Reports & Publications

Tuesday 01 July 2008

Long-Term Preservation 2008

Author: Sarah Durrant, Red Sage Consulting
Co-funded by ALPSP and Portico
ISBN 0-907341-41-1 / 978-0-907341-41-3; 8 pages; pdf

The full findings of the survey, commissioned from Sarah Durrant of Red Sage Consulting, with co-funding from Portico and ALPSP, are now available as a free to download PDF.  

One of the most important issues facing publishers and their library customers is long-term preservation of digital content. More and more scholarly content is published electronically with an increasing amount 'born digital' with no print counterpart. This dramatic increase in electronic scholarly resources raises important questions about rights and responsibilities relating to long-term preservation.

Against this background, ALPSP undertook a survey of its members to enhance awareness of long-term digital preservation issues and to establish the nature and extent of strategies that they have planned. The full findings of the survey commissioned from Sarah Durrant of Red Sage Consulting, with co-funding from Portico and ALPSP, are now available as a free to download PDF.

Key Findings

  • The majority of ALPSP publishers who responded to the survey believe long-term preservation to be a critical issue: 91% either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "Long-term preservation is an issue which urgently needs to be addressed within the industry." 9% were neutral; no-one disagreed.
  • ALPSP publishers are strongly motivated to engage with preservation because of its critical importance to their customers, with over 90% of respondents citing this as a major motivating factor: a heartening response for those in the library community.
  • Although 68% of publishers reported understanding of preservation issues within their organisation to be either 'good' or 'reasonable', the survey also revealed a wide range of concerns suggesting an overall lack of confidence, at least for the present. The survey revealed a strong desire amongst almost all publishers for the development of 'best practice' and industry standards.
  • There is some confusion surrounding the nature and extent of publisher participation in long-term preservation schemes, with high numbers of respondents declaring their organisation to be participating in one or more initiatives and yet the schemes themselves reporting substantially lower numbers presently taking part.
  • Publisher views on who should take responsibility for long-term preservation also reveal some interesting contradictions: despite presently supporting a range of preservation schemes, a significant majority of publishers indicated they would in fact prefer other groups and institutions to take this responsibility on. National libraries in particular were a popular choice.
  • Finally, the survey revealed most publishers are clear about the distinction between ensuring long-term access and ensuring long-term preservation, with the majority believing they have clear responsibility for long-term access. A worryingly high number however admit to either not trusting their present strategy or not currently having any strategy to deliver here.

The survey of ALPSP publishers was undertaken in July 2008 comprising 14 questions designed to gather information and opinions from publishers concerning long-term preservation. The survey was sent to the 240 publisher members of ALPSP on 1 July 2008 and recipients were asked to respond by 31 July 2008. 68 publishers completed the survey (a response rate of just over 23%).

Funding of the survey
The Survey was co-funded by ALPSP and Portico. The detailed responses from participating publishers were not shared outside the Association.


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