E-Journal Archiving: Progress and Future Challenges

 

Recognition of the importance of digital preservation has grown significantly over the last few years: what progress has been made, and what challenges do we face today? 

 

Digital publishing has fundamentally changed the distribution and preservation of serial publications. While preservation and stewardship of print was recognised as a core function of libraries and archives, today publishers manage and provide access to digital content, and libraries subscribe to access publications through publisher platforms.

In 2005, the Association of American Research Libraries issued a statement calling for urgent action to ensure the preservation of scholarly electronic journals (Waters et al. 2005). Detailing the risks inherent in the new journal distribution and licencing models that have emerged in the shift from print to digital, the authors argued that research and academic libraries must work to establish ‘trusted archives in which the published scholarly record in electronic form can persist outside of the exclusive control of publishers, and in the control of entities that value long-term persistence.’  Now, just over a decade later, many of the key actions that the statement deemed essential are underway.

Academic and research libraries today recognize the importance of preservation. They understand that archiving is a necessary form of ‘insurance’ and the only means to guarantee long-term, perpetual access. Many libraries now have sustainability policies that encourage investment in archiving services and many raise preservation as a concern during their subscription negotiations with publishers. Publisher awareness of the various benefits of participation in an archiving service is growing. The ‘qualified preservation archives’ that were beginning to emerge in 2005 have become established, and their number has grown significantly. Regional and national initiatives, some led by research library consortia, now operate alongside large globally active third party archiving services.

The development of this emergent ‘archive layer’ has been supported through a variety of investments and initiatives. In the US, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation made significant investments in Portico and in the LOCKSS programme, and supported ‘Strategies for Expanding E-Journal Preservation’, a 2013 project run by the 2CUL partnership between Cornell and Columbia University libraries. Jisc has continued its investment in this area, supporting the development of the Keepers Registry and constituting an e-Journal Archiving Implementation Group (JARVIG) in 2011, whose recommendations form the basis of the Jisc-supported Keepers Extra project (2014-2016).

Although progress has been made, a series of significant challenges remain. First among these is the challenge of the ‘long tail’. Scholarly publishing is a diverse sector in which a variety of organisations operate. These range from large multinationals such as Elsevier or Taylor and Francis at one end of the spectrum, to scholarly societies and individual academics publishing online journals at the other. In order to establish broad collections and ensure that they are archiving high quality content, preservation agencies have tended to initially focus on working with major publishers. This is productive not only because larger publishers are more likely to have resource that can be diverted into ensuring their content is preserved, but also because there is an economy of scale that means a single negotiation can yield significant quantities of content.

Work with smaller publishers is considerably more expensive, requiring the same amount of initial resource but sometimes returning as few as only one or two titles. Moreover, while larger publishers are both technically astute and increasingly aware of the benefits of archiving their journals, small publishers may not have resources to invest and may not be able to access the same levels of information and support.

Yet it is widely recognised that important and high quality academic content is published across the spectrum, and that if the long tail of smaller publishers is not preserved it will constitute a very significant loss to future scholarship.

A second key issue is sustainability: agencies operate in a difficult environment and archiving is typically seen as a lower priority than access. While publishers are increasingly aware of the importance of archiving, many do not have the resource to commit to archiving their content. The output of small publishing houses and Open Access publishers, whose content does not enter established acquisition streams, is particularly vulnerable to the risk of loss.

As the final report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation (2010) points out, there is little incentive for individual institutions to take action on preservation, and strong incentives to wait for other institutions to act. But the responsibility is truly a shared one. Increasing sustainable preservation coverage of the long tail is an urgent challenge and one that archiving agencies cannot tackle alone.

 

Over the last two years, the Jisc-supported Keepers Extra project has been working to facilitate discussion and explore opportunities for collaborative action.  In September 2015, Edina and the ISSN IC hosted a workshop designed to bring together Keepers and other key stakeholders to identify the next steps that can address the challenge of the long tail (the report is available here). A second workshop of this Keepers network is planned for June 2016, after which we aim to announce our vision for an international action agenda. 

 

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Keepers Extra Project: Workshop Two

We are pleased to announce that EDINA and the ISSN International Centre are hosting a second workshop as part of the Keepers Extra project. The event will be held on the 6th and 7th of June 2016, at University of London Institute in Paris.

eiffel_towerThe Keepers Extra project, being carried out at EDINA as a Jisc investment, builds on prior work that encourages collaborative activity such as the recommendations outlined by the JARVIG working group. Building on the first workshop held in Edinburgh in September 2016, this event will bring together representatives of international archiving agencies, national libraries, research libraries and consortia, and other key stakeholders to exchange knowledge and update one another on recent projects.The project team will report back on the recently conducted agency consultation, and we will continue to explore how archiving agencies and libraries can respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by the ‘long tail’, including publisher participation negotiations, sharing information and handling content, and resourcing.  This event is intended to be formative in the foundation of an ongoing international e-journal preservation network.

This event is invitation only. A full report will be posted after the event.

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The Cariniana Network joins the Keepers Registry

We are very pleased to welcome the Cariniana Network as the latest archiving organisation to join the Keepers Registry.

The Cariniana Network is a national distributed preservation network, funded by the Brazilian government, which provides long term preservation and access for Brazil’s open access scientific publications.   Its parent organisation is the Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology (IBICT), which was originally established by the Brazilian government in the 1950s, and plays a key role in promoting effective production, management and dissemination of information.

As the Keepers Registry’s twelfth Keeper, the Cariniana Network significantly extends the reach of the Keepers Registry, in particular greatly increasing the number of non-English language titles which the Keepers Registry is able to report on.

For more information about the Cariniana Network’s approach to archiving and contribution to the Keepers Registry see the Archiving Agencies section of the Keepers Registry.  Find out more about the Cariniana Network and IBICT on their website: http://cariniana.ibict.br/.

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[Keepers Extra] Next Steps for the Keepers Extra Project

The Keepers Extra project is entering a new and very active phase, following the exchange of knowledge and ideas at our September workshop.  Drawing on the feedback from participants, among them representatives of the keeper agencies and related initiatives, we have defined a set of activities for the next six months. The key outputs we are working towards are as follows:

  • Introduction of an effective governance model for the Keepers Registry service.
  • Delivery of improved service features and functionality by working to enhance and standardize the data ingested from Keepers, standardize modes of transport, and assess stakeholder needs to propose functionality that meets the needs of the service user community.
  • Production of an International Action Agenda, as shared strategy, that outlines a mechanism for future collaboration between archiving agencies, a list of viable activities for the collaborating agencies to tackle, and an appraisal of the metrics that can be used to test progress in those activities.

Our plans and the steps we envisage taking to achieve these outcomes are outlined in  the full Next Steps document.

Feedback on the project and our plans is welcome. Please email at edina@ed.ac.uk with comments or suggestions.

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[Keepers Extra] September 2015 Workshop Report now Available

On September 8th 2015, EDINA and the ISSN International Centre hosted a workshop designed to explore the challenges of increasing preservation coverage of e-journals and related digital resources. Following the conference Taking the Long View International perspectives on E-Journal Archiving, the workshop was attended by representatives of the agencies who report into the Keepers Registry, other national libraries, and related initiatives including the Digital Preservation Coalition, the Digital Curation Centre, and UNESCO. It was organised as part of the Jisc-supported Keepers Extra Project and the key objective of the day was to scope the challenges and barriers to improving preservation coverage and to explore potential for collaborative action at an international scale.

A workshop report which documents the event is now available. The workshop discussions produced a set of common interests and challenges for the participants.  We are now using the workshop outcomes as a basis for planning further research and development work to be carried out under the Keepers Extra project.

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PKP PLN joins the Keepers Registry

We are very pleased to welcome the Public Knowledge Project Private LOCKSS Network (PKP PLN) as the latest archiving organisation to join the Keepers Registry.

The Public Knowledge Project is a multi-university initiative based at Simon Fraser University developing (free) open source software and conducting research to improve the quality and reach of scholarly publishing.   One of the services it has developed is a Private LOCKSS Network to digitally preserve OJS journals.   Currently in pilot phase with a small number of universities, once in full production mode the network will provide preservation services for any OJS journal that meets certain criteria.

Joining the Keepers Registry enables the PKP PLN to share information on the titles it is archiving, and brings  the number of Keepers currently contributing to the Registry to eleven.  We expect to start including metadata from the PKP PLN in the New Year.

For more information about the PKP PLN’s approach to archiving and contribution to the Keepers Registry see the Archiving Agencies section of the Keepers Registry.  Find out more about the PKP and the PLN on their website: https://pkp.sfu.ca/pkp-lockss/.

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Taking the Long View: Conference Report Now Available

Old College, University of Edinburgh

Old College, University of Edinburgh

On the 7th September 2015 EDINA and the ISSN International Centre hosted ‘Taking the Long View: International Perspectives on E-Journal Archiving’. Organised as part of the Jisc-supported Keepers Extra project, the conference was attended by delegates from around the world and focused on exploring the international challenges involved in increasing preservation coverage. The conference report is now available: the progress of the Keepers Extra project can be followed on our blog.

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Final Programme Now Available for Taking the Long View: International Perspectives on E-Journal Archiving

We’re delighted to announce that the final programme is now available for

Taking the Long View: International Perspectives on E-Journal Archiving

A One Day International Conference at the University of Edinburgh, hosted by EDINA and the ISSN IC

7th September 2015

9:00 – 17:00

Speakers Include:

  • Clifford Lynch (CNI)
  • John MacColl (RLUK)
  • Victoria Reich (The LOCKSS Program)
  • Kate Wittenberg (Portico)
  • Randy Kiefer (CLOCKSS Archive)
  • Andrew MacEwan (British Library)
  • Mike Furlough (HathiTrust)
  • Steve Marks (University of Toronto/Scholars Portal)
  • Barbara Sierman (KB, Netherlands)
  • Ted Westervelt (Library of Congress)
  • Zhenxin Wu (National Science Library of China)
  • Vincent Wintermans (UNESCO)

A roundtable discussion ‘Looking Forward to Looking Back: New Horizons for the Scholarly Record’ will be chaired by William Kilbride (Digital Preservation Coalition).

More details on the programme and how to register are available on our website

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Keepers Registry featured on The Signal

We’re delighted to be featured on The Signal, the digital preservation blog published by the Library of Congress, this month.

Mapping the Digital Galaxy: The Keepers Registry Expands its Tool Kit‘ is an interview with the team conducted by Ted Westervelt, manager of the eDeposit Program for Library Services at the Library of Congress, who will be speaking at Taking the Long View: International Perspectives on E-Journal Archiving.

The resulting conversation ranged from the history of the Keepers Registry to our new release and current plans for engaging more archiving agencies and libraries: below we repost a few extracts.

 

Ted: Most of the participating agencies are Western European or North American, which makes sense given the origins of the Keepers Registry. How actively are you looking at adding members from other parts of the world?

Keepers team: We have become well-traveled in our quest! The initial focus was on the UK, Europe and the USA as it was much easier for us to encourage participation from agencies in Europe and the US as we had existing contact and relationships with many of the original agencies. However, we are very conscious of need for more international participation as mentioned earlier. There is now engagement with China and Canada and with active outreach to India and Brazil, as well as more countries across Europe.

 

Ted: You are just now releasing a new version of the Keepers Registry, with some interesting new functionalities. One of these is the Title List Comparison, which you mentioned above. Who do you hope will use this and what do you hope this will do for them and for the mission of the Keepers Registry in general?

Keepers team: We anticipate that the Title List Comparison facility will prove very popular. […It] should allow libraries to have insight into the archival status of collections in order to assist informed decision making about subscriptions, cancellations and print rationalization. We hope that the tool will also improve communication between the library community and the Keeper organizations themselves, as libraries make known their priorities for the serial titles that they discover are not being kept safe. The Title List Comparison service is part of our Members Services; access to these requires membership, which is free of charge.

 

Ted: Another major functionality in the new release is the Machine to Machine Interfaces. Who do you expect will use this? What outcome would you like to see from launching this?

Keepers team: Librarians interact on a daily basis with a wide range of services and tools for serials. We want the information on archiving that we bring together in the Keepers Registry to be available and useful at the point of need – when there is need for a quick reference to make a measured decision. Those machine-to-machine interfaces are there to support linking tools from those other services, such as union catalogs, and even OPACs, as well as vendor platforms. In general, those ‘APIs’ are there so that others can do unimaginable things with our data – so please get in touch!

Read the original post.

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Taking the Long View: International Perspectives on E-Journal Archiving

We are delighted to announce that registration is now open for  ‘Taking the Long View: International Perspectives on E-Journal Archiving’, an international conference hosted by EDINA and the ISSN IC, as part of the Keepers Extra project.

September 7th 2015, University of Edinburgh

An international conference organised as part of the Jisc-supported Keepers Extra project, ‘Taking the Long View’ brings together international archiving agencies, representatives of national libraries from around the world, and research libraries and consortia to exchange knowledge, share ideas and discuss requirements for potential global collaboration to increase preservation coverage and tackle the ‘long tail’.

The importance of assuring continuing access to e-journal content has long been recognised. Many institutions now have e-first collection policies that require archiving of serial content before e-only or print disposal actions can be taken.  Nations are introducing legal deposit systems for electronic material.  Yet analysis undertaken as part of the Keepers Registry has shown that over 80% of continuing resources assigned an ISSN have yet to be archived. The need for ‘conscious coordination’ of international activity is clear (Lavoie and Malpas, 2015).  It is imperative that we now take the long view and consider if and how we can work together to address the challenge of stewarding the digital scholarly record.

Marking the 40th anniversary of the ISSN International Centre and the 20th anniversary of EDINA, this event presents a networking and briefing opportunity in which librarians can learn about a wide range of international activities, experiences and perspectives on the archiving and preservation of serial content, and gain insight into the operations and ambitions of some of the most important archiving agencies and initiatives from around the world.

More details and instructions on how to register are available on the conference website.

For more on the Keepers Extra project and the Keepers Registry, visit our blog.

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