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Harvard University Library Launches Experimental Archive for Electronic Journals

Harvard University Library Joins Forces with Key Publishers for Electronic Journal Archive

May 14. 2001.

The Harvard University Library and three major publishers of scholarly journals -- Blackwell Publishing, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and the University of Chicago Press -- have agreed to work together on a plan to develop an experimental archive for electronic journals. The preservation and the archiving of electronic journals -- which are increasingly "born digital" and for which, in many cases, no paper copies exist -- present unique, long-term challenges to librarians, publishers, and, ultimately, to the scholars and researchers who will seek access to them over time.

The new joint venture is sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which recently made a $145,000 grant to the Harvard University Library specifically for the planning of an electronic journal archive. The year-long planning effort will explore the issues related to electronic journal archiving and develop a plan for a repository at Harvard for electronic journal publications. The expected outcome is a proposal for an archive for these journals. Major areas to be studied during the year include:

establishing agreements between the partners regarding archival rights and responsibilities; formulating a technical implementation plan; defining methodologies that the archive would adopt to validate archival processes and assure the scholarly community that the journals for which the archive is responsible will be preserved and useable over time; and creating organizational and business models

Dale Flecker, Associate Director of the Harvard University Library for Planning and Systems said, "We are extremely fortunate to be able to work on this critical issue with three outstanding partners who produce a significant portion of the core journal literature (together producing over 900 electronic journals) and who have the willingness and the technical sophistication to address the difficult issues involved. Through this work, the Harvard University Library will gain substantial experience in handling a large volume of complex electronic journal data from a variety of sources. This experience will contribute to the growing body of knowledge in preserving electronic materials."

Blackwell Science, Blackwell Publishers, and Munksgaard are merging during 2001 to form Blackwell Publishing-the world's largest publisher on behalf of academic and professional societies. Today, the three companies cumulatively publish nearly 600 journals in partnership with over 500 societies. This year alone, they will produce over 600 text and reference books across a wide range of STM, social science, and humanities subject areas. Blackwell Publishing will consolidate the individual companies' reputations for high quality publishing of highly cited and reasonably priced peer-reviewed journals. The online versions of the majority of these journals are available on Blackwell's online delivery system, called Blackwell Synergy at

Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., is a global publisher of print and electronic products specializing in scientific, technical, and medical books and journals; professional and consumer books and subscription services; and textbooks and educational materials for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as lifelong learners. Wiley has publishing, marketing, and distribution centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Wiley's Internet site can be accessed at

Founded in 1891, the University of Chicago Press was conceived by President William Rainey Harper as an "organic part" of the University, extending the influence of Chicago scholars around the globe. Within ten years of its founding, the Press had introduced fourteen scholarly journals. Today, the Journals Division of the Press distributes 48 serials, presenting original research from international scholars in the social sciences, humanities, education, biological and medical sciences, and physical sciences. Its web site can be accessed at


Dale Flecker, Associate Director for Planning and Systems, the Harvard University Library: 617/495-3274,

Evan Owens, IT Manager, The University of Chicago Press: 773/753-3375,

David Sommer, Synergy Product Manager, Blackwell Publishing: +44 (0) 1865 206193,

Susan Spilka, Director of Corporate Communications, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: 212/850-6147,

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See "Harvard University E-Journal Archive Project."

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