Momentum Grows for Long-term Preservation Strategy of Digital Content

Support for the community-governed archive cooperative, CLOCKSS (Controlled Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe), continues to grow as they announce the addition of the University of Alberta as its newest governing library member. The University of Alberta Libraries is a member of the Association of Research Libraries and has the second largest academic and research collection in Canada.

The CLOCKSS initiative was created in response to the growing concern that digital content purchased by libraries may not always be available due to retirement of an electronic journal or catastrophic events. CLOCKSS addresses this problem by creating a secure, multi-site archive of web-published content that can be tapped into as necessary to provide ongoing access to researchers worldwide for free. “We are proud to welcome the University of Alberta as our first Canadian partner,” says Gordon Tibbitts, CEO of bepress and Co-Chair of the CLOCKSS Board of Directors. “Adding another global partner to the network further solidifies CLOCKSS leadership in providing a cost-sensitive and effective long-term archiving solution that services the entire scholarly community.”

Based at Stanford University, the not-for-profit organization is a partnership of libraries and publishers. As a governing library, the University of Alberta Libraries will operate one of the computer “CLOCKSS boxes” housed at (ultimately) 15 sites around the globe containing content contributed by publishers. This content is stored and preserved, ensuring that it is available for future use. “The University of Alberta Libraries consider CLOCKSS essential for ensuring access to the knowledge we create today far into the future,” stated Ernie Ingles, Chief Librarian and Vice Provost at the University of Alberta, “We feel that membership in this organization is a contribution to future generations.”

CLOCKSS uses LOCKSS low cost archiving software to operate its archive, making participation in the collective affordable for libraries of all sizes. LOCKSS is an ACM award winning digital preservation technology preserves all formats and genres of web-published content including the look and feel of the original. LOCKSS is evolving open source software, which means there is less chance that the format of the stored content will become outdated and useless. When digital content becomes unavailable, for instance if a publisher chooses to retire a journal, then that “trigger event” allows content stored in the archive to be released to designated delivery platforms or hosts, ensuring unrestricted access to research literature that might otherwise have been lost. Prior to a trigger event the content is “dark” or hidden and is not available to anyone. Content that has been made available through CLOCKSS can be freely accessed here.

CLOCKSS is a joint venture between the world’s leading scholarly publishers and research libraries. Its mission is to build a sustainable, geographically distributed dark archive with which to ensure the long-term survival of Web-based scholarly publications for the benefit of the greater global research community. Governing Libraries include the Australian National University, Indiana University, New York Public Library, OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Rice University, Stanford University, the University of Alberta, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Hong Kong and the University of Virginia. Governing Publishers include the American Medical Association, the American Physiological Society, bepress, Elsevier, IOP Publishing, Nature Publishing Group, Oxford University Press, SAGE Publications, Springer, Taylor & Francis and Wiley-Blackwell.

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