Researchers can now be assured that the scholarly record will be preserved for future generations through a coordinated system of trusted print archives held at libraries throughout the western United States.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of California Libraries a three-year grant to support implementation of the Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST), a distributed shared print repository program for retrospective journal archives. Twenty libraries and library consortia participated in the planning phase, including libraries from the University of California system, Stanford University, Arizona State University, the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, other members of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA), and the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC). More than 60 additional academic libraries have expressed an intention to join the project as it moves into implementation.
Under the WEST program, participating libraries will consolidate print journal backfiles at major library storage facilities and at selected campus locations. Planning partners developed an operating and business model including 1) selection priorities based on risk-management principles, 2) standards for validation, holdings disclosure, access and retention, and 3) a governance model and sustainable financial plan to share costs.
During the initial three-year project (Phase 1), selected WEST "Archive Builders" will actively process approximately 150,000 volumes from 8,000 journal runs (current and previous titles), to allow recovery of the space occupied by potentially millions of corresponding volumes now held in duplicate by partner libraries. WEST partner libraries agree to maintain WEST collections for a period of 25 years (through 2035) and to review the agreement to continue to build the archives every 5 years.
An Executive Committee composed of representatives from member institutions will oversee the operation and development of WEST. The California Digital Library (CDL) at the University of California will serve as Administrative Host for the WEST program. Primary project staff includes Lizanne Payne (WEST Project Manager) and Emily Stambaugh (CDL Shared Print Manager and Assistant WEST Project Manager).
The outcome of the WEST project will be a robust framework developed and adopted by a variety of partners in the region to support a long-term, distributed print repository. The program will make the archives and retention commitments visible at the national/international level.