Huzzah! Hathi Trust

5 March 2021

My favorite basic source for Louisiana troops is Andrew Bradford Booth’s three volume set (in 7 books) of the Records of Louisiana Confederate Soldiers and Louisiana Confederate Commands (1920). A one-stop shop for the military basics on more than 102,000 individuals.

Until recently I’d consulted an online text transcription of Booth’s work, but it’s disappeared. A couple of days ago I found the Hathi Trust Digital Library has all 7 of the books, but had limited access to three of them for copyright issues.

Books published in the US before 1925 are now out of copyright – in the public domain – so I took advantage of the feedback form on the Hathi Trust site and pointed the problem out to them.

Amazing! Within an hour I had an acknowledgement and a few hours later Jessica from user support responded that she was passing my request to a copyright expert. The next day I got an email from Kristina saying she agreed the books are no longer under copyright and would open up access for US users. And she did, immediately. She also took the time to explain why they’d been restricted in the first place: there was a 1974 microfilming date on the copyright page.

This is in sharp contrast to the results I’ve had over the years from Google Books in many similar situations: Crickets. Nothing. Nada.

Bravo Hathi Trust!

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