Supporting E-journal Archiving: National Libraries

In June 2016, EDINA and the ISSN IC hosted a workshop as part of the Keepers Extra project. The event brought together representatives of the archiving agencies and libraries reporting into the Keepers Registry and other key stakeholder such as Research Libraries UK, Coalition for Networked Information and Digital Preservation Coalition, to explore potential international action to increase the preservation coverage of e-serials. Following the face to face discussions, the Keeper agencies were invited to submit prioritised suggestions for actions that could be undertaken by different stakeholder groups in order to  support e-journal archiving. The Keepers are committed to encouraging and supporting these actions, wherever possible. 

National Libraries


National libraries have historically taken a leadership role in identifying, collecting and stewarding content published within their country. Although, like research libraries, they typically have close relationships with the academic community, they are distinguished by their wide ranging contacts across the spectrum of publishers, from large to small, and by the diverse and active communities of interest that they serve. While most national libraries have collection development policies, some are supported by legislation that requires publishers to deposit copies of their content. As a result, although the resources available to them can vary significantly, national libraries are uniquely experienced in collecting ‘long tail’ publishers. Given the international nature of publishing today, and the extent of the ‘long tail’ still to be archived, national libraries are likely to play an important role in ensuring preservation coverage is increased around the world.

National libraries should continue to provide their services to diverse publishers, prioritising local and small publishers whose work may not be easily collected by larger international archiving agencies. Collection of bespoke, non-standard formats is an important aspect of increasing preservation coverage and, like research librarians, national librarians have collection development expertise that can usefully be brought to bear on e-journal archiving. However, there is scope to work collaboratively to reduce duplication of effort. For example, national libraries can report into the Keepers Registry to share their data with one another. This would enable easy identification of content being archived by others and enable effort and resource to be targeted efficiently.

National libraries can take an active international leadership role on digital preservation and setting priorities, forge international partnerships, and share knowledge and best practice with their peers. Joining the Keepers community is a first step in this direction. Advocating for archiving is a second step: given their wide ranging contacts, national libraries are well placed to raise the topic with governments, research libraries, and publishers. They can also provide awareness building and training sessions for different stakeholder groups to understand and assess risks and take action.


Learn how research libraries can support e-journal archiving

Learn how publishers can support e-journal archiving


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