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E-journal archives: can we trust them? – LIBER curation workshop (4)

14 mei 2012 Gepubliceerd door Laat uw gedicht achter

In my previous post from the LIBER curation workshop Randy Kiefer and Marcel Ras enthusiastically presented their respective solutions for e-journal archiving, CLOCKSS and the KB e-Depot. We had to wait another day for William Kilbride of the UK Digital Preservation Coalition (assisted in his research by Neil Beagrie) to answer, from a more objective point of view, the all-important question: Can We Trust the E-journal Archives to Deliver? Has the Community Sorted Outsourcing in Digital Preservation? (slides)

William Kilbride (middle) speaking with Joy Davidson (DCC) and Bram van der Werf (Open Planets Foundation)

First of all, Kilbride and Beagrie acknowledged that outsourcing digital preservation is important for libraries, because most of them simply to not have the resources or the skills to do it themselves. Then they took a look at what it means to be a trusted partner, more from an organizational viewpoint than a technical one (for a technical viewpoint see my 2011 post about David Giaretta’s work). Kilbride and Beagrie interviewed four e-archiving initiatives (CLOCKSS, Portico, the KB e-Depot and the UK LOCKSS alliance) and concluded that:

This all sounds very well, but what does it mean? Portico was the first archive to agree that “trust in preservation needs a lot more work”. Meanwhile, the four archives had quite a list of requirements which they feel they must fulfil:

  • Portico: Clear mission and clarity of purpose; knowledge of content and who owns it; transparency of functions including audit; examples and responses to emerging situations; commitment and capacity for research; skills and skill development; global reach with partners.
  • CLOCKSS/LOCKSS: all of the above PLUS transparent infrastructure; open source tools; community ownership; clarity on rights.
  • KB e-Depot: all of the above PLUS credibility of mandate; understanding relationship/differences between access and preservation, subscribers’rights and public rights.

Looking at these lists, one can conclude that the archives at least know what they should be doing. As to whether they deliver already – that is yet to be seen.

Kilbride and Beagrie identified the following challenges:

  • From reading to text mining
  • Data and dynamic publications
  • What is the final copy of an article: publisher or author?
  • No one teaches this stuff at Library School
  • No recognised audit authority
  • Fixity and provenance versus dynamic, collaborative content
  • Access and preservation are conflated
  • Access library versus research library
  • Harder to preserve OA content than paid-for content
  • Risks uneven across large to small publisher spectrum.


The DPC will publish a full report on e-journal content in its Technology Watch Reports Series in July 2012. Sounds like a must-read!

A part of the audience; at the front LIBER President Paul Ayris

 “When it comes to cloud storage and preservation – we have not seen cloud interoperability yet.” (William Kilbride)

“It seems that providing for training in digital preservation is risky businesss – there is little money available to send staff to those training events.” (William Kilbride)

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