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What is the LOCKSS Program?

LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe), based at Stanford University Libraries, is an international community initiative that provides libraries with digital preservation tools and support so that they can easily and inexpensively collect and preserve their own copies of authorized e-content. LOCKSS, in its twelfth year, provides libraries with the open-source software and support to preserve today’s web-published materials for tomorrow’s readers while building their own collections and acquiring a copy of the assets they pay for, instead of simply leasing them. LOCKSS provides fully managed preservation and 100% post cancellation access.

The ACM award-winning LOCKSS technology is an open source, peer-to-peer, decentralized digital preservation infrastructure. LOCKSS preserves all formats and genres of web-published content. The intellectual content, which includes the historical context (the look and feel), is preserved. LOCKSS is OAIS-compliant; the software migrates content forward in time; the bits and bytes are continually audited and repaired and the system is "tamper evident", required to protect fragile digital content for the very long time.

Today LOCKSS is a thriving international community-based initiative with libraries and publishers working together with the shared goal to preserve e-content for the long-term. Approximately 500 leading scholarly publishers have granted permission for their content to be preserved and for the provision of post cancellation access by LOCKSS Alliance participants.

See our LOCKSS Program datasheet

Why should you care?

Libraries are a critical piece of our social fabric. They inform and educate citizens; they provide critical support to democratic societies by acting as memory institutions. The memory of a library is its collections; therefore in order for a library to be a memory organization it must build collections.

LOCKSS helps libraries stay relevant by building collections even as an increasing portion of today’s content is born digitally and published on the web.

LOCKSS replicates the traditional model of libraries keeping physical copies of books, journals, etc. in their collections, making it possible for libraries to house copies of digital materials long-term. When libraries have custody of the content, they need not pay continued access fees for post cancellation access. Hundreds of publishers and libraries around the world have joined the LOCKSS community and are working together to ensure that libraries continue their important social memory role.

Content preserved by libraries through LOCKSS becomes a part of their collection, and they have perpetual access to 100% of the titles preserved in their LOCKSS Box.

What should you do next?

LOCKSS software is freely available for you to examine and use. To install a LOCKSS box today, visit the Installing LOCKSS section of our website. To get the full benefits of the LOCKSS Program, participate in the LOCKSS Alliance!

“NYU Libraries’ decision to join the LOCKSS Alliance was grounded in our sincere commitment to the preservation of digital content. We want to support the broadest possible exploration of methods for insuring such preservation. The LOCKSS model is based on an elegantly simple philosophy, promoting the building of local collections and their preservation on site. We are impressed by the autonomy that the LOCKSS model offers and the minimal effort required to run it. NYU has been very happy with its decision to join LOCKSS, and we encourage others to express their commitment to digital preservation by joining the LOCKSS community.”

- Dr. Michael Stoller, Director, Collections & Research Services, New York University Libraries