LIS 855: Reading Journal Week 14

Unit topic: Perpetual Access

Reading list:

  1. Jennifer Watson (2008) “Preservation Concerns in the E-Resources Environment” in Maria D.D. Collins and Patrick L. Carr (Eds) Managing the Transition from Print to Electronic Journals and Resources. New York: Routledge, pp 45-63.
  2. Library of Congress Speaker Series: Eileen Fenton “Portico: An Electronic Archiving Service” 45 minute video
  3. Stemper, J. & Barribeau, S. (2006). “Perpetual Access to Electronic Journals: A Survey of One Academic Research Library’s Licenses.” Library Resources & Technical Services, 50(2), 91-109.
  4. Seadle, Michael1 (2006). “A Social Model for Archiving Digital Serials: LOCKSS.” Serials Review, 32(2), 73-77.
  5. *Victoria Reich (2009) “From Dark Archive to Open Access: CLOCKSS Trigger Event Lessons” Against the Grain, Vol 22, No 2, pp 24-27.
  6. *Peter Burnhill (2009) Tracking E-journal Preservation: Archiving Registry Service Anyone? Against the Grain, Vol 22, No 1, pp 32-35

While not technically “surprising” to me, I was somewhat surprised to find from Stemper & Barribeau that there were publishers already reversing the traditional purchasing model and making print the bonus when subscribing to electronic content, rather than electronic access being the bonus to a print subscription.  I say it’s not surprising because I and probably many people already feel that way about email.  I was (sadly) fooled by Google’s 2007 April Fool’s Day joke, “Gmail Paper,” and honestly excited about it for about 5 minutes until I realized it was too good to be true.  At various points in the past 12 or 13 years (basically since I started using email a lot), I’ve made half-baked attempts at archiving my emails in hard copy.  I haven’t tried this in, oh, at least 4 years now.  What with the voluminous amounts of email I have, it’s just gotten to be impossible even as a pipe dream.  But yes, part of me still wishes I had print backup for my emails.  Would I go back to snailmail-only?  No.  But do I want a print archive of all my emails?  You betcha.  So I was not surprised to find that publishers had started essentially “Gmail Paper” for their e-content, but I was somewhat surprised that it had already started.  Somehow I thought it would take longer for this to take.  Personally I am all in favour as long as the figures tot up so that publishers stay afloat and libraries don’t get charged absurd amounts of money for their journal subscriptions.  I do wonder: does this mean that those publishers who have adopted this model provide their publications on archival-grade paper and binding?  This might be a dumb question and a good one for me to ask my archives-track buddies–maybe all that one could reasonably expect is that they use acid-free paper and binding, which I gather is fairly standard these days with scholarly publications–but nonetheless if the model is supposed to make paper rather than digital the archival method, I hope someone is considering whether the paper being offered is going to cost the library lots more money in de-acidification treatment etc.

The LOCKSS versus Portico archiving “rivalry” is an interesting one.  Both are supported by Mellon funds but they approach the perpetual access problem from basically opposite ends: LOCKSS, being open-source, is rather grassroots-y, while Portico offers the top-down, pay-us-a-fee-and-we-take-care-of-it-for-you service.  I think it’s great, really, that Mellon has the resources to support both approaches.  Who knows which one will work in the end, but trying both approaches at once gives us a fighting chance.  It is interesting to me, however, that seeing as both initiatives are Mellon-funded, they’re not more cooperative but rather are presented in the literature we’re reading as industry rivals.  Couldn’t Portico be seen as an arm of LOCKSS in a way?  Or would that just detract from the steam of both initiatives?  What I like about the LOCKSS approach is that it is instilling a cultural habit, and I do think it will serve its purpose in the end in a much less low-stress way for everyone involved.  I can’t imagine the amount of responsibility that would be placed upon the Portico folks if their initiative really takes off and they essentially become the non-profit Google Books.  What happens if their servers have a massive failure?  Or, in the far future, if they become so high-profile that they become a terrorist target?  Nonetheless, I do like the centralized access that Portico could potentially offer.  It’s a clean interface (e.g. http://www.portico.org/Portico/browse/access/toc.por?journalId=ISSN_09675507&issueId=ISSN_09675507v14i1), and that’s definitely a plus for access.  Perhaps Portico will end up being a sort of portal to LOCKSS archives . . . because otherwise I don’t know how one would access the material in LOCKSS, stored as it is over so many scattered servers.  I don’t miss the “download from mirror server” days at all.  It seems like that used to be common back when bandwidth was less commonly generous, and people would offer their software for download from different mirror sites.  Or maybe LOCKSS archives will end up on file-sharing platforms–LOCKSSter.  Hah.

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