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Rutgers University Libraries

Intro to American Studies: Basic Resources: Finding Digitized Books

This guide focuses on basic resources that you can use when seeking information or materials relating to American Studies.

What's Available Online?

For a book to be legally digitized and available online, either the holder of the copyright has to give permission for the digitization, or the book needs to be in the public domain. In the U.S., books in the public domain are usually those that were published prior to 1923, although under certain limited conditions later works may also be in the public domain. Books that are freely available online will be those that are in the public domain.

Online Books

HathiTrust Digital Library
A shared digital repository with over 17 million full-text digitized volumes. Titles published prior to 1923 and those that are open access or Creative Commons-licensed are available full-text. Other materials include limited-access searching.
 
During the time Rutgers University Libraries physical buildings are closed due to COVID-19, many print books under copyright held by RUL are temporarily available only to Rutgers students, faculty, and staff on the HathiTrust platform. After linking to HathiTrust, current students, faculty, and staff only may log in with NetID and password to access these books, which are labelled Temporary Access. Click Temporary Access and then click Check Out to read these books in your browser.
Google Books
Google has partnered with universities and others to scan the full-text of public domain books in the university library collections. In addtion to the full-text of the books in the public domain, for many titles Google allows you to view snippets or selected pages from books still under copyright.
Internet Archive
Search the "Texts" files for specific titles or books on particular subjects.

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