Libraries participating in the LOCKSS Alliance ensure their readers have 100% post cancellation access, or perpetual access to subscription ejournals and ebooks.
In the paper world a library’s subscription to a journal or purchase of a book meant that the library obtained a copy of the content. The copy was theirs to keep, and their readers could access it. In the web world a library’s readers’ access to past content depends on the library continuing to subscribe to future content. The post-cancellation access problem can be stated as “how can libraries retain access to the past content for which they paid after budget cuts mean that they can no longer afford to subscribe to future content?”
There are three different market approaches to post cancellation access.
- Libraries participating in the LOCKSS Alliance take local custody of subscription content (ejournals and ebooks). The materials are preserved in the library’s local LOCKSS Box “digital shelves”. Readers refused access from the publisher can access these local copies. This ensures 100% post cancellation access, or perpetual access.
- Libraries can rely on the publisher continuing to supply access to past content even though the library is no longer paying them, a rather weak negotiating position.
- Libraries can buy post-cancellation access insurance from a third party archive, which promises that it will supply access to past content if the publisher won’t. But the condition for doing so is that the library’s subscription to the archive is current. In other words, this approach is more a second instance of the same problem than a solution to the post-cancellation access problem.
Of these approaches, only the LOCKSS Program positions libraries has having a significant role for future generations. For further discussion, see Why Preserve E-Journals? Post–Cancellation Access