• Harvard University
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  • Library Notes
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  • October 2010
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  • No. 1356
Everyone Wins: The JSTOR "Single Copy" Project Print

As the 2006 academic year drew to a close, Harvard researchers passed a new milestone: In the preceding 12 months, they had accessed JSTOR articles online over one million times. According to Marilyn Wood, associate librarian of Harvard College for collection management, surpassing the million mark is now an established user trend that has led to a series of reflections on JSTOR titles, their widespread availability in print, their rapidly growing use online, and, specifically speaking, to a new, University-wide program called the JSTOR "Single Copy" Project.

The new project, according to Wood, offers numerous benefits to users, several of which may not be readily apparent. By consolidating Harvard's JSTOR titles in print, and creating single, essentially complete runs that circulate from the Harvard Depository (HD), libraries across the University can gain back much-needed shelf space for in-demand, recent acquisitions that would otherwise be held at HD.

"Everyone wins," Wood says. "By and large, Harvard users prefer to access JSTOR articles online, and they can do so easily through the University's current license for all of the more than 1,800 titles in JSTOR's growing inventory. Harvard users can find print holdings for 1,638 JSTOR titles across the University, but the print runs are inconsistent and often incomplete. By consolidating the print holdings at HD, ensuring that each run is essentially complete, and allowing individual bound volumes to circulate for a week at a time, users will find their print access and their convenience increased. Additionally, the consolidation of disparate print copies will result in improved catalog records—and easier discovery for library patrons.

"The resulting increase in available shelf space," Wood continues, "speaks for itself."

The Background

JSTOR—which stands very simply for Journal Storage—was created in 1995, with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to provide systematic archiving of academic journals. Harvard joined JSTOR in 1997 and, since 2005, has served, through the Harvard Depository, as one of the nation's two JSTOR "dark archives."

"JSTOR was an early project to digitize scholarly journals," notes HCL collection management analyst Sarah Tudesco, who is currently coordinating the new project. "The original focus was on the social sciences, but the scope has expanded. In any case, JSTOR titles are highly established—and they are universal to many research libraries. There's a sense that every library has to have these titles. Demand for these titles remains strong, but today's question is, 'In print, online, or both?'

"We see JSTOR as a trusted digital archive of longstanding journals," Tudesco continues, "in part because of the two dark archives, and in part because of one key decision: JSTOR decided at the outset to digitize complete runs of each title all the way back to the beginning, which in one case dates back to 1665."

The Process

The University Library Council (ULC) approved the JSTOR "Single Copy" Project as a University-wide program on July 15. In the coming weeks, ULC librarians will be asked to review lists of their individual JSTOR holdings in print to determine if any individual titles should be opted out in response to local demand.

"Initially," Tudesco says, "we'll do some dry runs. There are plenty of holdings that are one-library-only, that we can use to get our workflows established. Once we're ready to attack the bigger corpus of materials, we'll work one title at a time. We'll gather all copies of a title in the project space in Widener G-80, where we'll reconcile them—to make sure that we get the best possible run for each. Once that complete run is assembled, we'll process it and send it to HD as the new 'single copy.' At that point, the title will begin to circulate."

Initial Steps

For the duration of the project, Jean Lenville, head of acquisitions in the E-Resources, Serials, and Government Documents unit of HCL Technical Services, has agreed to act as project manager.

Lenville and Tudesco, as leaders of the JSTOR "Single Copy" Project staff, will hold a community meeting on Monday, November 8, from 11 am to 12 noon in the Lamont Forum Room. While the meeting is open to all library staff, concerned collection managers are urged to attend.

Ultimate Benefits

Through the JSTOR "Single Copy" Project, the Harvard Libraries will

  • capitalize on documented user preference for JSTOR articles online;
  • create a complete, unified print collection of Harvard's JSTOR titles from disparate, often partial, runs previously located in multiple Harvard libraries;
  • allow individual volumes of JSTOR titles to circulate (one week maximum) for the first time ever;
  • offer delivery, by individual patron request, of print copies to any Harvard library in the HD delivery program;
  • increase on-campus shelf space for current monographs and other recent acquisitions; and
  • improve access and discovery by providing clearer, simpler catalog records.

Peter KosewskiThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , Harvard University Library