HathiTrust as a Data Source for Researching Early Nineteenth-Century Library Collections
Identification, Coverage, and Methods
An intriguing new opportunity for research into the nineteenth-century history of print culture, libraries, and local communities is performing full-text analyses on the corpus of books held by a specific library or group of libraries. Creating corpora using books that are known to have been owned by a given library at a given point in time is potentially feasible because digitized records of the books in several hundred nineteenth-century library collections are available in the form of scanned book catalogs: a book or pamphlet listing all of the books available in a particular library. However, there are two potential problems with using those book catalogs to create corpora. First, it is not clear whether most or all of the books that were in these collections have been digitized. Second, the prospect of identifying the digital representations of the books listed in the catalogs is daunting, given the diversity of cataloging practices at the time. This article will report on progress towards developing an automated method to match entries in early nineteenth-century book catalogs with digitized versions of those books, and will also provide estimates of the fractions of the library holdings that have been digitized and made available in the Google Books/HathiTrust corpus.
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