LOCKSS and the DOAJ at DMU

I looked recently at the overlap between the Open Access journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals and De Montfort University’s LOCKSS Digital Preservation system. It is timely to look at this again as the results of the DOAJ Publisher’s Spring Survey have just come out.

This survey included a question about long-term preservation and availability: Were the publishers involved or interested in schemes for achieving long-term access? Of the 942 bodies answering the question only 99 responded positively. 20 of these were already involved in LOCKSS and others cited were CLOCKSS, Portico, PMC and SABER (though low numbers for each of these). Other long-term access schemes mentioned, more vaguely, were journal archives and repositories.

One of the ‘key actions’ recommended by the Finch Report was to develop the Open Access Journal infrastructure, including digital preservation. The report noted that: “we are still some way from a position where there are robust arrangements in place for the long term preservation of digital copies of all issues of all journal titles so that they remain accessible for future generations“.

De Montfort University’s LOCKSS service is a part of that Open Access journal preservation effort. Each institution will have its own collection development policy for building its journal archive, but at DMU 194 DOAJ listed journals have been selected for local preservation. That figure represents 25.9% of the the journals selected, but only 2% of the titles listed in the DOAJ.

The local collection development policy is largely driven by subject librarians. From our holdings it can be seen that there is a desire to assure our community that access to articles in DOAJ Journals can be relied upon for the long-term. We are still waiting for many of the publishers, however, to take up their side of this challenge.


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Login to library resources change: Summer 2013

The process of logging into library resources like Science Direct has recently changed. You are now asked to login with a lower case version of your username. If you always used to type in a lowercase username, then this change will make no difference to you, but that is not the case for everyone. The change is small and the differences subtle, but worth exploring.

Before the change you could login as, say,  ‘fbloggs123’ or ‘FBloggs123’ and the form itself did not object. Behind the scenes the username gets encrypted before being sent on the the Service Provider (e.g. Elsevier who run Science Direct). It was kind of nice not to have to remember exactly how you typed in the username last time, the system would still let you in, but once in you might find disadvantages:

  1. Any Saved Searches, Alerts or other Personalised Features made for one encrypted form of you username would not be present for you, and it would not be clear why.
  2. The Service Provider would not know how many individuals were using their service. This may affect their pricing structure and in turn the range of services available to the university.

Both of these disadvantages were removed by having the form insist on lower case user names. However, there have been reports of negative consequences too. So here are ways of getting round them:

Browser insisting on upper case form of Username

Most users reporting this issue have been using Firefox. It appears that Firefox offers to remember usernames for some sites and even if you type in a lower case username will automatically replace your input with its stored uppercase form. The way round this is to delete the stored username in the browser:

  1. Go to the Options item on the Tools menu;
  2. Select the Security tab;
  3. Check out the Exceptions button on the ‘Remember passwords for sites’ section;
  4. Delete any lines with uppercase usernames where these might have caused problems.

Missing profile in RefWorks

If a profile in RefWorks has been created for the uppercase version of your username, this will not be available if you login with the lower case form. It does not mean that the collected references are lost, just that you can’t connect to them. It will require assistance from RefWorks to be re-united with your references. You can call the library for help with this or contact RefWorks directly, email them at support@refworks.com.

Other missing alerts, searches and profiles

You may have other alerts, saved searches or personalisation features on sites like Scopus, Zetoc or Digimap. The best option here would be to contact the library, email justask@dmu.ac.uk, and we will either raise a call for you or put you in touch with the relevant helpdesk to transfer such features to your new profile on each site.


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Towards a Vision of Excellence in Diversity #1

For my sins I get to be the DMU UNISON Representative on the University’s Equality and Diversity Committee. This week I was involved in helping the group plan its strategy, considering what it was hoping to achieve and how it might get there. Obviously we are not the only institution thinking about such issues, so I was interested to read a blog post in the Inclusion Solution site which addressed the same discussion, though in more exuberantly american tones.

What would it look like?

What would a university look like if it aimed for and achieved excellence in equality and diversity? One example that came to my mind was how the various sporting groups in the university might have responded to this year’s theme of ‘Racism and Sport‘ for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Sporting groups might meet to talk through how they could respond to this theme; asking themselves if they were missing a trick by not being as diverse as they could be. March is also the month for the Varsity series of local matches with the neighbouring university, so there would be an opportunity for bringing this theme to the attention of a wide range of spectators too.

How would we get there?

Neither of the above quite happened, as far as I know, in 2013. What was missing was an activist group prepared and equipped to prompt things like that into being. You do not need many activists to achieve stuff like this, but they do need to be well informed and well connected. In fact, the Equality and Diversity Committee is well placed to take on this role. It includes people with an interest in this area, spans various parts of the institution, has expertise and connections. Granted, everyone involved also has ‘a day job’ to distract them, but that could also prove a strength if each took on the role of being a Diversity Champion wherever they went.

How far have we got?

There are already examples where glimpses of this vision can be seen. Events like the Religion and Belief Showcase in January 2013 did not just happen, but also set up or refined a template for further events. There are other things going on that I would like to highlight in further posts. In the mean time I would be interested in hearing of your visions of what an institution excellent in celebrating diversity would look like.

What do you think?

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Workflow for adding new content to LOCKSS

Every few weeks LOCKSS Alliance members receive a message informing them of the release of the latest batch of Archival Units (mostly journal volumes). At De Montfort University we do not respond immediately, but prefer to wait for the LOCKSS website’s new page to be updated. From the website we download the latest batch details as a spreadsheet. For example, in the first week of March we are working on this spreadsheet with 309 New Volumes. It is a list that usually contains journals to which we are anxious to ensure continuing access, and others to which we either have no preservation rights or no such anxiety.

There are plans for adding new features to LOCKSS in the Summer of 2013 to make activating new content easier. For now, our workflow is as follows:

To sort the LOCKSS list we look to our Electronic Journals A-Z and OpenURL Resolver service SFX, from ExLibris, for a list of all our live holdings. We export all this data into Excel and sort it by ISSN number. Large sections of this list can be ‘pruned’ to remove packages where there are no preservation rights, for example: Proquest, EBSCO, etc.

With the SFX list down to a manageable size, we can use the spreadsheet’s VLOOKUP function to merge data from the two files. We create a new column in the LOCKSS list and match in the threshold data from SFX. Where there is no imported threshold we can delete rows in the LOCKSS list as we would have no rights or interest in these. If the list is short enough, it is worth looking over these matches and removing lines where the LOCKSS AU is outside the subscription threshold range.

Now you could use this list to activate AUs in LOCKSS, but at DMU we go for a further stage and involve subject librarians in the selection stage. The amended list is passed on to them for checking. Only when it has been reviewed and returned do we begin activating the new AUs in LOCKSS.

Once a month, at least, we update SFX, using its ‘dataloader’ with the collected LOCKSS journals and thresholds. It is only at this point that all the effort put into preserving electronic journal content is visible to our users.

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Assessing the coverage by LOCKSS of Free Electronic Journals

LOCKSS, as a electronic journal digital preservation system, covers subscribed and freely available journals. I have been looking at the balance of activated titles at De Montfort University and found about 43% to be subscribed titles and 27% to be journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.
A further category of journals would be those available without charge, but not included in the DOAJ. These would be included in the SFX Free ejournals target. However there might be an overlap between this target and the DOAJ.

Num. of Titles Unique Title Overlap % Unique Titles % Title Overlap
Set 1 676 557 119 82.4 17.6
LOCKSS 676 557 119 82.4 17.6
Set 2 20479 20360 119 99.4 0.6
Free E- Journals 20479 20360 119 99.4 0.6

The overlap between LOCKSS and DOAJ/Free Ejournals combined in 276 titles or 40.8%.

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Assessing the coverage by LOCKSS of subscription journals

A previous post looked at the count of Open Access journals being preserved in the De  Montfort University LOCKSS service. The figure came out as 27% of LOCKSS titles being represented in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

It may be worth looking at the figures for subscribed journals as well. To do this I used the same SFX Collection Tool to look at the overlap between activated LOCKSS titles and packages of journals where a subscription is required.

Num. of Titles Unique Title Overlap % Unique Titles % Title Overlap
Set 1 676 384 292 56.8 43.2
LOCKSS 676 384 292 56.8 43.2
Set 2 763 471 292 61.7 38.3
BMJ Journals Online Archive 6 2 4 33.3 66.7
Edinburgh University Press 3 0 3 0.0 100.0
Emerald Current 62 43 19 69.4 30.6
Emerald Management Xtra 111 162 77 85 47.5 52.5
Highwire Press American Association for Cancer Research 3 1 2 33.3 66.7
Highwire Press American Association of Immunologists 1 1 0 100.0 0.0
Highwire Press American Speech Language Hearing Association 6 6 0 100.0 0.0
Highwire Press Journals 28 13 15 46.4 53.6
Highwire Press University of Wisconsin Press 1 1 0 100.0 0.0
MetaPress Journals 17 13 4 76.5 23.5
Miscellaneous Ejournals 106 105 1 99.1 0.9
Oxford University Press Journals 51 11 40 21.6 78.4
Portland Press 2 1 1 50.0 50.0
SAGE Communication Studies Full Text Collection 19 0 19 0.0 100.0
SAGE Complete 114 29 85 25.4 74.6
Springer Complete Collection 94 93 1 98.9 1.1
Taylor & Francis Journals Complete 142 106 36 74.6 25.4

In Set 1 there are the 676 titles archived in LOCKSS and a reported 43.2% match between these and the titles collected from a variety of publishers in set 2. The second set does not list all the subscriptions taken at DMU, so one should be wary of concluding that 38.3% of such material is archived in LOCKSS. The main interest in this report is in the lines for each publisher and their coverage in LOCKSS.

  • Title coverage is complete for Edinburgh University Press and the Sage Communication Studies package.
  • Title coverage is at 50% or over for BMJ, Emerald Management Xtra, American Association for Cancer Research, Highwire Press, OUP, Portland Press and Sage Complete.
  • Title coverage is low for Miscellaneous Ejournals and Springer.

It should be recognized that just because a title appears in LOCKSS, it does not mean that every relevant article has been archived. There is further work to be done on examining the range of extent of LOCKSS Archival Units for each selected title.

There are also more titles in LOCKSS not included in this or the DOAJ report, so these will still need to be identified before a full picture of LOCKSS coverage at DMU can be determined.


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Assessing the coverage by LOCKSS of open access journals

At DMU we have an electronic journal digital preservation system using LOCKSS and an OpenURL Resolver using SFX that makes information available to people on which journal they can get access to and from where. We are the first university in the UK, at least, to get these two services talking to each other.

This has an advantage for staff and students at the university who can see and use the preserved journal articles when they are needed. I also gives us the chance to start assessing how running the LOCKSS service is helping to guarantee continuing access to the journals we value in the university.

For example, we can compare the Open Access journals recognised in the Directory of Open Access journals (DOAJ) with our local holdings in LOCKSS. SFX has a Collection Tool that enables this.

Of the 676 journal titles represented in LOCKSS at DMU 188 or 27% are journals in the DOAJ. More than a quarter of the journals being collected and preserved in LOCKSS are open access journals.

On the other side, of the 8524 journals in the DOAJ, that same 188 represents 2.2% of the journals. That covers the actual preservation work we are doing with this set of journals. The potential is likely to be higher, but we do only select the journals of interest to the mission of the university. If we were to attempt the preservation of DOAJ journals without discrimination we would find that 559 or 6.4% of journals could be covered.

This does look like at interesting area for further investigation. I can see a further blog post is called for taking this farther.

Posted in Digital Preservation | 1 Comment

Nested lists in XHTML

There are lots of examples across the Internet explaining how to use CSS to number items on a list. It is certainly worth trying this technique, rather than hard coding the numbers in, or using the now deprecated<start=”15″>, if only to make it easier when you need to remove items later on.

The numbering system I wanted to achieve did not seem to be used as an example anywhere else, so I am logging my solution here: a) in case it is useful to anyone else; b) so I don’t forget it myself.

What I wanted to achieve

0. First item

a. first sub-heading

b. second subheading

1. Second item

a. first sub-heading

b. second subheading

How I tagged the text

<ol class=”regulations”>
<li>The Department of Library Services (hereafter referred to as the Library) provides users with materials, services and facilities for learning, teaching and research purposes. The regulations are designed to ensure that such provision is made as effectively and fairly as possible and that the integrity of the library service is maintained. The regulations cover the conditions for admission and use of materials and facilities, the prohibition of inappropriate activities and the penalties for infringement.</li>

<li>These regulations have the been approved by the Academic Board and have the support of the Governing Body of the University. They are subject to review from time to time.</li>

How I set the CSS

/* Library Regulations formatting */
counter-reset: heading -1;
.regulations ol
counter-reset: item ;
margin: 1em;
padding: .3em;
.regulations li
display: block;
margin: .5em 0;
padding-left: 2em;
.regulations li::before
margin-left: -2em;
margin-right: .5em;
text-align: center;
counter-increment: heading;
content: counter(heading) “.”;
.regulations ol li::before
margin-left: -2em;
margin-right: .5em;
text-align: center;
counter-increment: item;
content: counter(item, lower-alpha) “.”;

How it works

I am using the counter technique, as explained on numerous sites like: Zibaldone and W3schools. The ‘counter-reset: heading -1;’ reset the counter for ‘heading’ to the number below zero, so that when the ‘regulations class is encountered the count will increment to zero.

I use: ‘counter-reset: item ;’ to reset the counter for ‘item’ to the default number which is already zero. There are some other formatting instructions in ‘.regulations ol’ and ‘.regulations li’, the most important of these is the ‘display: block;’.

In ‘.regulations li::before’ I have:

counter-increment: heading;
content: counter(heading) “.”;

These two lines add one to the Headings numbering sequence and display the result, followed by a ‘.’.

To get the sub-headings to display preceded by a count using lower case alpha letters (a,b,c, etc.) I use:

counter-increment: item;
content: counter(item, lower-alpha) “.”;


.regulations ol li::before


You can, for the moment, see the finished result on the Library Regulations page on the DMU Library website. However, plans are afoot to revise and re-publish these regulations.

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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.

Posted in Digital Preservation, OpenURL | Comments Off on Towards a SMART Goal for LOCKSS

Prospects for expanding LOCKSS coverage of electronic journals

After just a few weeks of exposing the content collected in the university’s LOCKSS electronic journal digital preservation system it is interesting to look at the potential impact of this service. One way of doing this would be to check on the logs of SFX, the system we use to create our journals A-Z list and resolve openURL requests. SFX works by generating an individualised menu for each request it receives: it matches the user’s request with information, not just about the journals title, but also the annual coverage of our subscriptions.
SFX has a query that finds the ‘Top target services shown in the SFX menu’. Over the 1-16 December 2012 period LOCKSS came out as the 16th most frequently offered optional menu option. It is heartening to see LOCKSS jumping straight in to the top 20.
Another way of looking at this is to calculate the frequency of occurrence, see earlier post. On this measure LOCKSS comes out as being relevant to 6.7% of the requests received by SFX.
It is not clear whether this figure is high or low. But the same report givers some hints about the prospects for the figure to grow over the coming year.

SFX Services more popular than LOCKSS

There are full text services more popular than LOCKSS. However, most of these are either aggregator services like EBSCOhost or Proquest, who do not really have an archiving responsibility for their content. The only publisher on the list is Elsevier’s Freedom Collection. This publisher, according to the Keeper’s Registry, has digital preservation arrangements with other agencies.

SFX Services about as popular as LOCKSS

LOCKSS showed up on 835 of the menus generated in early December. There are a group of full text services between 100 and 1000 which I am calling ‘as popular’ as LOCKSS. They include direct publishers like Emerald and Wiley, and indirect groupings of publishers like the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) the free journals in Pubmed. There are prospects for growing the relevance of LOCKSS with this mid-range group of publishers. For example, at present only a few Taylor and Francis journals (and only a few years for each journal) are archived by LOCKSS, but this is likely to grow, even in the next 12 months. There are publishers producing journals that we care about either because we subscribe directly to them, or via open access gold publishing contribute to them.

The long tail of smaller publishers

There is a further group of SFX services appearing on 1-100 menus generated for the selected period. Some of these are for open access publishers that might already overlap with services mentioned earlier: DOAJ and Pubmed. Others are for publishers where we only have a few subscriptions, like MIT Press.

Expanding coverage

As new publishers make content available to LOCKSS the relevance of the material collected is likely to to grow for members of the university. Disk-space requirements are going to grow at a similar pace. It is only just becoming possible to visualise the part the LOCKSS may play in guaranteeing the security of access to the journals relied upon for teaching and research in the university. To really expand beyond the 10% mark we may have to look at supporting other digital preservation agencies, like CLOCKSS, to avoid the risk of having all our eggs in one basket.

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