Re: preservation vs. Preservation

From: Steve Hitchcock <>
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2006 16:26:53 +0000

There is a project 'by the proponents of OA or the developers of OA
softwares'. It's called Preserv, funded by JISC

Simply, we are working with EPrints developers, IR content providers and
preservation service providers (BL, TNA) to investigate and test features
that could be added to EPrints to enable preservation services.

We are not aiming to *do* preservation in EPrints, but to provide
interfaces to a range of preservation services that might offer different
cost models. At the EPrints level this is largely a technical issue, and
concerns generating, documenting and disseminating metadata for any
activity that takes place in the IR that the preservation services need to
know about to provide the specified service.

The target for these preservation services is not OA, but is the content of
IRs. EPrints was created to build IRs, and is principally focussed on
supporting OA content. IRs are changing, however, and the range of content
may not be just OA. If the content of IRs turns out to be OA that's fine
and Stevan's arguments about preservation may or not apply, but ultimately
decisions about preserving the materials in IRs have to be made by the
institutions for their own reasons. Acting for Preserv, and looking at the
wider picture, we intend to make recommendations, and argue for them to be
adopted by EPrints and other IR softwares, to provide facility for
institutions to arrange for preservation of any or all content they admit
to their IRs, should they wish, without any detriment to OA or the process
of content-building for the IRs.

Steve Hitchcock
Preserv Project Manager
IAM Group, School of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 3256 Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865

At 14:01 03/03/2006, C.Oppenheim wrote:
>Lorcan, simply talking to preservation experts to make sure that the
>necessary legal and technical environment, including appropriate metadata,
>was in place to allow for Preservation activities to take place without
>formality. To the best of my knowledge, these issues have not been looked
>at by the proponents of OA or the developers of OA softwares.
>Professor Charles Oppenheim
>Department of Information Science
>Loughborough University
>Leics LE11 3TU
>Tel 01509-223065
>Fax 01509-223053
>e mail
>----- Original Message ----- From: "Dempsey,Lorcan" <>
>To: "C.Oppenheim" <>; <LIS-ELIB_at_JISCMAIL.AC.UK>
>Sent: Friday, March 03, 2006 1:58 PM
>Subject: RE: preservation vs. Preservation
>What would addressing the long-term problem from the start mean in
>Lorcan Dempsey []
>OCLC Research []
>-----Original Message-----
>From: JISC Electronic Libraries Programme
>[mailto:LIS-ELIB_at_JISCMAIL.AC.UK] On Behalf Of C.Oppenheim
>Sent: Friday, March 03, 2006 8:54 AM
>Subject: Re: preservation vs. Preservation
>Preservation with a capital P is an important function for scholarly
>organisations, and to promote OA whilst taking no account of the needs
>of Preservation is being short-sighted. It would be so much better if
>OA initiatives took Preservation issues on board from the start and did
>not take the approach "don't let's worry about that because that's not
>the priority for OA and it's a problem for a future generation to deal
>I draw an analogy with power generation. Proponents of nuclear power
>say "we have a looming energy crisis; nuclear power is a solution that
>is available now, does not increase greenhouse gases,, and should be
>When challenged about long-term storage and disposal of waste, their
>attitude is "let future generations deal with that problem.". I don't
>find that approach at all convincing.
>Please can the long-term problems be addressed from the start?
>Professor Charles Oppenheim
>Department of Information Science
>Loughborough University
>Leics LE11 3TU
>Tel 01509-223065
>Fax 01509-223053
>e mail
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Stevan Harnad" <harnad_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
>Sent: Friday, March 03, 2006 1:05 PM
>Subject: preservation vs. Preservation
>>This is perhaps a good juncture at which to make it explicit that
>>is "small-p preservation" and "large-P Preservation." Of course GNU
>>like everyone else (including ArXiv since way back in 1991) is doing
>>small-p preservation, and will continue to do so: Open Access is for
>>sake of *immediate* access, today, tomorrow, and into the future --
>>this, in turn, is for the sake of maximising immediate usage and
>>today, tomorrow, and into the future. Hence small-p preservation is a
>>necessary means to that end.
>>But big-P Preservation, in contrast, is Preservation as an end in
>>as the motivation for archiving in the first place; or as a pressing
>>for ephemeral or fragile "born-digital" contents; or as a
>>for content-providers (journal-providers) or content-purchasers
>>(subscribing libraries) or content-preservers (deposit/record
>>who need to ensure the perennity of their sold/purchased product.
>>So it is absurd to imagine (and for that reason needs to be stated
>>explicitly, again and again, even though it is patently obvious) that
>>Eprints is either oblivious to small-p preservation or that its
>>are one bit more or less likely to vanish tomorrow than any other
>>digital contents that are being conscientiously preserved and migrated
>>upgraded today, keeping up with the ongoing developments in the means
>>of preservation.
>>The difference between preservation and Preservation is that
>>not an end in itself, it is a means to an end (which is immediate,
>>access-provision and usage), whereas Preservation is an end in itself.
>>Why is it so important to make it crystal clear that Eprints and OA
>>*not* for Preservation projects? that their primary motivation is
>>to ensure the longevity of digital contents (even though Eprints and
>>*do* provide longevity, and do keep up with whatever developments
>>in the means of long-term preservation of their contents)?
>>Because OA's target contents are 85% missing! The pressing problem of
>>absent content cannot be its Preservation! Eighty-five percent of the
>>million articles published annually in the world's 24,000 journals are
>>not being self-archived today (and, a fortiori, were not self-archived
>>yesterday, or the month/year/decade before). What has been -- and
>>continues to be -- lost, as a consequence of this, is not the contents
>>in question (for they are being Preserved in their proprietary-product
>>version, by their producers [publishers] along with their purchasers
>>What has been (and continues to be) lost for the 85% of annual OA
>>content that has not been (and is not being) self-archived, is
>>*usage*, and *impact*. That is the true motivation for Eprints and OA
>>self-archiving. And (listen carefully, because this is the gist of
>>that content will *never* be self-archived by its authors for the sake
>>of Preservation, because it *need not be*: its Preservation is already
>>in other hands than its authors (or its authors' institutions), as it
>>always was, and for the foreseeable future will continue to be. The
>>mission of authors and their institutions was not, is not, and should
>>not have to be the Preservation of their own published journal article
>>output [but see Note below**].
>>Nor, by the same token, is it the mission or motivation of authors'
>>institutions to create Institutional Repositories (IRs) for the
>>Preservation of their own published journal article output. If there
>>no better reason for creating OA IRs today than the Preservation of
>>own journal article output, then there is no reason for institutions
>>create OA IRs today, and no reason for their authors to self-archive.
>>is a logical, empirical and practical fact, stated (recall, again) at
>>historical moment when 85% of OA target content is still missing, even
>>though it is overdue, even though its self-archiving has been feasible
>>for years, and even though its continuing absence entails that 85%
>>of maximised research usage and impact (i.e., impact from usage by all
>>would-be users rather than only those whose institutions can afford
>>access) continues to be lost.
>>To wrongly identify the mission or motivation of Eprints or OA
>>with the need to Preserve digital contents is to provide yet another
>>reason for authors *not* to self-archive. Because Preservation is
>>reason at all (for OA self-archiving).
>>And to subsume the urgent mission of finding a way to generate that
>>missing 85% of OA target content under the murky mission of the
>>Preservation of generic digital content is simply to miss the point
>>of OA self-archiving altogether, and to imagine that it is merely
>>yet another instance of Preservation-Archiving -- whose mission and
>>motivation, to repeat, yet again, is not immediate, urgent,
>>content-provision, access-provision, and usage/impact-maximisation,
>>but long-term content-Preservation, as an end in itself.
>>So please, let us reassure those who might be fussed about it, that
>>the contents of OA IRs like Eprints can and will continue to be
>>preserved, but that to be Preserved is not their purpose, nor the
>>purpose of self-archiving: immediate and ongoing access-provision
>>and usage/impact-maximisation is their purpose. And that purpose is
>>currently not being met -- not because the OA contents are at risk of
>>being preserved today, but because (85% of) the OA contents are at a
>>*certainty* of not being *provided* today.
>>The OA problem, in other words, is not Preservation tomorrow, but
>>today. Hitching today's Provision problem to tomorrow's Preservation
>>is yet another recipe for prolonging the non-Provision of 85% of OA's
>>What is needed for the provision of the missing 85% of OA's target
>>is author motivation; and the empirical findings on how OA enhances
>>and impact go only part of the way toward engaging author motivation.
>>critical missing bit to ensure the provision of the missing content is
>>institutional OA self-archiving mandates, *not* the plugging in of OA
>>merely another plank in the institution's generic Preservation
>>I sense I am repeating myself -- but it appears to be needed,
>>for the conflation of the Preservation-archiving mission and the OA
>>access-provision mission just keeps recurring, deferring time, energy
>>and motivation from OA access-provision, which is Eprints' raison
>>[**Note: One last, somewhat subtler point, almost need not be stated,
>>it's probably better to make it explicit too, even though it is highly
>>premature and highly hypothetical: If and when it should ever
>transpire --
>>and there is as yet no sign at all that it will -- that 100% OA via
>>self-archiving, having been neared or reached, should cause radical
>>in the journal publishing system, forcing publishers to down-size into
>>becoming only peer-review service-providers and certifiers, rather
>>also being the analog and digital product access-providers, as they
>>now, thereby forcing them to off-load access-provision and archiving
>>onto their authors' institutions, *then*, and only if/when "then" ever
>>comes, authors' institutions will inherit the primary-content
>>mission, and not just the supplementary-content preservation mission.
>>But before that hypothetical contingency needs to be faced, there is
>>still the very real, unsolved problem of getting that missing 85% of
>>target content systematically self-archived. Let us not continue
>>that actuality by getting caught up in or deflected by hypothetical
>>Stevan Harnad
>>American Scientist Open Access Forum
Received on Fri Mar 03 2006 - 19:45:25 GMT

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