Tuesday, 31 March 2009

More on the ICTHES journals

I've had 3 responses by email to yesterday's post on the ICTHES journals (some responding to an associated email from me on the same issue). I'll summarise the two where quote permission was not explicit, and quote the third at length.

Adam Farquhar of the BL told me he had discussed it with their serials processing team under the voluntary scheme for legal deposit of digital material, and they will download the material into the BL's digital archive, where it will become accessible in the reading rooms (in due course, I guess). Wider access to such open access material should be available later under their digital library programme.

Tony Kidd, of the University of Glasgow and UKSG suggested that an OpenLOCKSS type approach might be feasible. This is consistent with the email from Vicky Reich of LOCKSS; she told me I could post her response. So here it is:
"UK-LOCKSS can, and should, preserve the four ICTHES journals.
  • First step: Contact the publisher and ask them to leave the content online long enough for it to be ingested.
  • Second step: Ask the publisher to put online a LOCKSS permission statement.
  • Third step: Someone on the LOCKSS team does a small amount of technical work to get content ingested.
With these minimal actions, the content would be available to those institutions who are preserving it in their LOCKSS box.

If librarians want to rehost this O/A content for others, there are two additional requirements:
  • a) the content has to be licensed to allow re-publication by someone other than the original copyright holder. This is best done via a Creative Commons license.
  • b) institutions who hold the content have to be willing to bear the cost of hosting the journals on behalf of the world.
Librarians, even those who advocate open access have not taken coordinated steps to ensure the OA literature remains viable over the long term. Librarians are motivated to ensure perpetual access to very expensive subscription literature, but ensuring the safety of the OA literature is not a priority because... it's available, and it's free. [...]

When the majority of librarians who think open access is a "good idea" step up and preserve this content (and I don't mean shoving individual articles into institutional repositories), then we will be well on our way to building needed infrastructure"
See also the comment from Gavin Baker to yesterday's post, which i think backs up Vicky's last point:
"I've thought for a while that archiving OA journals should be a goal of the library and OA community, maybe via a consortium which would harvest new issues of journals listed in the DOAJ. (We can treat as separate, for these purposes, the question of short-term archiving in case a journal goes under from the question of long-term preservation.) Is there a reason why this approach isn't undertaken? Do people assume that any OA journal worth archiving is already being archived by somebody somewhere?"
Let's be quite clear, contrary to my simplistic assumptions, the Internet Archive is NOT undertaking this task!


  1. Based on other BL digital services, I'd be surprised if the BL digital library were available available open access on the web, although it may be free to UK educational institutions if they are funded for that.

    I'm curious why the IA isn't interested, anyone know?

  2. @bibwild, I don't think "IA isn't interested" is quite correct. The IA is a low cost, reasonable effort operation, and cannot afford otherwise, with the whole web to gather. I was a bit surprised the success rate is so low, but not completely; you will often find similar patterns if you investigate sites you know, with top level pages reasonably well gathered, and lower level pages not so well handled. It's just possible that visits stimulated by the situation will have stimulated further gathers; certainly that was the message I got from some un-gathered pages I attempted to visit!

    I haven't heard yet from more focused web archiving efforts like UKWAC, but it may have been out of scope for them, too.

    You scepticism on open access to the BL digital services is quite understandable, but this does appear to be "planned" (with a few cautious ifs and maybes).

  3. Thanks Chris, excited that the BL is planning on making this open access.

    Ah, I understand about IA. Yeah, their automated spider is not close to perfect, and I don't expect it to be at the budget they have.

    What I meant to be suggesting is that, for already existing historical content that you want to make sure stays available when it's _current_ host goes down -- You could upload that content to the IA manually, and I believe the IA would be happy to host it.

    --Jonathan Rochkind (when I use the OpenID thing to authenticate to my wordpress account, it doesn't include my name, sorry and annoying!)


Please note that this blog has a Creative Commons Attribution licence, and that by posting a comment you agree to your comment being published under this licence. You must be registered to comment, but I'm turning off moderation as an experiment.