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Emergency Access to Thousands of Digital Books Now Available

Thanks to a special agreement between the University of California and the HathiTrust Digital Library, starting today UC Davis faculty, students, researchers, clinicians and staff now have access to digital versions of nearly half of our library’s print book collections. The agreement, which will last as long as our buildings are closed, also offers online access to many books held by other UC campus libraries.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, which has forced many research libraries — including ours — to close their physical doors, HathiTrust has taken the important step of opening up copyrighted material in their extensive digital library to member institutions, like UC, that own copies of those books in their physical collections. This emergency, temporary service expands UC’s access significantly beyond the millions of digitized public-domain books already available via HathiTrust.

How does it work?

To take advantage of this temporary expanded access:

  1. Visit and click the yellow “LOG IN” button.
  2. Select “University of California, Davis” and log in using your campus credentials.
  3. Search the HathiTrust digital library to locate the item you wish to view.
  4. Click on the Temporary Access link at the bottom of the record to Check Out the item through the Emergency Temporary Access Service.

You begin with 60 minutes of access to an in-copyright book during the session. If you remain active in the book during the session, access time will be extended. To protect author copyright, you cannot download the book; you may only read it online in an active session through HathiTrust. 

For help getting started, watch this 4-minute how-to video.

When is it available?

UPDATE as of January 7, 2022: In light of yesterday’s campus decision to hold classes remotely through January 28, 2022, the UC Davis Library is working to restore emergency online access to books through HathiTrust. We will update the status here once access is turned back on.

This temporary emergency service is available now, and will continue for as long as our library buildings must remain closed.   


If you are having trouble accessing materials through HathiTrust, start by ensuring that you are logged in. You only have access to the copyrighted books in UC’s collection when you are logged in as a member of the UC community. 

On a related note: Based on HathiTrust’s interpretation of Fair Use, we are only able to offer this service to members of the UC Davis community with an active campus (Central Authentication Service, or CAS) login.  

It is also possible that the book is in use. For most books, one UC user is allowed at a time. If UC owns multiple copies of the same print book, an equivalent number of simultaneous UC users is allowed. 

What if a book isn’t in HathiTrust at all?

HathiTrust holds digital copies of nearly 50 percent of the print books in the UC Davis Library’s collections. Additionally, the library has recently acquired a number of its highest use print books as e-books, so don’t forget to search the library catalog. (To learn how to find e-books through our catalog, watch this 3-minute video.) 

If the e-book you need is not available through our library catalog or HathiTrust, you may wish to search other resources such as your public library, the publisher’s website, or the National Emergency Library, which the nonprofit Internet Archive has made available through June 30, 2020 or the end of the declared U.S. national emergency, whichever is later.


For further assistance with digital books or help linking to e-books from Canvas, contact




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