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HathiTrust Guide

HathiTrust Basic Search

The simple HathiTrust search box looks like this screenshot:

HathiTrust simple search screenshot


1. If you are an MU affiliate (current student, faculty or staff), log into HathiTrust by identifying University of Missouri - Columbia as your institution. Logging in isn't necessary for searching, but is helpful for certain other functions of HathiTrust.


2. Before entering search terms, decide whether you want to do a search within the full text of HathiTrust's millions of scanned books or a search within the standard catalog fields in the records for those books, such as title, author, and subject. Choose the Full-text or Catalog button below the search box.

screenshot of Full Text and Catalog radio buttons

3.  If you want to see only those books that you can read online in your result list, check the Full view only box below the search box.

Screenshot of Full View Only button

4. Enter the desired term in the search box.

screenshot of search box with barred owl typed into the search

5. Click the Search HathiTrust button.

Search HathiTrust button


Your search results list will look something like this:

screenshot of Hathi Trust search result list with 2 books about barred owls

6. For more information about any of the search results, click Catalog Record near the bottom of the entry. This will also give you a chance to locate a copy of the book in a library near you.

7. If the text of the book can be viewed within HathiTrust, there will also be a link to Full view.

8.  If you are logged in via your institution, you can download the text by clicking one of the download links to the side. If not logged in, you will only be able to download small sections.

Screenshots taken June 13, 2019

HathiTrust Advanced Searches

 HathiTrust has two advanced search options, Full-Text Advanced Search, which searches for information within the material (i.e phrases that show up within the text) with only some focus placed on information about the material, or Advanced Catalog Search which puts more focus on information about the material (i.e author, subject, year of publication. etc.). 

  • For either search mode you'll be given multiple search boxes connected by the phrases "and/or" located to the left of the search boxes.
    • And requires something to be related to both search boxes. (ex: if you said you wanted to find a book that talked about cats and dogs the book would have to talk about both cats and dogs) Thus and will give you fewer, but more focused, results. 
    • Or only requires a search result include one thing from the specified search boxes (ex: if you wanted to book that talked about cats or dogs, it would pull books that talked about just cats, just dogs or both) thus or will give you more results.
  •  To limit your searches to full text only, make sure the Full text only box is checked. 
  •  Searches can be limited by date range, format (i.e audio,video book, etc), and language of material.
  •  To change what you want the search box to look for (i.e if you wanted the search box to look for a title, publisher, ISBN, etc.) you can specify it by clicking the dropdown menu to the right of the search box.   
  • Searches can be improved by the use of truncation, *, or wildcards ,?,.
    • * (star, or asterisk) searches for all words that begin with the string of letters to the left of the asterisk. (i.e., immigra* would search for immigrant, immigrants, immigration, immigrated, immigrating etc.)
    • ? (question mark) searches for single character variations of a search term (i.e., wom?n would search for woman and women),


EbscoHost (n.d.). Help Retrieved April 24, 2019 from

McMasters Libraries (2016). How Library Stuff Works: Boolean Operators (AND OR NOT) [Video File] Retrieved May 7, 2019 from 


McMasters Libraries (2016). How Library Stuff Works: Boolean Modifiers : "", * (), [Video File] Retrieved May 7, 2019 from

York, J. (2019). Help Using the Digital Library.  Retrieved April 24, 2019 from 


Younger, P. & Boddy, K. (2008). When is a search not a search? A comparison of searching the amed complementary health database via                       EBSCOhost, OVID, and Dialog. Health Information and Libraries Journal.  26 126-135 doi:10.1111/j.1471-1842.2008.00785.x


Search for Specific Formats

As mentioned in the advanced search section you can tell HathiTrust to only look for materials in certain formats.

  •  For instance, you can use HathiTrust to find Audio Books, Music Scores, and more. *Note at this time it is not possible to search for items such as charts or illustrations.  
  • There are two different methods of filtering the search by format. 
    •   The first is to conduct an advanced search (either version works) and then to look for the box labeled "Original Format" or "Limit to Original format".Click the text of the format you want to search. 
    • The second is once a search has been conducted, you can filter by format by going to the left side of the screen and look for the Original Format select of the menu. Click the format you want to to narrow down the results to (i.e if you wanted to look for only music scores click the Musical Score text under the Original Format label).   

3 violinist silhouettes By: Johnny_automatic. Open Clip Art Library

A Note About Plain Text

The plain text feature on HathiTrust is the automatic generation of text based on the OCR software analysis. Its intent is to allow readers to look at the text without the complications that may result in trying to look at the original scanned copy. However, there are instances where either the OCR software cannot find any text that it understands or it misinterprets the text, resulting in the work being illegible in this mode. In instances such as these we recommend you do not use the plain text view.  The following is a quick tutorial on how to turn off the plain text view.


  • On the right side next to the scroll bar near the top of the screen there are a series of icons.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ​


  •                The Top 5 icons represent each view mode. 


    Represents Plain Text      Represents Scroll View   Represents Flip View  Represents Thumbnail view   Represents FullScreen View

  •              To change the mode to the desired mode just click the icon representing the mode you want to use. 

                *Note Full Screen view can be combined with the other view modes. So it is possible to have thumbnail view presented in full screen etc.* 



HathiTrust (n.d). Help Using the Digital Library. Retrieved May 15, 2019 from