Home » post » Early CLOCKSS Lessons

Our mission

Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Early CLOCKSS Lessons

Reprinted with permission from the LOCKSS Alliance mailing list:

Dear Colleagues,

The CLOCKSS (Controlled LOCKSS) Board would like to take this opportunity to apprise you of our progress, to share early lessons, and to encourage you to participate in the process of building this shared resource.

The CLOCKSS participants (major academic publishers, research libraries, and the Stanford University team) are building a community-governed, stable, digital archive for published scholarly content. CLOCKSS access is unbundled from fees: after a “trigger” event (when a publisher is no longer able to provide electronic access to some or all of its archived material), content will be freely available to all. Many libraries have moved away from building and preserving collections, and there is increasing interest in community stewardship and preservation of, and guaranteed long-term access to, scholarly publications.

Since its inception early in 2006, the CLOCKSS members made significant strides towards the effective management of archived materials, and learned some important lessons. We are also extremely proud to have been awarded the ALA ALCTS 2007 Outstanding Collaboration Citation, which will be formally presented at ALA’s annual meeting in Washington in June.

To find out more about our early lessons and progress, go to www.clockss.org and click on the link “CLOCKSS Lessons.”

As always, we welcome comments and suggestions. Please let us hear from you.


Vicky Reich

I took Vicky’s advice and checked out some of the CLOCKSS lessons. While I think you should read the entire five page documents, here are some good quotes that I think are worthwhile to documents librarians. Just think of “federal government” whenever you see the word “publisher”:

The most important, and first, lesson learned by CLOCKSS participants was that commercial,
university press, and society publishers; and librarians can collaborate effectively and thrive by working as equals to build a community-governed archive. The CLOCKSS Board meets formally
twice each month by phone and twice a year in person. The Board establishes policies and implements procedures for wide range of social, business, content, and technical issues.


The archived content is a valuable asset, into which scholars, librarians, and publishers have
made considerable long-term investments; it must be protected from a wide variety of possible disruptions whether deliberate or accidental. The CLOCKSS archive network is made up of
widely distributed host libraries spanning geographic, political and legal boundaries, and this global network, under the stewardship of those who’ve invested so heavily in it, will protect these important assets for future generations of scholars.


In February 2007, the CLOCKSS team first successfully demonstrated the process that would follow a trigger event (retrieving preserved presentation content from the network of CLOCKSS boxes, transferring it to a publishing platform, and making it available to readers).


Over the long term, the CLOCKSS Board intends to raise a capital fund to pay for most (if not all) of the archive’s ongoing expenses. Digital preservation requires continuous processes; when
active preservation ceases, materials are lost. By building a capital fund and becoming selfsustaining, CLOCKSS will ensure that the preservation processes continue over time, regardless of the availability of outside sources of revenue (a circumstance with which libraries are wellfamiliar – witness the recent rescission of Library of Congress NDIIPP funding to help finance other American government priorities).


No one agency can or should preserve government information all on it’s own. There is another way.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.