LOCKSS & Portico -- Collaborative Projects for Preserving Electronic Journals
Libraries have always taken on custodial responsibilities for the long-term preservation of library materials and other cultural artifacts in their care. Today's digital world changes the nature and scope of those responsibilities. Not all questions have been answered in regard to preservation of the digital library. Yet many in the library world are actively filling in the blanks.
One particular facet of this is the serial literature. More and more journals have electronic components or are published solely in an electronic form. What are the long-term risks to the ongoing accessibility of this literature? What risks are there in this regard should the publisher go out of business?
Librarians have a long tradition that includes a focus on stewardship. But, library budgets are strapped in attempting to provide new services while maintaining age-old parts of their mission. Surely, the publishers also have responsibilities in this realm. The scope of the issue calls out for collaboration. Here is yet another area where we as librarians know that we'll have to work together to be able to solve this problem.
Non-profit organizations, ARL plus other libraries and publishers have commenced this collaboration. Two examples are the LOCKSS and Portico projects.
LOCKSS (the following is from http://www.lockss.org)
LOCKSS provides benefits to libraries, publishers and researchers, while capitalizing on their traditional roles.
Portico (the following is from http://www.portico.org)
Portico began as the Electronic-Archiving Initiative launched by JSTOR in 2002 with a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to build upon The Foundation's seminal E-Journal Archiving Program. The charge of the Electronic-Archiving Initiative was to build a sustainable electronic-archiving model, and for more than two years, project staff worked on the development of necessary technology and engaged in extensive discussions with publishers and libraries to craft an approach that balances the needs of publishers and libraries while generating sufficient funding for the archive.
Portico provides all libraries supporting the archive with campus-wide access to archived content when specific trigger events occur, and when titles are no longer available from the publisher or other source. Trigger events include:
Portico also provides a reliable means to secure perpetual access, if participating publishers choose to designate Portico as a provider of post-cancellation access. In addition, select librarians at participating libraries are granted password-controlled access for verification and audit purposes only.
The two projects are taking different approaches. Publisher content is likely to vary also between the two projects. But, no matter if you are in a library large or small, we all need to be aware of and consider participating in efforts such as LOCKSS and Portico.