XII.2 HathiTrust Digital Library

David Reagan

Lisel Record

Katy Börner

The HathiTrust Digital Library is a collective “elephant’s memory” or storehouse of knowledge. Run by a consortium of international research libraries, it serves as a shared and growing repository for digital copies of more than 14 million publications that span 2000 years.

Visualization software developer David Reagan, curator Lisel Record, and information scientist Katy Bӧrner developed this visualization to delve into the geographic and temporal diversity of the collection using freely available metadata.

Yellow circles show publication locations, with the size of the circle showing how many publications were printed in that location. Lines connect publication locations to places where that language is spoken, illustrating the connection between publication location and potential readers.

If you look at publications from the years 1200-1400 you see the prominence of Persian science and culture reflected in the high number of publications from Iran and other Middle Eastern locations. If, on the other hand, you look at publications from the last 50 years, a colorful swirl of publications bubble up from many regions and flow to readers around the globe.


Reagan, David, Lisel Record, and Katy Börner. 2016. HathiTrust Digital Library. Courtesy of the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center and the Advanced Visualization Lab at Indiana University. In “12th Iteration (2016): Macroscopes for Making Sense of Science, Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Lisel Record. http://scimaps.org.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.