LOCKSS and Library Search

During February 2015 I have been working on making the collected and preserved material in De Montfort University’s LOCKSS Archive visible to Library Search users. Over 400 titles have now been activated on Intota (our Electronic Resources Management system). These are journals that the library cares about and has taken steps to ensure that their content is continuously available to over the long-term.

Library users are starting to notice material stored in LOCKSS when looking through our journal holdings or for individual articles. For example our E-Resources Portal shows LOCKSS as among the possible sources for ‘Accounting, auditing & accountability journal‘.

Accounting, auditing & accountability journalWhilst the Emerald Management link goes to the version available from the publisher, the LOCKSS link instead accesses content via a proxy server that runs inside the university. Should the content for any reason ‘go missing’ from the publisher we could rely on being able to use the LOCKSS version instead.

This may not be as pretty or straight-forward as you might expect, but it does work. First the user has to negotiate some of the LOCKSS mechanism. There is a menu page listing the stored content by volume.

This is followed by a better looking menu page with the issues available for the selected volume:

LOCKSS-Menu1Things are looking more familiar with the Issue contents page:

LOCKSS Manifest pageFrom this page a PDF or HTML version of the required article can be selected.

That, at least, is the route for people starting with the title of a journal. If you had a citation with an OpenURL link instead, the route to the content would be more direct.

Making the digitally preserved LOCKSS journals so visible helps to show just what efforts the Library has been making to guarantee continuing access to electronic resources. Research published at the end of last year (Klein M, 2014) indicates that a high percentage of published and peer-reviewed articles suffer from broken links in their references to other journals. Klein mentions LOCKSS as a possible measure protecting against link rot. Making the LOCKSS holdings visible for members of De Montfort University shows just how far, or how limited, this protection extends.

LOCKSS does have a further role in the background helping to maintain access to electronic content. It is also working as part of the infrastructure behind Library Search, along with EZproxy, enabling access to content. In the example of the accounting journal above, LOCKSS comes into play whether the user selects LOCKSS or Emerald as the source.

Klein M, Van de Sompel H, Sanderson R, Shankar H, Balakireva L, et al. (2014) Scholarly Context Not Found: One in Five Articles Suffers from Reference Rot. PLoS ONE 9(12): e115253. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115253


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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