Monday, April 09, 2007

E-Journal Archiving Gets Real

Portico, the electronical journal archiving organization associated with JSTOR, Mellon, and Ithaka, continues to sign new publishers, according to Publisher Relations Director Toni Tracy. Portico has agreements with some 30 publishers to archive all of their peer reviewed material and 340 participating libraries.

Portico's approach is to ingest and standardize the publisher. This approach is different from the CLOCKSS approach, which caches images from publishers' web pages. The fomer will preserve the content, but not the functionality or design. The latter will preserve the publisher's look and feel. Both organizations commit to migrate the technology and content over time to preserve access.

With both Portico and CLOCKSS, the archive is intended to remain dark until a "trigger event" opens it up. The event may be the discontinuation of a publication, a publisher going out of business, or, in certain cases, the cancellation of a subscription. Portico is now live and ingesting content. CLOCKS is operating a limite two-year trial, after which, the plans are to open the project up to wider participation.

It is good to see concrete progress in the field of archiving electronic journals. As Tim Berners-Lee admonished at CrossRef's annual meeting in November, publishers need to make a will. Nobody likes to think that their organization will not survive. But the prudent course is to plan for demise, and work to make sure the archive remains dark.

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