A Trial Holdings Comparison

The Keepers Registry: more fun than doing it by hand. (Perkins Library Card Catalog, 1969, http://www.flickr.com/photos/dukeyearlook/3811954463)


This case study explores the benefits of the Keepers Registry, comparing an institution’s e-journal holdings catalogue against the archiving agency metadata held by the Keepers Registry.

The Keepers Registry Beta service provides easily accessible information about the archiving arrangements for electronic journals.

The Keepers Registry is an output of the JISC funded project, Piloting an E-journals Preservation Registry Service (PEPRS).  The Keepers are the participating archiving agencies that are acting as stewards of digital content. Each of these agencies runs a programme for the archiving of e-journals and is making metadata on the journals in their programme available to the Keepers Registry. The data supplied by the agencies is linked to the authoritative bibliographic information obtained from the ISSN Register.

A summary of progress to date of the Keepers Registry service can be found in a recent blog post.  The Development Roadmap describes planned activity.  Our focus at the moment is on providing a publicly available Holdings Comparison service.  This will allow a user to upload a file that represents an institution’s catalogue (we expect this will be output from the library’s OPAC or link resolver service).  Libraries can then assess the extent of archiving for individual titles, of assistance to collection management decisions (eg. on print cancellation).

EDINA, a national data centre based at the University of Edinburgh, has developed the Keepers Registry service along with its partner in the project, the ISSN International Centre in Paris.

Duke University

This case study is based on an interview with Winston Atkins, Preservation Officer for Duke University in Durham, NC, USA, on 21 August 2012.

Details of service

Duke University is a ‘Research 1’ University in the US which has grown, over the last 40 years, from a strong regional university to one with a national and international presence.  Duke University Libraries currently hold approximately 6 million volumes including 142,000 serials.  There are 97,800 (de-duplicated) electronic titles, and 78,000 journals in print and other electronic formats [1].

Archiving services to which Duke is subscribed

Duke participates in the Global LOCKSS Network, CLOCKSS Archive, and Portico and is a member of HathiTrust.

Motive for using Keepers Registry

In October 2011, Cornell and Columbia University Libraries released a White Paper which documented a comparison of electronic journal holdings with titles preserved by LOCKSS and Portico.  The Preservation Officer (PO) at Duke was interested in their findings that showed under 20% of titles in the library catalogues were preserved [2].

This report motivated the Preservation Officer to analyse the Duke ejournal holdings against titles preserved in LOCKSS and Portico. The number of ejournals in Duke’s collection led him to the Keepers Registry site as a way to make the title-by-title review more efficient. During the initial analysis, the Preservation Officer realized that agencies had gaps in some of their holdings, and that in some instances no single agency had a complete set of the available ejournal content.

Undertaking a (trial) Holdings Comparison

EDINA invited the Preservation Officer to participate in a trial holdings comparison in order to gather information on institutional requirements and to test the code and output format.

The ‘holdings comparison’ tool facilitates bulk comparison of holdings with titles preserved by the agencies. Many titles are held in several aggregations of electronic journals and, often, each provides different volumes.  The Preservation Officer provided the Keepers Registry with a file of unique IDs (ISSNs or eISSNs) representing de-duplicated titles and volumes with indication of the earliest start date and latest end date for each title.  The Keepers Registry returned a file which indicated, for each of these titles, whether it was preserved, whether it was in the process (awaiting preservation) and which volumes were preserved or in process.

This service saved the Preservation Officer hours of work.  Without The Keepers Registry, and the bulk upload service in particular, it would have been necessary to download the information from different agencies and aggregate and analyse the data.  A task that he imagines ‘would have been an enormous undertaking’.

Benefits of the Keepers Registry (Holdings Comparison)

Identifying which of Duke’s ejournal titles are preserved

Duke compared its ejournals holdings with titles preserved in LOCKSS and Portico.  The Preservation Officer started by using the title-by-title search facility on the Keepers user interface.  To help the EDINA development team refine the process and understand library workflows, Duke subsequently became the first university to use the ‘Holdings Comparison’ service. The Keepers Registry allowed Duke “to include HathiTrust and CLOCKSS Archive, services in which we have memberships, in our review of agencies.”

Lobbying publishers to engage with preservation agencies

Duke intends to use the data from its analysis to persuade publishers to engage with the preservation agencies.  The acquisitions staff will raise this when negotiating renewals and the Preservation Officer will raise it with other universities with a view to lobbying as a group, possibly through the American Library Association (ALA) Preservation Section.  The Preservation Officer notes ‘I think we have an opportunity to tell publishers that we think this is an important part of the subscription service.’

Discussing coverage with the agencies

The Duke Preservation Officer is now aware of gaps in coverage by the agencies and plans to discuss with them how they intend to fill those gaps. It is very helpful to report information not only on the participating titles, but also which volumes have been preserved and are in progress. For some titles, an institution can benefit from more complete coverage by participation in multiple initiatives. It would be useful for agencies to indicate why the gaps are occuring and what is being done to fill them. It is not clear that the complete run for this title will, at some point in the future, be preserved by the agency.

Disposing of print

Duke is a member of a local consortium of University libraries whose members are collaborating to dispose of print from the shelves whilst ensuring that at least one print copy of each title is retained.  Knowing that the complete run of a title is preserved in electronic form provides reassurance that it will be accessible – i.e. that the libraries do not depend solely on a single print copy.

Discovery of other agencies

The Duke Preservation Officer was interested to discover other agencies that hadn’t previous been on the radar, for example, the National Science Library of China and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB) e-Depot.  The Preservation Officer notes ‘It’s made me start to think about our relationship with other agencies and how we should be working with them.’

Developing the Comparison Service

It has been a valuable exercise for us at EDINA to have conducted a trial holdings comparison.  We’ve learnt more about how catalogue data can be generated from library systems and we’ve refined suitable fields and format for the data returned. We’re feeding this back into our requirements for the Holdings Comparison service.

We’d like to thank Winston Atkins at Duke University for his feedback throughout the trial comparison.

If you’d like to send feedback, or make any suggestions for the service, please leave us a comment.

[1] Statistics on Duke holdings can be found at http://library.duke.edu/about/assessment/libstats/.

[2] LOCKSS and Portico combined preserved approximately 13% of Cornell’s ejournal holdings while Portico preserved only 17% of Columbia’s ejournals holdings. (Columbia did not analyse its holdings against LOCKSS titles.)


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