Beth Plale

Open Research Questions Four Years Into the HathiTrust Research Center

Date: April 24, 2015

Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm

Room: Wells Library, Rm LI 030


The HathiTrust Research Center was founded in 2011 to enable computational analysis of the now over 13 million volumes of digitized content in the HathiTrust Digital Repository. While it has encountered hurdles along the way, including Judge Chen’s dismissal in 2013 of a suit brought by the Authors Guild over whether the Google Books mass scanning was as fair use, and later the 2012 filing Authors Guild vs HathiTrust Settlement case in 2013 which directly involved Indiana University as a defendant, the center is poised to acquire the copyrighted portion of the repository, which opens the door to analytical capability over content that is present-day. Its latest release of software and services orients the software and services to handling the copyright content, hence is referred to as the Secure Hathi Analytics Research Commons (SHARC). HTRC continues to work to bring value to informatics and digital humanities researchers and educators in general, and HathiTrust members in particular. Four years out and a with a stable commons in place, the number of open research questions has only expanded, not only for the informatics or digital humanities researcher, but for the information and computer science researchers who are designing SHARC. In this talk, I will give an overview of HTRC’s successes then discuss the open research questions that have surfaced partly as a result of HTRC’s existence, some in computer science, but many in information science.


Beth Plale, Professor in Informatics at Indiana University, has broad research and policy interest in long-term preservation and access to scientific data, and enabling computational access to large-scale and complex data for broader use. Plale is deeply engaged in interdisciplinary research and education and has substantive experience in developing stable and useable scientific cyberinfrastructure. Professor Plale is co-Chair of the RDA Technical Advisory Board, and on the Steering Council of RDA/US. She directs the Data To Insight Center at Indiana University, is founder and Co-director of the HathiTrust Research Center and Co-PI and IU lead on NSF DataNet Sustainable Environments Actionable Data (SEAD) project. She is an ACM Senior Member, DOE Early Career Awardee and past Fellow of the CIC Academic Leadership Program.