Towards a SMART Goal for LOCKSS

I mentioned in another post that the number of times LOCKSS appeared as an option on the ‘Find It @ DMU’ menus generated by SFX, our OpenURL Resolver was an interesting figure to examine. I only have one month’s worth of data so can’t report on an upward or downward trend yet, but let’s not let that stop us. For the whole month of December 2012, LOCKSS showed up on 6.8% of the menus.

It would be helpful to have a SMART objective for monitoring the growth and usefulness of this service.

Suggested objective: LOCKSS should show up as a menu option for 7% of the menus generated by SFX.

To check whether or not this counts as a SMART goal, I am checking it against the criteria highlighted in the Wikipedia article on SMART Criteria.


A specific goal will usually answer the five “W” questions:

  • What? I want to increase the proportion of material included in the library’s activity designed to ensure continuing access in the long-term to  electronic journals.
  • Why? To mitigate the short and long term threats to electronic journal information, and to show that LOCKSS is a tool relevant to such an endeavour.
  • Who? Content Delivery team members in the library who activate Archival Units in LOCKSS, opening them to preservation; Subject librarians who select such material for preservation; staff and LOCKSS in Stanford and the UK LOCKSS Alliance who liaise with publishers and complete the technical stages of enabling preservation to take place; publishers of electronic journals who take on to share the responsibility for ensuring continuing access to electronic journals (a part of recorded knowledge) with libraries.
  • Where? At De Montfort University: specifically the interface between LOCKSS which does the preservation and the OpenURL Resolver SFX which enables access to the preserved material.
  • Which? Relevant material needs to be available for archiving in this way; selected by the library; collected by LOCKSS and access enabled in SFX. There is an element where the user is involved in selecting which menus are generated by the OpenURL Resolver, so archiving lots of journals in which the users have no interest would not advance progress towards this objective.


A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How much? 7% of the menus generated as a result of user requests to the OpenURL Resolver, which list the ‘appropriate copies’ to which the user has access, should include the option of getting the material via LOCKSS.
  • How will I know when it is accomplished? Regular checking of the statistics produced within SFX.


  • How can the goal be accomplished? By activating relevant material in LOCKSS for archiving; ensuring that it is successfully collected; ensuring that SFX is up-to-date with its record of material held in LOCKSS and made available to library users. There is also a requirement to continue identifying at-risk journals where preservation is inadequate and the material is of interest to members of the university.


  • Does this seem worthwhile? It involves taking action now for the benefit of others in the future.
  • Is this the right time? The content available for archiving in LOCKSS is growing all the time. Membership of the UK LOCKSS Alliance is based on a subscription and it is important to have evidence of the value of this subscription when making decisions about whether to continue such membership.
  • Does this match our other efforts/needs? The library makes content available to users; enables this access through an authentication systems, measures and compares the usage for different services, checks that usage is within that permitted by the licenses we sign: LOCKSS archiving is a step towards guaranteeing continuing access and mitigating threats against this service.
  • Are you the right person? I am arguing that I am.


  • When? Good question, as I don’t know the rate LOCKSS content at DMU is growing or likely to grow. So let’s say within one year (end of 2013).
  • What can I do 6 months from now? Ensure that the service is valued by library managers to the point that they wish to continue providing (and budgeting for) the service.
  • What can I do 6 weeks from now? Ensure accuracy of holdings records for archived material, and that relevant material is being selected for archiving by librarians.
  • What can I do today? LOCKSS is already out of synch with SFX as new material has recently been collected. This has raised the number of journal in LOCKSS from 673 to 708 and other existing titles are likely to have wider date ranges successfully collected. This is already a positive step towards the stated goal – but only if SFX is updated to reflect the new holdings.

How will we get on in meeting this objective? Watch this space.

Update: January 2013

1531 appearances on SFX menus, out of 23092 = 6.63%. By the beginning of February 677 titles were activated on SFX.

Update: February 2013

1483 appearances out of 24021 = 6.17%. During March we will be activating thresholds for more 2012 volumes, so I would expect to see an increase once these are collected and activated, I hope. By the start of March 682 journal titles had been activated on SFX.

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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