Stanford University

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Victoria Reich, University Libraries, (650) 725-1134

Grants boost innovative digital archiving system

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Science Foundation have awarded two new grants totaling almost $3 million to the LOCKSS ("Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe") Program, in support of different aspects of the innovative digital archiving system. Both organizations have funded previous phases of the LOCKSS Program, as have Stanford University Libraries and Sun Microsystems Laboratories.

As part of its program in support of electronic journal archiving, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant will support the production, development and implementation of distributed electronic journal archives through LOCKSS. Partner institutions for this aspect of the project include Emory University, Indiana University and the New York Public Library. These partners will develop relationships with publishers (particularly those in the humanities and social sciences) and recruit participating libraries. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant is for 18 months.

Research on core technology development will continue thanks to a two-year National Science Foundation grant and as well as an earlier grant from Sun Microsystems Laboratories.

"We are immensely grateful to our several supporters for recognizing the potential of LOCKSS to serve libraries and publishers as part or all of a comprehensive digital archive methodology. We are enormously proud of the LOCKSS team not only for its creativity, but as well for its responsiveness to publishers and librarians alike," said Stanford University Librarian Michael A. Keller.


More about LOCKSS

The LOCKSS project was initiated in October 1998 and is currently in a worldwide beta test that began in April 2001 to test LOCKSS security, usability and software performance, including impact on network traffic.

Based on Java technology, the LOCKSS system is an open-source, easy-to-use distributed system that runs on low-cost computers without central administration. Designed as an Internet appliance, the LOCKSS system preserves access to authoritative versions of web-published materials by applying contemporary automation to the old idea of preventing loss by multiplying copies. LOCKSS provides software that converts a generic PC into a preservation appliance. The PC runs an enhanced web cache that collects new issues of the e-journal and continually, but slowly, compares its contents with other caches on other participating computers. If files have been corrupted or altered, they can be repaired or replaced with intact copies from the publisher or from other caches. The current version of LOCKSS software is restricted to electronic journals.

The intent of the LOCKSS system is to make it feasible and affordable, even for smaller libraries, to preserve access to the e-journals to which they subscribe. Individual libraries also can monitor the level of redundancy within the system. For an online world map showing the current status of test caches at participating libraries and a demo of the user interface to be used by the libraries, go to

Currently, a total of 56 libraries and 42 publishers worldwide, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the British Medical Association, are participating in the beta test version of the LOCKSS system. Libraries helping to test the LOCKSS system include the Library of Congress, the British Library, Harvard University, University of California-Berkeley, Cambridge University, University of Göttingen, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and National University of Singapore. Further description of the beta test and a full list of participants is available at

The beta software has been released as open source and is available on More information about LOCKSS can be found at



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