E-journal archives join forces, but small publishers’ content in danger – LIBER curation workshop (3)14 mei 2012 Laat uw gedicht achter
Let’s start with the good news about e-journal archiving from the LIBER curation workshop. It was personified by a joint presentation by Marcel Ras of the KB e-Depot and Randy Kiefer of CLOCKSS – representatives of different e-archiving solutions for e-journals who, as William Kilbride of the UK DPC (Digital Preservation Coalition) phrased it, “might have ended up in a turf war” (slides RasKiefer here).
As it now seems, the danger of a turf war has been averted. Instead, a British initiative by EDINA (sponsored by JISC), in collaboration with the ISSN International Centre in Paris, has brought the present archiving solutions together to establish a Keepers Registry which is to keep track of what is being archived where and to inform libraries accordingly. More on the Keepers Registry in Joy Davidson’s slides from a separate presentation on the Registry. Marcel Ras also indicated that the Registry is to “facilitate exchanges of knowledge and expertise between the archives.”
In a world where e-journals are no longer sold to libraries but rather access to publishers’ data bases is licensed, archiving e-journals at central locations saves individual publishers the cost of preservation systems. For libraries there are two risks that need to be managed: a) a system breakdown at the publisher’s; b) access to content after the subscription has been cancelled. The first risk is being managed by the e-journal archives; whether post-cancellation access is also part of the deal must be negotiated in special contracts, says Marcel Ras. He announced that as of 2014 the KB e-Depot will set up a tripartite system for Europe, whereby both publishers and libraries will contribute to the maintenance of the digital archives, thus saving individual publishers and libraries the cost of long-term preservation.
But which initiative should a library join, one wonders. Randy Kiefer provided a nuanced answer to this question: “Let’s be honest, there is no silver bullet, there is no single archiving solution. Therefore, I suggest that you support as many solutions as you can.” In fact, the large publishers do support different e-journal archives. But how about the smaller libraries and publishers? The next day William Kilbride of the UK Digital Preservation Coalition indicated that especially small publishers still run many risks as they do not have the resources to join the archives. Marcel Ras suggested that this too could be solved: “When we conclude an archiving agreement with a library, we will approach the publishers not yet covered by our present arrangements and try to work with them to include them.” Kiefer: “Libraries should start working their contributions towards long-term preservation into their budgets.”
The audience had quite a few questions for Marcel Ras and Randy Kiefer. Kiefer was questioned about the CLOCKSS method, derived from the LOCKSS technology, to preserve different copies of the content in their original file format. While the system does check the different copies against each other to be able to repair a broken file, there are no strategies to migrate or preserve the content in the long term. Kiefer: “So far we have always been able to render the content in the browser with at most a few just-in-time translation actions. But I do not expect that this solution will work for fifty years or more. That is why LOCKSS has been awarded a Mellon Foundation grant to look into long-term access to the content we now archive.”
Another question concerned the research data that are increasingly being attached to e-journals. Have CLOCKSS or the KB e-Depot developed methods to preserve those as well? Ras: “So far the quantities are small. But we hope that the technologies we are developing for the KB web archive will help us solve these issues. In addition, we are working with the Dutch data archive DANS to look at possible solutions.” Kiefer expects “major changes in the next three to five years to bring journals and research data together.” He referred to figshare as one of those developments, without as yet commenting on how CLOCKSS would tackle such research output. But figshare has joined the CLOCKSS network recently, which bides well for the future.
On LOCKSS vs CLOCKSS. LOCKSS is a network in which content is replicated between participating libraries as a strategy to ensure long-term access. LOCKSS is format agnostic, meaning the content will be kept as it was received and output from digitization projects can also be archived. It is an open network that provides both access in case of a trigger event and post-cancellation access. CLOCKSS is a closed (private) LOCKSS network that works with the same technology, but acts as a dark archive for publishers’ content. For more information, see the respective websites.
Gianluca D’Amato described how LOCKSS and CLOCKSS partnerships are emerging in Italy. The slides he prepared with Tommaso Giordano of the European University Institute in Florence can be found here.
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