smaller libraries to preserve access to the e-journals to which they subscribe.
LOCKSS uses caching not for temporary storage, but for permanently keeping copies of
electronic journals for preservation purposes. As more and more libraries use LOCKSS, a
distributed preservation network for electronic journals is built.
At present, experts in the field discuss two viable approaches for setting up mechanisms
that ensure availability of electronic cultural resources also in the future.These approaches
are bound to the existing regulatory frameworks in different countries:
In countries with a national deposit law, setting up general rules that regulate archiving
and preservation responsibility on a general level, in form of an e-deposit legislation
is considered the viable approach.
In countries without a national deposit law, the agreement-based approach prevails.
Here, libraries and archiving institutions clarify responsibilities at an institutional
level, and negotiate individual agreements with content owners.
The first approach is currently pursued by Royal Library, the National Library of
Sweden. Although there is no e-deposit system in place yet, the National Library actively
lobbies at government level to put such a system in place.The objective is to extend the
current deposit law also to electronic materials, to have the legal basis to collect, archive, and
preserve born-digital cultural resources.
In comparison, the Mellon Foundation, USA takes the second approach. Based on the
experience so far, that the debate on archiving electronic material was too broad to bear any
fruit, the Mellon Foundation changed its strategies and decided to fund several pilot
projects where libraries will negotiate individual rights agreements with specific journal
publishers.The outcome of these projects will be both a set of rights agreements that
regulate the copyright issues for a particular type of journal or e-publication, and a model
that describes at a generical level, the legal, economic and organisational conditions under
which archiving of electronic material occurs. In a second project phase, these models will
then be implemented.
This shift from a broad discussion to very concrete projects on how to share the responsi-
bility for future archiving of electronic material, already has changed the tenor focus of
discussion dramatically. As Don Waters, Programme Officer, Mellon Foundation, USA,
explains:"Now that these projects are under way, it seems to me that the level of discussion
is very different from what it was before. Instead of `I am responsible, you are responsible'-
talks, now it is very concrete.We are talking about trigger events, i.e. what are the events
that will enable a library to assert its way to be an archive for an electronic journal."
(DigiCULT Interview, June 5, 2001) These trigger events are "worst case scenarios" that
might threaten the existence of an electronic publication, for example, if the company or
the journal is sold, or if publishing company and journal cease to exist. In such cases, a
library would take over.
As voluntary responsibility is considered too risky, there is an urgent need to draft a legal
framework that regulates the responsibility of archiving and preserving electronic material.
Such regulations need to satisfy both authors and publishers as content rights holders, and
the archival institutions that represent the interests of the users.