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Digital Books Just Keep Getting Better…

Cornell has engaged a workflow that allows for the improvement of digital books made through our partnership with Google and deposited in HathiTrust.  The workflow is responsive to alerts from HathiTrust regarding the need for improvement of specific pages, and also engages the Single Page Insertion and Replacement workflow that Google has set up for library partners.  The results so far are very positive: complete and correct digital volumes, satisfied staff from multiple institutions, and some very happy HathiTrust patrons.

The process begins most often with a patron from a member institution in HathiTrust.  While using a digital book, they may notice problems with the copy similar to those in list below:

  • foldouts were not unfolded during the scan process, resulting in important diagrams, charts, maps or pictures being lost
  • a particular page might be skipped
  • the page was moved during image capture, yielding a blurry image
  • an operator’s hand or book clamps might have been caught in the frame
full color map

Rhea’s Capture of a map from Indian Railways in 1921-22 in 2 vols. Administration Report.

HathiTrust has made a feedback link available on every page, located near the middle of the lower navigation bar.  The link yields a pop-up form that captures a few quick details: the only entry required of the patron is an email address (highly recommended to enter this, since the disposition of the issue will be reported back to this address) a radio button, a few check boxes and an optional note.  (The page URL is captured automatically from the browser, and not required from the user.)  Thus with minimal text entry and a few clicks, the patron makes an informative report that opens a ticket with HathiTrust.  Staff at HathiTrust respond to the ticket, and facilitate corrective measures.  In the case of books created through the Google Library partnership (comprising most of Cornell’s deposits) staff at HathiTrust first contact Google directly to see if the problematic pages can be rectified.  If not, they will contact the HathiTrust member institution and let them know that the digital book needs improvement.