Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
CLOCKSS, or Controlled LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe), is a shared dark archive that runs on LOCKSS technology. CLOCKSS’s content is hosted on 12 servers around the world, at leading academic libraries, with robust infrastructure and security.
Libraries support CLOCKSS to ensure the world's digital content is protected for future generations of researchers. Publishers contribute their content to CLOCKSS to preserve them in a secure dark archive, without incurring the expense of building their own preservation and storage system. When a publisher's content is triggered, libraries and researchers are not charged for access; instead, the triggered content is made available for free at CLOCKSS's host sites.
CLOCKSS leverages existing infrastructure
CLOCKSS Archive nodes — the host libraries for the archived content - are housed at long-established institutions, supporting the library's role as a "custodian of culture." These 12 institutions are located in geographically, politically, and geologically disparate locations in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
CLOCKSS runs on proven digital preservation technology
Underlying CLOCKSS is the LOCKSS technology, which has been safely and securely preserving web-published content since 1999. Since then, it has evolved with web advances to preserve new content types.
The CLOCKSS Board of Directors includes an equal number of seats for libraries and for publishers, thereby balancing their influence on CLOCKSS policies, priorities, and the decisions that will impact them the most.
CLOCKSS provides participants with the opportunity to be more deeply involved in industry-wide efforts that are shaping the future, which helps to keep the community’s best interests at the forefront.
CLOCKSS uses the award-winning LOCKSS system, which was invented specifically for the long-term digital preservation of scholarly content. CLOCKSS is the only Trusted Digital Repository to receive the highest score for technology, from the TRAC audit conducted by the Center for Research Libraries in 2014.
Triggered content is made freely available via CLOCKSS host sites to everyone who accesses it.
CLOCKSS is a tax-exempt, 501(c)3, not-for-profit charitable organization. Annual fees are set by the Board of Directors and are based on publishing revenues for publishers and materials budgets for libraries. Publishers also pay a transactional fee based on how much content they preserve in the Archive.
The CLOCKSS Board of Directors is committed to these values, to ensure the organization’s sustainability:
- Because money spent on digital archiving competes with other needs, CLOCKSS is committed to minimizing publishers’ fees so that publishers will not pass along additional costs to libraries. CLOCKSS also aims to minimize libraries’ fees, so that they have more money to spend on content from publishers.
- All triggered content is made freely available. CLOCKSS will not create additional access barriers.
Because CLOCKSS is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, all contributions to CLOCKSS are tax deductible in the US.
Both source files (XML, PDF submitted by FTP) and presentation files (harvested from the publishers’ web platforms) are accepted for ingest and preservation.
CLOCKSS preserves the original files. When content is triggered from the Archive, the content is made available marked with the publisher’s brand.
In any market, it is important to have a choice of solutions. Many institutions prefer not to keep all their digital-preservation "eggs" in one basket.
Because CLOCKSS runs on proven, low-cost, open-source LOCKSS software, the costs for participation are affordable for libraries and publishers; see https://clockss.org/join-clockss/
CLOCKSS is a not-for-profit, joint venture developed by libraries and publishers who guide its management and future. Unlike other archiving solutions, CLOCKSS answers to its community, not to a parent company.
How does the CLOCKSS board define a trigger event?
Trigger events are situations of non-availability of archived content, such as:
Publisher No Longer in Business
The publisher is no longer in business or is no longer in the business of publishing content or providing access to previously published content, and there are no successor interests or reversions or transfers of rights.
Title No Longer Offered
The publisher is no longer providing access to the content and there are no successor interests or reversion or transfer of rights.
Back Issues No Longer Available
The publisher has stopped offering or providing access to some or all of the back issues of the content and there are no successor interests or reversion or transfer of rights.
While still publishing content, the publisher is not able to provide access to the content electronically due to technical or similar catastrophic and permanent failure.
Everyone. The materials are moved to the CLOCKSS host sites and made available to everyone for free, in an Open Access model.
There are a number of reasons.
The mission of CLOCKSS is to make sure archiving remains in the hands of the community -- this is a mission for today and in perpetuity and is the reason that the Board of Director is comprised equally by primary stakeholder groups. By contributing to CLOCKSS, your organization becomes part of that community of ibraries and publishers and you gain a direct voice in archiving decisions.
CLOCKSS needs support today from the entire library community in order to continue to exist in the future, for many reasons articulated in David W. Lewis’s article, "The 2.5% Commitment." Your contribution now helps build CLOCKSS’s reach and impact to better serve your library's archiving needs. It also helps the Archive to attract more publishers and content; reach new and smaller publishers whose content is most at-risk; and add new initiatives, such as archiving data sets.
CLOCKSS saves your library from having to pay continually for access to orphaned content. CLOCKSS publishers have agreed to make their triggered content open access; the archive takes triggered content from behind a toll wall and saves your library money on subscriptions.
Content location and custody
- Approximately 150 libraries are currently using the LOCKSS technology to preserve their own local digital collections. Libraries install and maintain their own LOCKSS boxes, running the LOCKSS software. LOCKSS is an open-ended program in which all libraries can participate in its global network.
- CLOCKSS is a global archive that preserves content on behalf of all libraries and scholars worldwide. CLOCKSS does so in 12 strategically chosen academic libraries across the globe to optimize the content’s safety against political and environmental threats. Located in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America, they each have a complete copy of the archive. They perform the preservation service on behalf of libraries and users everywhere; other libraries do not need to host the published scholarly literature for preservation purposes themselves. Many libraries support CLOCKSS through financial contributions and by participating in Archive governance; they do not need to host any technology locally. CLOCKSS is considered “controlled" because of the unique role of the 12 nodes.
Content access, to whom and when
- With LOCKSS technology, content is served from a library’s LOCKSS box to an institution’s own readers when the publisher's site is unavailable. LOCKSS networks provide 100% continual and post-cancellation access to that institution’s campus community.
- CLOCKSS-preserved content is available for free, to everyone, when it is not available from a publisher and is “triggered” from the dark archive. By 2021, 64 titles had been made available open access from the CLOCKSS Archive. CLOCKSS is the only archive that makes subscription content open access after it is triggered.
- CLOCKSS is a global archive governed by librarians and publishers. Librarians and publishers participate in the Board of Directors to oversee strategy, policy, and practice. The Board discusses preservation-related issues, and comes to agreement on how CLOCKSS should handle the long-term preservation of scholarly content.
- The LOCKSS program was founded in 1999 and is a self-funded department of the Stanford University Libraries. It operates with guidance from the Community Advisory Committee and feedback from its stakeholder community.
- LOCKSS and CLOCKSS use the award-winning LOCKSS technology to preserve content. The LOCKSS technology is “fault tolerant” and safeguards against the long-term, well-documented causes of digital loss: human error, computer attacks, economic and organizational failure.
- The LOCKSS technology preserves all formats (video, sound, pictures, text, etc.) and genres of content (e-journals, e-books, conference proceedings, etc.). Both the Global LOCKSS Network and CLOCKSS work with hundreds of publishers.
Content is not behind a toll wall
For both LOCKSS and CLOCKSS, once a trigger event has occurred, content access does not depend upon the payment of a fee. Both programs implement a core library value - unfettered access to information.