JARVIG: How to ensure that scholarly materials remain discoverable and accessible?

I mentioned attending the first JARVIG meeting in an earlier post. There is now a web site for the group that explains some background about this group. For example, the full title is the ‘e-Journal Archiving Implementation Group’. Its stated aim is:

The aim of the group is to determine the most effective national e-journal archiving infrastructure… for the UK HE sector, and then to support JISC (and other organisations where appropriate) to make sure that the infrastructure can be put in place as fast as possible.

The best starting point for entering this discussion is the so-called Beagrie White Paper on ‘E-Journal Archiving for UK HE Libraries’. This report notes the increasing trend for libraries to move to electronic access to journal articles, preferring this over print. Responsibility for ensuring that this material is continuously available is less certain than in the days when libraries held printed copies of journals in their dusty basements. There are questions about what happens when file formats fall obsolete or commercial companies (heaven forbid) cease to trade. The report does include case studies where libraries have attempted, with varying success, to take on these challenges.

The first meeting sought to pin down the key concerns, while the second tried to sketch out the possible actions and identify the key players. A third meeting is propose for October 2011 where there may be scope for wider participation in the debate.

There is already plenty of activity in this area. The UK LOCKSS Alliance and its members have an important role in this debate, since they are among those at the fore-front in tackling the issues raised in a practical way. The British Library is preparing for the legislation that would permit legal deposit for electronic publications (Gibby, 2011). A tool for checking who is taking responsibility for ensuring continuous access to electronic journals is available as a beta release: PEPRS and shows a lot of promise.

While JARVIG is set up to examine options for action in the UK, it is not taking an isolated view of the issues. There is clearly an international aspect to these challenges and groups like LIBER and institutions like the National Library of the Netherlands are very much partt of the debate.


Gibby, Richard and Brazier, Caroline (2011) Tortoise or Hare Learning from the development of e-legal deposit legislation in the UK. Accessed 10 August 2011.

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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