[Keepers Extra] Why a Keepers Extra project?

KE-BrandJisc have invested in Keepers Extra, a 2-year project to optimize the benefit of the Keepers Registry service to UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and other key stakeholders. Led by EDINA, Keepers Extra builds on the success of the Keepers Registry service, which provides easily accessible information about the archiving arrangements for electronic journals. 

We will be adding posts to this blog that discuss the Keepers Extra project, update the Keepers Registry community on progress, and discuss the themes raised in the project.  In this first introductory post, we consider the need and rationale for the Keepers Extra project.

The last decade has seen an explosive growth in on-line scholarly publishing. Rather than reading journals onsite at the library, researchers and students alike expect to access and consult papers and articles quickly and easily from their own computers. University libraries increasingly provide access to material hosted by publishers, paying subscriptions for access to journals on-line rather than for printed back copies. These changes have had significant ramifications for libraries in terms of how their spaces and collections are used, fundamentally changing the priorities and collection management policies of some institutions. The rapid transformation to an electronic environment has had many benefits including faster and more flexible access to journal articles. However, it has also given rise to significant issues surrounding the longer term accessibility of scholarly material and these new e-journal publishing and subscription practices have implications on the library’s traditional role of stewardship. The consequences of these changes are not yet clear, but they raise many questions: when libraries pay for access rather than for an object, what happens when that access is halted? How does a researcher consult a ‘back copy’ when their library no longer subscribes? What happens when a title is transferred between publishers or when a publisher goes out of business? Publishers have not historically taken that role of stewardship and if libraries are no longer the collectors and custodians of the scholarly record, who is responsible for ensuring that the world’s knowledge is preserved for the future?

In 2011, analysis undertaken by the Keepers Registry team showed that of all the continuing resources assigned ISSNs, only around 20% was safely archived. That means that an astonishing 80% of contemporary scholarship published in e-journals is at risk of loss.

Launched in 2011 in partnership between EDINA and the ISSN International Centre, the Keepers Registry was designed to enable its users to see what scholarly e-journal content has been preserved, by whom and under what terms of access. The Keepers Registry aggregates metadata from participating archiving agencies and, using the ISSN-L as a unique identifier for journal titles, it serves as a showcase for the work of the Keepers, the archiving agencies undertaking the vitally important task of ensuring that the scholarly record is preserved for future generations. These include national libraries, research library consortia and not-for-profit initiatives such as Portico and CLOCKSS. In addition to revealing precisely which journals and volumes are safely stored, the Registry is helping us to understand what is not being archived.  By analysing the extent of archiving by usage, or by country of publication, we can begin to understand the extent of publications that remain at risk of loss.

Keepers Registry is becoming established as an important tool in library workflows, but the challenge of increasing preservation coverage remains, hence the need for Keepers Extra.

Keepers Extra is a community-driven project designed to build on the Registry and explore the challenges that it brings into focus. As well as enabling feature developments that will ensure the service is maximally useful to the library community and Keeper agencies, it will encourage new archiving agencies to join the Keepers community and lay the foundations for collaboration among key stakeholders both nationally and internationally. Strategically, Keepers Extra lets us explore how as a community we might work together to increase the preservation coverage of scholarly e-journals.

Posted in Keepers Extra | Comments Off on [Keepers Extra] Why a Keepers Extra project?

Announcing New Member Services From The Keepers Registry

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 11.52.39We have been working on a new release of the Keepers Registry. This includes a range of new Member Services such as a Title List Comparison facility and Linking Options for third party websites.  This new release also supports Persistent URLs for bookmarking and sharing specific records.

Forthcoming Members Services

  • Title List Comparison. This facility helps a library discover the archival status of a list of serials:  identifying those that are being ingested for preservation and those which are still “at risk”.
  • Linking Options. These enable other service providers who may wish to report Keepers Registry information within the interface of their own website. Currently we have two options:
    1. A machine to machine interface using SRU or Z39.50.
    2. An OpenURL resolver to support prospective linking.

Sign Up

To sign up for early access to our Member Services and to help test our new features, please complete the form below.

Further Information

Further information about the Member Services is as follows:

Title List Comparison

This has a simple 5 step process:

  1. The library prepares a CSV file (or spreadsheet) that lists an ISSN for each serial of interest. This file is typically exported from a library’s link resolver or OPAC.
  2. The CSV file is uploaded to the Title List Comparison service.
  3. Each of the serial titles listed in the CSV file is cross-checked against metadata from selected Keeper agencies. The comparison uses the ISSN-L, the linking ISSN that acts as a common identifier between electronic and print ISSNs.
  4. A composite file is produced that includes the data initially uploaded plus information on what is preserved and what is not.
  5. You will be sent an email with a download link for this composite file, plus summary statistics from the comparison:
    • Percentage (%) and number of titles that are ingested and archived by 3 or more Keepers
    • Percentage (%) and number of titles for which there is “no known preservation taking place”, therefore are at risk of loss.

Linking Options

The M2M interface does not make available bibliographic information from the ISSN Register. If you need access to bibliographic information, please refer to the ISSN Portal (http://www.issn.org/2-22655-The-ISSN-Portal.php).


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Data from the new keepers

We are delighted to announce that the data submitted by the two latest keepers, the Scholars Portal and the Library of Congress, has now been added to the Keepers Registry.   The addition of these two keepers increases the number of titles listed in the Registry and, with the addition of the Scholars Portal from Canada, another country has been added to the geographical spread of keepers.

Between them, at the latest round of updating carried out earlier this month, the 10 contributing keepers have reported that 23,268 serials are being ‘preserved’ by at least one keeper.  9,652 serials are reported as being ‘preserved’ by at least three keepers.

An earlier post described the Library of Congress and its current work on the preservation of ejournals.  The Scholars Portal became Canada’s first Trusted Digital Repository in February 2013 and a future post will provide more details on the work being carried out.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Library of Congress joins the Keepers Registry

We are delighted to welcome the Library of Congress as the latest archiving organisation to join the Keepers Registry. 

The Registry provides the Library of Congress (LoC) with opportunity to share information on the titles and digital content that it is archiving for the long term.  This is in support of the interim regulation adopted in 2010 by the LoC Copyright Office governing mandatory deposit of online serials published in the United States of American and available online only.  

The Library of Congress is the research library of the US Congress.  Regarded by many as acting as a de facto national library for the USA, the Library was established as a legislative library in 1800, grew into a national institution during the 19th century and has now become an international resource of unparalleled dimensions, used as a provider of bibliographic services throughout the world.  The history of the Library is well described here.

Library of Congress Reading Room, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jumpingshark/2916701647/

Details about the ‘whys and wherefores’ of the archiving of electronic serials at the Library are set out on the website of the Keepers Registry, listed under ‘Archiving Agencies’. The first set of metadata for material ingested by the Library has just been received and in the near future this ‘holdings data’ will be displayed in the result sets for searches on titles.

This news has been a year in the making, initially mooted in December 2012 through a presentation as part of the “Digital Future & You” series at the Library of Congress and through a series of follow-up interactions that clarified the process for the recruitment of New Keepers.  That is helping outreach to other national libraries that have expressed interest. 

The Library of Congress already knew something about the Keepers Registry through its active participation as the US ISSN National Centre in the ISSN Network. This was first during the (PEPRS) project phase carried out as a joint activity by EDINA and the ISSN International Centre, and then as it was emerging as a service with stated mission to be a global monitor of archiving activity for digital content issued as serials.

The addition of the Library of Congress brings the total Keepers now participating in the Registry to ten, twice the number of archive agencies involved at the outset.  

 The project phase to pilot the e-journal preservation registry service (PEPRS) included the five most prominent archiving organisations at the time: CLOCKSS & Portico, e-Depot (Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Netherlands) & the British Library, and the Global LOCKSS Network.  HathiTrust and the National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences also participated during the latter part of the pilot project, the former reporting on digitised journals. The Scholars Portal (Ontario, Canada) and the Archaeological Data Service (UK) joined earlier in 2013.

The Keepers Registry now has four national libraries reporting details of the serial titles and the volumes/issues that they are ingesting with long-term archival intent.

In terms of the number of ISSN assigned for online serials by their ISSN national centre, these include three countries that account for about a third (34%) of all e-serials titles assigned ISSN, as indicated below:

ISSN Assigned to Online Continuing Resources (cr), as at December 2012:
(Shown here only for ISSN National Centres Assigning 2,000 or more)



ISSN (cr)


United States

22 984


United Kingdom

10 635



4 824






6 295



5 143



5 096



4 661



3 934



3 670



2 895



2 856



2 846



2 753


New Zealand

2 185





International Centre

3 857





All other National Centres account for remaining c.25% of ISSN assigned.



The table above prompts reflection on the national sense of responsibility for archiving e-journal content. However, it should also serve to underline the sense of international interdependence, whereby the needs of scholarship in any one country is dependent upon what is published in another.  The table might also indicate a priority ranking, in numerical terms at least, for engagement with additional national libraries.

In that latter context there is significance in another recent recruit to the Keepers Registry, the Scholars Portal. This is a consortium of research libraries organised on a geographic basis. As such, it has a mission to support the needs of scholarship in Ontario but also, one supposes, giving special attention to scholarly content that is published in Canada.

 As one examines the countries listed in the table, that there is publication of scholarly and cultural material written and published in languages other than English, is apparent. One may conjecture that much of that e-serial content is not being archived by the larger archiving organisations, in part because this material does not come from the larger publishers.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Generating Actionable Evidence on E-journal Archiving

This Wednesday, the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) is hosting an e-Journals ‘summit’ and webinar in London on Preservation, Trust and Continuing Access for E-Journals.  This post is supplementary to one of the presentations, ‘Solving the E-Journal Problem: What does the Keepers Registry tell us?’

At a previous DPC meeting with the same theme in January 2012 we noted that the six organizations reporting into the Keepers Registry were ingesting content for 16,558 titles. With 97,563 online resources assigned ISSN at the close of 2011 the ratio of 17% of e-serials provided a simple key indicator of the progress being made to archive e-journal content; 83% still to do.

The DPC meeting this week is opportunity to provide an update in that estimate, together with some additional published and provisional results:

Taken from the intended presentation ‘Solving the E-Journal Problem: What does the Keepers Registry tell us?’

Progress, But …

The good news is that the number of titles reported as being actively archived is up significantly, by 5,000, to 21,557 titles. This is due both to ongoing archiving activity among the six participating ‘keepers’ at the end of 2011 and to the addition of report of archiving activity from two additional ‘keepers’. This should be further improved when e-Depot (Netherlands) resumes its notification process (it stopped temporarily in April 2012 to change systems) and when the Scholars Portal (Ontario) begins notification of its archiving activity.

It is also good news that the number of 113,000 ISSN assigned to online resources in the ISSN Register has increased from 98,000 – even if that means that the simple key indicator is only up from 17% to 19%.

So, progress but still some way to go: Over 80% of online resources are not accounted for on the digital shelves of those reporting into the Keepers Registry, and therefore must be presumed at risk of loss – not forgetting that there are missing volumes and issues among the c.20% that we do know about.

Determining The Priority ‘Scholarly Record’ Titles

Of course not all of those online resources with an ISSN can be counted as part of the scholarly record, perhaps fewer again could be considered essential for today’s research and education. On the other hand, not all points of issue of digital scholarly content are yet assigned an ISSN – a topic for a later blog post. Defining the boundary of the scholarly record and the extent of resources of scholarly interest is problematic, with methodological challenge to create a priority list of titles that would command consensus.

We have been considering three approaches, with respective focus on those e-serials that:

  1. contain ‘peer reviewed’ articles, or are otherwise indexed as ‘scholarly’
  2. academic and research libraries regard as important, or list in their library catalogues, or
  3. users regard as important, through their behaviour (e.g. requests, accesses, citations).

1) There are no results to report here about the proportion of ‘peer-reviewed’ e-journals that are archived. There are commonly thought to be about 30,000 refereed journals (a figure of 29,907 in Ulrichsweb was given by Yvette Diven of SerialsSolution at Mid-summer ALA 2011). Were it the case that the 21,557 titles recorded as ‘preserved’ in the Keepers Registry represented a large proportion of those then there might be cause for comfort. Some direct cross-check is probably in order but from what is disclosed in the findings presented below there is no such comfort to be had.

Some Published Findings About Library Lists

2) We explored the second approach to estimate that only about a quarter of the online titles in library serials lists were being archived, with the caveat that for only about half of the titles listed for each library was an ISSN included (being either missing or not yet assigned). We did this during trials of a facility that we intend to introduce in the next release of the Keepers Registry, one that would allow any library to check the archival status of the e-serials (with ISSN) they regard as important. As indicated below, this is based on serials lists supplied by three large research libraries in the US: Columbia, Cornell and Duke Universities:

This table also appeared in a paper presented this August at IFLA (Burnhill and Pelle 2013), at which two stark scenario for 2020 were considered: one in which today’s e-journal content had been preserved and was being used successfully; one in which important literature has been lost.

And Now Some User-centric Findings

3) Over the summer of 2013 we decided to try the third approach and to check the archival status of the online titles requested by researchers and students. From this we estimate that less than one third of the online titles consulted during 2012 were recorded as being archived.

We turned to the UK OpenURL Router, a heavily used piece of middleware connecting library users to the appropriate digital copies based on their institutional affiliation. The UK OpenURL Router, generally invisible to end users, was devised and is operated by EDINA, which delivers it as part of Jisc support for UK research and education. We analysed this UK OpenURL Router activity data for the whole of 2012, checking their archival status in the Keepers Registry in August 2013:

Taken from the intended presentation ‘Solving the E-Journal Problem: What does the Keepers Registry tell us?’

The OpenURL Router logs are published and available online. They record 10.4m OpenURL requests from researchers and students at 108 university-level institutions in the UK. The bibliographic data included the ISSN for 8.5m records and with additional use of the ISSN-L, the linking field for ISSNs assigned to different media (e.g. print and electronic) for the same title, those resolved to 53,311 online titles.  By deduction, two-thirds (36,326) of the online titles regarded as of some value by researchers and students in the UK are seemingly ‘at risk of loss’.

Call for Action Based On Actionable Evidence

The majority of the online serials are not in the safekeeping of organizations with archival intent, let alone on the shelves of libraries. Library e-connections should not be called library e-collection while library stewardship for the scholarly record is incomplete.

This is not good news but at least there are some data becoming available, with global coverage. The trick now is to turn this into evidence that enables appropriate action by groups of libraries and policy makers – regionally, nationally and internationally.  The overall aim is to improve the archival coverage of the scholarly record to a significant extent. For that we want to publish our findings from the Keepers Registry in ways that will put the spotlight upon the titles that are still at risk of loss, together with what we can know of their publishers, in order that effort is directed towards what has priority and what is more or less tractable.

For that we need your feedback, on our provisional results, on how we should expose the benefits of the Keepers Registry and on how these can be transformed into ‘actionable evidence’.


The project (PEPRS) to create the Registry was funded at the initiative of Jisc following a commissioned scoping report. It brought together EDINA and the ISSN International Centre building upon their experience with SUNCAT and the ISSN Register.  The real heroes of the story are the archives that act as our digital shelves and that share information through the Keepers Registry. Thanks also to Caroline Brazier (BL) for those choice words, library e-connections & e-collections, made during conversation at IFLA 2013.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Further International Exposure for the Keepers Registry

From the outset, the focus of PEPRS (the forerunner of the Keepers Registry) and now the Keepers Registry, has been international, reflecting the reality that scholarship and research knows no national boundaries.  Metadata held in the Registry is supplied by keepers from 5 different countries in 3 continents.  It is the mission of EDINA to extend this coverage.

 Of course, it is not only the supply of metadata which needs to be international but also the demand.  That means ensuring the international community knows of the existence of the Registry and what it is trying to do.  A key way to do that is to ensure there are presentations, posters etc, at major international conferences.  A recent post described a presentation at the major international conference for librarians, International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), held in Singapore in August 2013.

 The 10th International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects (iPress-2013) was held in Lisbon in September and was attended by 392 delegates from 37 countries.  During the conference there was a workshop entitled : Preservation of Scale Workshop.  The organisers are to be congratulated on attracting a wide range of speakers from major organisations in the field including:  e-Depot (Netherlands), British Library, LOCKSS, Directory of Open Access Journals, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University and EDINA, University of Edinburgh.

The title of the talk given by one of the Project Directors of the Keepers Registry, Peter Burnhill,  was:  Using the Keepers Registry to assist collaboration between keepers.  The Abstract and Presentation are available.

In his talk Peter Burnhill made reference to the fact that some recent investigations had indicated that around three quarters of the estimated 100,000 e-journals without an ISSN appeared not to be in an archiving programme.

Rick Anderson in a blog post (March 2012) entitled,  E-journal Preservation and Archiving: Whether, How, Who, Which, Where, and When?  posited the question:

“..how important is it that we archive all of the scholarly record?”

This posting attracted 26 comments, many of them quite detailed.

One very useful feature of the iPress-2013 conference website is that the organisers arranged for notes to be available for each of the presentations and for the discussions at the end of each session (there were 4 discussion sessions).   In the discussion after the presentation by Peter Burnhill, there was a question about additional keepers and another one about the contrast with the ‘analogue’ world.  Reference was also made to the role of the legal deposit electronic materials and it was noted that only 44% of national libraries (in 2011) had legislation for e-book or e-journals although that figure was expected to rise to 58% by 2012. 

The comments on the blog post by Rick Anderson and the notes from the conference show clearly that there are a lot of questions appertaining to the digital preservation of electronic journals and that members of the Community wish to engage in discussion.  It is accordingly worth asking how and where the discussions might take place.  Conference proceedings, blog postings, journal articles etc. are all important communication channels but they are essentially passive communication forms (although, as mentioned, blog posts do attract comments) and they require users to know of their existence.  The availability of an internationally recognised, accessible and secure facility to allow such discussions to take place is surely worth considering for an area of activity which is of such importance for scholarly communication. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Keepers Registry in Singapore

The two co-directors of the Keepers Registry, Peter Burnhill (EDINA, University of Edinburgh) and Françoise Pelle (ISSN International Centre / Centre International de l’ISSN, Paris) gave a presentation entitled:

“Who is looking after your e-journals? Telling tales about the Keepers Registry and your digital shelves”

at the 79th IFLA World Library and Information Congress held in Singapore 17th – 23rd August 2013.  The presentation was given in Session 98 entitled Agile management: strategies for achieving success in rapidly changing times.  This was organised by the Knowledge Management with Academic and Research Libraries Group.

The presentation is available here and there is also a supporting document providing background information and more detailed information on the Keepers Registry.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Two new Keepers report e-journal archiving

The Keepers Registry is pleased to announce two new Keepers of e-journal content joining the global Registry of archiving organisations – those who have stepped forward to act as digital shelving for the world’s researchers and students. These are the Ontario Scholars Portal (Canada) and the Archaeology Data Service (UK).  They join seven other Keepers of e-content, based throughout the world: research literature is international: no one country can be self-sufficient.

Developed and delivered by EDINA and the ISSN-International Centre, the Keepers Registry, online at http://thekeepers.org, is funded by Jisc.

Holdings information from the Archaeology Data Service is now being reported into the Keepers Registry, and reporting from the Scholars Portal is expected to begin in July.

The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) is a digital archive that supports research, learning and teaching with freely available, high quality and dependable digital resources. Since 1996 the ADS has provided long-term archiving for multiple forms of data currently comprising around a million individual items generated from archaeological research around the world. ADS holdings include archive and dissemination versions of a number of archaeological journals. Following internationally recognised best practice in the field of digital archiving, the ADS has developed robust, scalable and reliable internal systems and external partnerships that ensure deposited data is both safe in the long run and permanently available to interested users both within academia and beyond. Learn more at http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/

The Ontario Scholars Portal is a shared IT service provider that preserves and provides access to information resources collected and used by the 21 university library systems in the Ontario Council of University Libraries. Scholarly material licensed by OCUL schools is locally loaded on the journals platform, which provides perpetual access to the content (both locally and on vendor platforms), and holds it in an OAIS-compliant preservation infrastructure.  Learn more at http://www.scholarsportal.info/

Co-Directors Peter Burnhill (EDINA) and Françoise Pelle (ISSN-IC) said, “We are very pleased to welcome both the Archaeology Data Service and Scholars Portal as Keepers. They join seven other leading archiving organisations to help the library community globally.”

The Keepers Registry providing a single point of access to archiving agency metadata that enables library staff to discover which e-journals are being actively archived and which are still at risk. It is also possible to establish which publishers are engaging the archiving agencies, and to have a summary of the preservation approach and access conditions.

A total of nine organizations have now registered as ‘Keepers’, including the British Library, CLOCKSS Archive, e-Depot at the Dutch national library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek), HathiTrust, the Global LOCKSS Network, Portico, and the National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  Further organizations from the USA are preparing to join.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tales from the Keepers Registry: Serial Issues About Archiving & the Web

Peter Burnhill has written an article describing our activities within the Keepers Registry, and the issues that the service is identifying and addressing.  Here’s the abstract:

A key task for libraries is to ensure access for their patrons to the scholarly statements now found across the Internet. Three stories reveal progress towards success in that task. The context of these stories is the shift from print to digital format for all types of continuing resources, particularly journals, and the need to archive not just serials but also ongoing ‘integrating resources’ such as databases and Web sites.

The first story is about The Keepers Registry, an international initiative to monitor the extent of e-journal archiving. The second story is about the variety of ‘serial issues’ that have had to be addressed during the PEPRS (Piloting an E-journals Preservation Registry Service) project which was commissioned in the UK by JISC. These include identification, naming and identification of publishers, and the continuing need for a universal holdings statement. The role of the ISSN, and of the ISSN-L, has been a key.

The third story looks beyond e-journals to new research objects and the dynamics of the Web, to the role of citation and fixity, and to broader matters of digital preservation. This story reflects upon seriality, as the Web becomes the principal arena and medium for scholarly discourse. Scientific discourse is now resident on the Web. Much that is issued on the Web is issued nowhere else: it is a digital native.

Statistics that indicate the extent of archiving for e-journals to which major university libraries subscribe are also included in the article.

The article is published in the March 2013 issue of Serials Review.  This can also be accessed via the Edinburgh Research Archive.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog posting at UKSG 2013

A blog posting by one of the delegates at the Breakout session entitled E-journals and long-term availability: an overview and panel discussion on the archiving infrastructure to meet the needs of users given at UKSG 2013 has now been made available.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment