Revised September 2010
Best practices and international standards for the proper preservation of the scholarly journal literature, particularly in digital form, are evolving. Editors should keep themselves up-to-date on current preservation guidelines, and they should monitor and actively influence their publisher’s and publication’s preservation compliance.
LIS editors should insist that their publications be produced to the highest level of usability, durability, and longevity in whatever medium is used, be it paper, film, magnetic tape, or optical disk that ensure the persistence of these products.
In print format, journals should be produced and bound using paper and binding that meet the current standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Standards Organization (ISO). ANSI NISO Standard Z39.48-1984 - Permanence of Paper for Publications and Documents in Libraries, adopted in 1984, is that current standard for paper quality. A compliance statement to this standard should be attached to the masthead or copyright area of the journal.
At least two complete runs of a print journal—that is, every print issue from volume 1, number 1, to the latest print issue—should be stored in a reliable print archive. Such an archive could be managed by a publisher, agency such as the Center for Research Libraries, or an individual library or library consortium that can demonstrate its commitment to long-term preservation of the print material under its care. A reliable print archive should comply with NISO’s guideline for the storage of paper records, and express the intention to provide long-term storage and preservation of the journal’s print run. OCLC is currently organizing libraries and their print repository programs to create information about trusted print archives.
Increasing, journal literature is created and stored in digital formats. Digital preservation involves the conditions of the physical media, as well as the software used to organize and retrieve data in a meaningful way. It is essential that preservation metadata be provided for digital formats so that they can be read, processed, and actively managed for long-term use.
For preservation purposes, digital content must be carefully prepared, stored, and maintained in a secure and actively managed information technology infrastructure. Editors should encourage their publishers to place copies of their digital journal content in the care of a trusted digital repository. A good overview of the attributes and responsibilities of this type of trusted digital repository can be found in an RLG-OCLC Report of 2002 (
Record retention needs to be established and followed regardless of the format of material or business/editorial system used by the journal and its publisher. As more journals move online and employ editorial management software, it is incumbent on editors to insure these systems have adequate record retention capabilities.
In general, a records retention program should include a retention schedule that identifies types of records to be retained, for how long, and under what conditions, as well as guidance on privacy and ownership of these records.