JARVIG Meeting – February 2011

e-Journal Archiving Implementation Group

I am invited to take part in the JARVIG – e-Journal Archiving Implementation Group’s meetings in 2011. On this group I am representing the UK LOCKSS Alliance Steering Committee and De Montfort University’s libraries. The focus of the group is to work out how to develop the most effective e-Journal archiving infrastructure for the UK HE sector. There are two parts to that:

  1. What is that we want to see?
  2. How do we get this in place?

These are not questions coming out of a void. The JISC, who are sponsoring JARVIG have been working on a number of electronic journal archiving initiatives in recent years. One of the prompts for setting up the group was the publication of ‘e-Journal Archiving for UK HE Libraries – A White Paper‘ by Neil Beagrie. Coming up with a response to the report’s recommendations would go along way to answering both questions.

The report looks at the economic factors driving the move across UK HE institutions towards electronic only journal subscriptions. There are pressures on staff and resource budgets when it comes to looking after print journals. Libraries have undergone a subtle change in role in the last few years, becoming a social space for learning rather than dusty document stores. Floor space used for informal learning has often been at the expense of space required for ever growing collections of printed journals. Balancing these pressures are the increasing cost of electronic journals. VAT alone is a major additional cost, since the rate for printed journals is much lower than the 20% for e-journals. I am no sure there is much that can be done about the VAT rate, but action is possible in two other areas of concern:

  1. Continuing access. What access could an institution expect after cancelling a subscription?
  2. Perpetual access. Would any access at all be possible if the publisher were no longer around to supply the material?

There may not be general answers to these questions. They can only be answered at a more detailed level: which journal? which publisher? which deal? which license? perhaps even what year of publication?

Libraries in the UK are taking steps to address these concerns. The White Paper describes good practice generally and in four exemplar libraries: University of Glasgow; University of Huddersfield; London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Scottish Higher Education Digital Library. It would be interesting to reflect on how DMU’s libraries compare with those in the report.

I will look at possible responses to the report in a further post.

About Philip Adams

Senior Assistant Librarian at De Montfort University. I am interested in digital preservation and the use of data to measure a library's impact. All comments own.
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