benefits to the Pitt community.

Logging in to HathiTrust

To access all the content and services available to Pitt users you must first log in by following these steps:

  1. Go to the HathiTrust homepage.
  2. Click on the yellow 'Log In' button.
  3. Select University of Pittsburgh from the drop-down menu and click 'Continue.'
  4. Enter your Pitt Passport username and passport and click 'Submit.'
  5. You'll have to use the multifactor authentication service to authorize your login if you haven't already done so. 
  6. You should see a message stating you're logged in. 

Downloading content

Users must first log into HathiTrust to download content - see "Logging in to HathiTrust" above for instructions.

HathiTrust offers two options for downloading and saving material: downloading a single page or an entire book in PDF format. Either option is a simple process. While viewing a book, click on the 'Download this page (PDF)' or 'Download whole book (PDF)' link on the left-hand side of the page. 

Downloading a single page prompts the PDF to automatically open in a new tab in your web browser. From there you can save or print the page using the PDF menu.

When downloading an entire book the system often takes several minutes to compile the PDF. Once it is ready, click on the 'Download PDF' link. You will be prompted to open or to save the file.

Searching HathiTrust

HathiTrust offers two ways of searching their content. A Catalog Search searches a catalog record that lists basic bibliographic information, like title and publisher, as well as information about a book, such as subject terms. A Full-text Search searches the full content of a book, including title, table of contents, the text itself, and any other sections.

Each type of search offers a basic, Google-like keyword search option as well as an advanced search option.

Some general search tips are:

  • Use quotation marks to look for an exact phrase: e.g., "Grand Canyon"
  • Use boolean operators (and, or, not) to make your search more specific. "AND" combines search terms ("Grand Canyon" AND rafting), "OR" looks for either search term (rafting OR boating), while "NOT" excludes a search term ("White Russian" NOT "cocktail")

In addition to searching HathiTrust directly, PITTCat+ can be used to search e-books that are in the public domain in the U.S. in HathiTrust. Simply perform a keyword search and then limit your results in the left-hand column to "Book / eBook" under Source Type. Even without limiting the results, you'll often see HathiTrust items appear in search results as ebooks without cover images. 

Limiting Search Results

The results page for a Full-text Search and a Catalog Search will look the same.  On the left-hand side of the page is a section entitled 'Refine results' with several options for narrowing down the search results.  Options for limiting your results include subject, author, language, place of publication, date of publication, original format and original location.

Why Can't I View An Item?

Many items in HathiTrust are marked Limited (Search Only). This means that these items are in copyright (or presumed to be by HathiTrust). You can sometimes see snippets of these items where your search terms appear. For more information about HathiTrust's copyright policy, see their Copyright FAQ. To obtain material you're unable to access in HathiTrust, please use EZBorrow or Interlibrary Loan

Advanced Searches

Besides the basic searches, you can also use two Advanced Searches: Advanced Catalog Search and Advanced Full-Text Search

Advanced search allows you to search multiple fields at once. You can also limit your results by full-text availability, publication year, language and original format.