Digital Archiving Resources

E-Journal Archiving Metes and Bounds: A Survey of the Landscape


E-Journal Archiving Metes and Bounds: A Survey of the Landscape




This report discusses 12 different e-journal archiving efforts. It finds that individual libraries cannot fully preserve what should be archived on their own. Most libraries cannot get the licenses needed to archive what they want to. And while some e-journal archiving efforts have been made, most academic e-journals are not being archived at all. The report argues that libraries must make efforts to protect e-journals in order to meet the needs of researchers. It recommends that libraries work with publishers to create e-journal archiving programs and earn the rights necessary to archive e-journals. Libraries should collaborate about their efforts. They should create a database of existing e-journal archives, in order to better see the gaps in preservation. This information should be widely available online. The report calls for support of and lobbying from libraries and e-journal archives, particularly within the library and scholarly community.


This report summarizes a review of 12 e-journal archiving programs from the perspective of concerns expressed by directors of academic libraries in North America. It uses a methodology comparable to the art of surveying land by "metes and bounds" in the era before precise measures and calibrated instruments were available. It argues that current license arrangements are inadequate to protect a library's long-term interest in electronic journals, that individual libraries cannot address the preservation needs of e-journals on their own, that much scholarly e-literature is not covered by archiving arrangements, and that while e-journal archiving programs are becoming available, no comprehensive solution has emerged and large parts of e-literature go unprotected.

Table Of Contents

*About the Authors
*Executive Summary

*Why is E-Journal Archiving Such a Concern?
*The Shift to Electronic Publishing
*User Preferences for Online Journals
*Library Response
*A Gathering Momentum
*Metes and Bounds

*Library Directors' Concerns
*Sense of Urgency Resource Commitment and Competing *Priorities Need for Collective Response
*Cornell Survey of 12 E-Journal Archiving Initiatives
*General Characteristics
*Assessing E-Journal Archiving Programs
*Indicator 1: Mission and Mandate
*The Role of Legal Deposit in E-Journal Archiving
*The Role of Open Access Research Repositories in E-Journal Archiving
*Indicator 2: Rights and Responsibilities
*Indicator 3: Content Coverage
*Indicator 4: Minimal Services
*Short List of Minimal Services
*Indicator 5: Access Rights
*"Current Access" versus "Archiving"
*"Dark Archive" versus "Light Archive"
*Trigger Events
*Indicator 6: Organizational Viability
*Sources of Funding
*Stakeholder Buy-in
*Indicator 7: Network
*Getting and Keeping Informed
*Promising E-Journal Archiving Programs Not Included in this Report

Recommendations: Academic Libraries and Organizations
Recommendations: Publishers
Recommendations: E-Journal Archiving Programs

APPENDIX 1: Survey on E-Journal Archiving Programs
APPENDIX 2: Profiles of the 12 E-Journal Archiving Initiatives
APPENDIX 3: Publishers Included in Each Archiving Program (Except NLA PANDORA)
APPENDIX 4: Multiprogram Publishers


Kenney, Anne R.
Entlich, Richard
Hirtle, Peter B.
McGovern, Nancy Y.
Buckley, Ellie L.


Council on Library and Information Services




Polk, Victoria






Bibliographic Citation

Kenney, Anne R., Richard Entlich, Peter B. Hirtle, Nancy Y. McGovern, and Ellie L. Buckley. “E-Journal Archiving Metes and Bounds: A Survey of the Landscape.” Council on Library and Information Resources. September 2006. Publication 138. Accessed February 4, 2012.

Instructional Method

As a whole, this report presents a thorough and well-argued case for e-journal archiving programs. Archiving e-journals is an issue we will have to consider in our digital archive.





Kenney, Anne R. et al., “E-Journal Archiving Metes and Bounds: A Survey of the Landscape,” Digital Archiving Resources, accessed May 22, 2018,