Registration open for “Taking the Long View” workshop

KE-BrandWe are pleased to announce that registration is now open for our “Taking the Long View” workshop arranged as part of the Keepers Extra project.  Registration is free but places are limited: if you would like to join us, please register by June 30th.


Taking the Long View: Factoring Preservation and Continuing Access into your Library Workflow

A One-Day Workshop led by EDINA

July 10th 2015

National Rail Museum, York

With the transition from print to digital publishing, it is no longer libraries but publishers who provide access to online e-journals. Librarians now need to regularly review holdings and subscriptions to ensure appropriate access and optimal use of financial resources. Historically, preservation was an incidental by-product of the access role undertaken by libraries. Today, the stewardship that underpins long-term access for the future is increasingly undertaken by external agencies such as Portico and CLOCKSS. It can thus be difficult for librarians to ensure that their communities will have stable, long term access to materials in perpetuity: this lack of clarity can have significant consequences for decisions around print rationalisation, cancellation, and budget allocation.

This knowledge exchange workshop will explore how librarians can plan for long-term access to journals. Participants will have an opportunity to share stories on how their institutions conduct annual reviews, print rationalisation exercises and other related processes, and there will be discussion of how EDINA services such as the Keepers Registry and SUNCAT can assist in these workflows.

This event is free but places are limited.

Coffee and Registration: 10.30 am

Start: 11.00 am

Close: 15.30 pm

The National Railway Museum is conveniently placed near to York railway station. More details about the venue and arrival can be found here:

For further information please contact


[Keepers Extra] Research: Keepers Extra Personas (Part Two)

KE-BrandIn a recent post, we introduced two of the four personas that have emerged through the consultation work we have been doing with libraries and archiving agencies. The consultation was an opportunity to learn about our users and their jobs, the kinds of priorities they have and where they have to and want to focus their resources.   We are creating personas by identifying common themes and positions: as we explained, they do not represent real individuals, who may have attributes of multiple personas or who may not conform to any, but rather they are simplified ‘types’ to help us keep our users at the forefront of our thoughts as we develop the registry and the Keepers Extra project. This post introduces the remaining two personas we are working with.

cross checker smallThe Cross Checker


“I need to confirm the details�

 This persona is task-oriented and typically works in a ‘publisher relations’ role that may include checking licences, negotiation of subscriptions, or monitoring publisher behaviour for accreditation or authentication. Their working contexts and priorities can vary quite dramatically but for a variety of reasons they need to cross check information from publishers and to double check that preservation activity is taking place as described. They typically think of the archiving agencies as ‘insurance policies’ and are not invested in the idea of preservation, seeing it as someone else’s responsibility. This persona typically discovered the Keepers Registry through word of mouth and now uses it regularly as part of their workflow, searching on a publisher basis and getting enough information to satisfy their requirements.
The Collection Analyst 

“I want control over how I filter and sort the data.�

 Working with large digital collections, typically in an archiving agency, this persona is concerned with monitoring preservation coverage for a large number of titles.  They have multiple responsibilities which include reviewing and reporting on their own collection, developing collections, or finding new markets/publishers, and they typically use holdings data in multiple workflows. Their priority is to ensure the integrity of their collection, identifying where there are gaps in their holdings that could be filled or whether there journals relevant to their collection priorities that are ‘at risk of loss’.  The Collection Analyst has plenty of ideas about how they could use the data, and would like to be able to arrange it according to their own parameters of interest, which might be subject-specific, geographical, historical or otherwise.  They understand the Keepers Registry and the issues around standardisation of data.


[Keepers Extra] Keeper Agency Consultation: Common Themes

KE-BrandAs part of the initial research for the Keepers Extra project we have been speaking to archiving agencies about their use of the Keepers Registry and about the global digital preservation landscape more generally. Several common themes have emerged from these discussions.  We were delighted to hear that the Keepers Registry is highly regarded among the Keeper agencies and potential Keepers, and viewed as an important service and a way to increase the visibility of work in the field of digital preservation. There is wide recognition that the Keepers Registry occupies a unique position in having established productive working relationships with many major archiving agencies, and that this is a positive position from which to facilitate communication and collaboration.

There was also broad consensus on the need for more discussion between the Keepers, particularly around the areas of standardisation of data and tackling the long tail. Many of the Keeper agencies wish to use the Keepers Registry in order to analyse gaps and overlaps in what is being preserved. For some, this would be a way of analysing their own collections with a view to working at the title level to complete runs of particular journals. For others, it would offer a way to identify material ‘at risk of loss’ and therefore a way to prioritise publishers or titles for preservation. In both cases, doing such analyses quickly and efficiently depends on being able to access easily comparable data, so a better standardisation of data would be very helpful. This would also assist the sharing of data and impact on the ways in which an API could be used to integrate the Keepers Registry information into other systems and processes.

A further common theme was the challenge of preserving the ‘long tail’ of e-journals produced by small publishers and bodies such as academic societies or university departments. The key issues here are funding, scalability (or lack thereof), and division of labour. Reaching out to small publishers takes a lot of resources, human and financial, so this work is expensive. For every publisher that an agency works with, there are negotiations around a contract and costs around setting up technology and establishing protocols. If that publisher produces 300 journals, there is an economy of scale that justifies the cost. However, if that publisher produces only one journal, it suddenly becomes a very expensive process indeed. In such a context, having multiple agencies spend those resources on the same material seems illogical, yet there is no established way for agencies to cooperate to ensure as broad a coverage as possible. So there seem to be two potential ways of approaching this challenge: on the one hand finding ways to scale up the work and, on the other, finding ways to meet or lower the costs.


[Keepers Extra] Research: Keepers Extra Personas (Part One)

KE-BrandThroughout the last two months we have been engaged in consultation work with libraries and archiving agencies. As well as getting feedback on the registry and on our project plans, we have been using this opportunity to learn more about the workflows, decisions and challenges that face the people who use Keepers Registry. Sifting through these interviews for common themes and concerns, we are in the process of developing a set of personas that will guide development of the registry and the directions of the Keepers Extra project. Personas do not represent real individuals, who may have attributes of multiple personas or who may not conform to any, but rather they are simplified ‘types’ which we can keep in mind as we work to ensure we are meet the needs of our different users.  This post introduces two of the four key personas that we have identified.

The Trouble Shooter



“I don’t have time to figure out how to use new tools�


This persona has a variety of responsibilities, typically working as part of a small team and often with comparatively few resources. Their job involves dealing with queries, working with others to make decisions about subscriptions and cancellations, maintaining data about their e-journal holdings and library systems, and responding to issues and challenges as they arise. The key priority of this persona is ensuring access and making their collections as discoverable and easy to use as possible. The trouble-shooter researches post cancellation access when they want to make decisions about cancelling particular titles, as part of an annual review in the summer months, or when they want to withdraw print. They currently have to check several sources to find data on holdings, licences and preservation, and they sometimes require input from agents and/or publishers.  They would like to have a more efficient way of analysing their collections and researching titles, but struggle to make time to research potential services and tools.

The Strategist


“I wish all these systems would speak to one another more effectively� 


At a senior managerial level, this persona has a broad awareness of current debates in the library and information sector and of the issues involved in digital collections management and preservation. They have responsibility for a team and for oversight of development projects and annual reviews, although typically they will be delegating research and administrative tasks. Their priorities are operational, typically around the smooth functioning of library workflows and systems integration, and they have the authority to implement change and the resources to develop projects. The Strategist recognises the importance of being able to guarantee perpetual access to research and learning communities, and they understand the risks in relying on publishers for preservation.  They typically know of the Keepers Registry and see its value, although not necessarily how it could fit into regular workflows.  They would be keen to support archiving initiatives and would like to be able to confidently assure their stakeholders of post cancellation access. However, they typically feel there are other more pressing priorities at their institution and they may not have considered the kinds of strategic or collaborative action that could be taken.

Both the Trouble-Shooter and the Strategist personas have emerged from our library consultations. In a future post, we will introduce the personas emerging from our other research exercises.


[Keepers Extra] Issues and terms: Ingest processes and ‘in progress’

KE-BrandAs we discussed in a previous post, the Keepers Registry team are often asked about the terminology used to report the extent of archiving done by the Keeper agencies. As part of the Keepers Extra project, we are taking time to review our terms and discuss them with users and the Keeper agencies. This post focuses on the term ‘in progress’ as it appears in the Keepers Registry reports.

The Keepers Registry service helps users search for a particular e-journal title in their collection and discover the Keeper agency holdings for that title. The holdings statements can be quite varied, reflecting the various formats in which the data is held by the Keepers and passed to EDINA. While material that has been fully ingested is described as ‘preserved’ and usually listed in volumes or issues, users will frequently come across the term ‘in progress’: this indicates that the Keeper agency listed is the process of acquiring or ingesting the holdings.

In practice the ingest processes of the various Keeper agencies vary considerably and can depend on collection priorities, technological requirements and platforms. A national library operating an electronic legal deposit system, for example, has a quite different approach to an agency that must negotiate with publishers, or a collection policy that is driven by the requirements of member libraries. The speed of ingest can therefore vary significantly.  This means that ‘in progress’ could indicate anything from an agency being in initial negotiations with publishers, to an agency holding data in a raw format, to an almost completely preserved collection.

Unlike the ‘preserved’ reports, ‘in progress’ does not necessarily give a sense of the range of volumes or issues held. Therefore when users compare between agencies and see that parts of a journal are preserved by one agency, and another has the same journal ‘in progress’,  there is no way to see if the material in progress extends the range  preserved or duplicates it. The term indicates only that an agency is making a commitment to hold that title, not the details of contents, nor that it is yet securely held. The question therefore arises of whether this is sufficient information for our users, who may be making decisions about cancellations or withdrawal based on this evidence.

As part of Keepers Extra, over the next year, we will be considering how we might standardise and alter our holdings statements to make them as transparent and as useful as possible.


[Keepers Extra] Issues and terms: archived or preserved?

KE-BrandOne of the recurrent discussions around the Keepers Registry is about language: we are regularly asked about the terms used in the holdings statements and precisely what they indicate.  In fact, as this post explains, this is not merely a question of clarity and precision but rather of systems, resources and assumptions:  we need vocabulary which is both apt and consistent, but which must also accommodate the variations in processes and practices used by the archiving agencies. With Keepers Extra, we now have some time and space to think through these issues, which remain unresolved for the moment. This post, the first of a series focused on issues around the registry, discusses our current use of the term ‘preserved’.

In reporting the current extent of archiving, the Keepers Registry lists the titles and volumes that are held by the Keeper agencies as either ‘preserved’ or ‘in progress’. As we currently use these terms, ‘preserved’ means simply that the content has been ingested and ‘in progress’ indicates that a Keeper is either in discussion with a publisher about that content or in the process of setting up the infrastructure and workflows required for ingest. This means that in practice these terms can actually indicate content in different formats and at various stages of different ingest processes. As a result, users would need to do further research with the Keeper holding a title if they wanted to establish details such as file formats or the exact volumes and issues held for a title ‘in progress.’

The term ‘preserved’, moreover, has certain implications that may or may not be helpful. Some approaches transfer digital content upon ingest into specific data models and file formats for long-term preservation, others focus on collecting the bits and defer migration to the on-demand point in time when that effort is needed. There are approaches that front-load the costs of curation, but also those that utilise minimal treatment, focusing current resources on preserving greater quantities of content.

The Keepers Registry remains neutral on this debate.  We currently aggregate data from ten quite different archiving agencies, with different ingest methods. The Keepers Registry is valued for reporting on the activity of these agencies,  and it is important that the Keepers Registry does not favour one method over another. Our Keepers range from globally active preservation services to smaller discipline specific archives, and include a number of national libraries and University Library-led consortia services. Each operates with a distinctive mission and business model, different infrastructure, processes, and resources.  The forms in which we receive data are therefore varied, as are the formats in which the different Keepers store their content. At the outset, we deemed ‘preserved’ to be general enough to cover all of the different modes in which the Keepers hold their collections. However, we have had some discussions that highlighted it as a contentious phrase and have been considering the alternative phrase ‘archived’ instead.

The Keepers Extra project will allow us to consider language with users and reporting Keeper agencies. We can look at the merits of ‘preserved’ and ‘archived’. We will also be looking at other language requirements, for example around clarity of access conditions. Our intention is to convey  rich information appropriate to all our users’ needs and we will be considering this over the coming months as we consult further with librarians, archivists and researchers.


[Keepers Extra] Why a Keepers Extra project?

KE-BrandJisc have invested in Keepers Extra, a 2-year project to optimize the benefit of the Keepers Registry service to UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and other key stakeholders. Led by EDINA, Keepers Extra builds on the success of the Keepers Registry service, which provides easily accessible information about the archiving arrangements for electronic journals. 

We will be adding posts to this blog that discuss the Keepers Extra project, update the Keepers Registry community on progress, and discuss the themes raised in the project.  In this first introductory post, we consider the need and rationale for the Keepers Extra project.

The last decade has seen an explosive growth in on-line scholarly publishing. Rather than reading journals onsite at the library, researchers and students alike expect to access and consult papers and articles quickly and easily from their own computers. University libraries increasingly provide access to material hosted by publishers, paying subscriptions for access to journals on-line rather than for printed back copies. These changes have had significant ramifications for libraries in terms of how their spaces and collections are used, fundamentally changing the priorities and collection management policies of some institutions. The rapid transformation to an electronic environment has had many benefits including faster and more flexible access to journal articles. However, it has also given rise to significant issues surrounding the longer term accessibility of scholarly material and these new e-journal publishing and subscription practices have implications on the library’s traditional role of stewardship. The consequences of these changes are not yet clear, but they raise many questions: when libraries pay for access rather than for an object, what happens when that access is halted? How does a researcher consult a ‘back copy’ when their library no longer subscribes? What happens when a title is transferred between publishers or when a publisher goes out of business? Publishers have not historically taken that role of stewardship and if libraries are no longer the collectors and custodians of the scholarly record, who is responsible for ensuring that the world’s knowledge is preserved for the future?

In 2011, analysis undertaken by the Keepers Registry team showed that of all the continuing resources assigned ISSNs, only around 20% was safely archived. That means that an astonishing 80% of contemporary scholarship published in e-journals is at risk of loss.

Launched in 2011 in partnership between EDINA and the ISSN International Centre, the Keepers Registry was designed to enable its users to see what scholarly e-journal content has been preserved, by whom and under what terms of access. The Keepers Registry aggregates metadata from participating archiving agencies and, using the ISSN-L as a unique identifier for journal titles, it serves as a showcase for the work of the Keepers, the archiving agencies undertaking the vitally important task of ensuring that the scholarly record is preserved for future generations. These include national libraries, research library consortia and not-for-profit initiatives such as Portico and CLOCKSS. In addition to revealing precisely which journals and volumes are safely stored, the Registry is helping us to understand what is not being archived.  By analysing the extent of archiving by usage, or by country of publication, we can begin to understand the extent of publications that remain at risk of loss.

Keepers Registry is becoming established as an important tool in library workflows, but the challenge of increasing preservation coverage remains, hence the need for Keepers Extra.

Keepers Extra is a community-driven project designed to build on the Registry and explore the challenges that it brings into focus. As well as enabling feature developments that will ensure the service is maximally useful to the library community and Keeper agencies, it will encourage new archiving agencies to join the Keepers community and lay the foundations for collaboration among key stakeholders both nationally and internationally. Strategically, Keepers Extra lets us explore how as a community we might work together to increase the preservation coverage of scholarly e-journals.