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High Wire Press & LOCKSS research project

For liblicense-l readers who may not have seen it, this is a piece about
the HighWire group's proposed pereptual access solution for ejournals.  
Comments?  Is this an option you'd want to introduce into your e-licenses?

The Moderators

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Today's Chronicle of HE

Stanford Project to Test Method for Preserving Digital Journals


To assuage fears about the permanence of articles published in electronic
journals, Stanford University researchers will test a computerized
variation on an age-old archiving strategy: Make lots of copies, and keep
them in different locations.

Stanford's HighWire Press, which offers more than 170 scholarly journals
online, announced last week that it would test the approach this spring,
in a project called Lots Of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe, or LOCKSS.

During the test, six computers across the country will each house a copy
of a portion of two journal archives from the HighWire server. Each
computer in the LOCKSS network will continually look for -- and correct --
errors in its copy by comparing it with other copies in the LOCKSS system.
If the tests are successful, the system may expand beyond six computers.

Each library in the test group will archive the journals to which it
subscribes on its own computer. If HighWire's main server at Stanford
crashed or was destroyed by some disaster, or if a journal changed
ownership and its access policies changed, LOCKSS would ensure that copies
of that journal's archives were available to readers through the
interlibrary system.

"LOCKSS is very different from anything else that people have been doing
in the information system," says John R. Sack, associate publisher of
HighWire Press. The project is supported by Sun Microsystems and a $50,000
grant from the National Science Foundation.  The community of libraries
have redundant copies of things that are very important," Mr. Sack says.
"LOCKSS is an attempt to replicate that methodology for journals online."

This spring, Stanford will test the system at the libraries of Columbia,
Harvard, and Stanford Universities, the University of California at
Berkeley, the University of Tennessee, and the Los Alamos National
Laboratory. If those tests are successful, the Stanford researchers hope
to expand the project to libraries overseas.

Those in the library and electronic-publishing community agree that
redundant copies of articles are important for security, but some wonder
when enough copies are, well, enough already.

"There will be a lot of interesting things that come out of this
research," says Kevin M. Guthrie, president of the not-for-profit JSTOR,
which electronically archives back copies of print journals. But he has
reservations about LOCKSS' potential costs to libraries.

"One wouldn't want every single library with access to have to pay to
protect that content," he says. "The reason [redundant material in library
systems] exists today was not to protect the material -- it was to provide
access to the material. I've got a lot of respect for what they are
doing," he says. "I'm just not in support of having individual libraries
deal with the archiving problem."

Deanna B. Marcum, president of the Council on Library and Information
Resources, also voices concern about the redundancy-in-archiving issue:
"Most people believe that some redundancy is required, but a lot of
redundancy is perhaps too expensive."

Victoria A. Reich, who is assistant director of HighWire Press and is one
of the designers of the project, says that individual libraries will be
able to monitor redundancy within the system. A librarian will be able to
decide that so many copies of a particular journal are being archived
elsewhere that it need not be saved at the librarian's own institution as