Author Archives: Jérôme

Evolving academic library research support services: research ethics

Author: Roxanne Missingham, University Librarian, Australian National University


Academic libraries are fundamental supporters of research activities in their institutions. The digital environment has opened up the collections and services so that they sit within reach in every lab and researchers’ desktop as a part of the research toolkit that supports research in every discipline. The extensive connection with researchers has provided the opportunity to engage with this community to implement many new services to meet their needs.

At the Australian National University, a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities, the Dean of Science commented some years ago that he visited the digital library every day, relying more than ever on the full range of library services. For those in the humanities and social sciences the library is perceived as their laboratory, the research infrastructure on which their work depends. Professor Frank Bongiorno recently stated, “For historians, libraries and archives are the laboratory” (Bongiorno, 2022). This provides an environment where the impact of developments in research support by libraries has a significant benefit to the academic community within their institution.

Over the past decades, academic library services have evolved significantly, in particular with the revolution to a digital or e-research environment. A visit to an academic library website will reveal a wealth of services and products supporting research – from special collections to tailored support services.

Research ethics is an area that has benefited from the new library services that have been created to enhance research activity. Together with established services that support research more generally, services have been extended to provide strong support for compliance with, and capabilities to deal with, research ethics matters.

Applying the lens of research ethics to library activities provides the opportunity to reveal an important value from modern academic libraries. The work of the library in this area is vital infrastructure for successful research within institutions.

Research ethics and integrity

The study of ethics reaches back to the Greeks. Aristotle (Aristotle 1999, Aristotle 2002) proposed a philosophy of ethics that was a new and separate area of discourse. In summary, the approach was one that proposed that “moral virtue is the only practical road to effective action” (Sachs, n.d.). National and international research ethics standards have evolved dramatically since World War 2. The Nuremberg Code, established in 1948, is recognised as the first formal codification (Weindling, 2001). It stated that “The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential”. For information professionals this codification represented new standards and the requirement for documentation to record processes, consents and approvals as an integral part of the research ecosystem.

Research ethics is now required for all human and animal studies, with extensive requirements from funders, governments and institutions. The principles developed to underpin the approaches reflect moral principles that are continually reviewed and tested. They are designed to ensure high ethical norms are met. The norms “promote the aims of research, such as knowledge, truth, and avoidance of error” (Resnik, 2020). Ensuring integrity through research ethics is achieved through a range of institutional services, including that provided by libraries.

Dimensions of library support for research ethics

Research and an analysis of the field of research ethics has developed a number of essential principles. These relate to the practices that are required for compliance and values that are relevant to the nature of the support services required for successful research.

Unpacking the major principles and mapping them to work of academic libraries reveals a wealth of effective and well used activities that are fundamental to ensuring researchers can be confident they are able to comply with research ethics. A well-established set of principles (Shamoo and Resnik 2015) includes the following:


Strive for honesty in all scientific communications. Honestly report data, results, methods and procedures, and publication status. Do not fabricate, falsify, or misrepresent data. Do not deceive colleagues, research sponsors, or the public.


Keep your promises and agreements; act with sincerity; strive for consistency of thought and action.


Share data, results, ideas, tools, resources. Be open to criticism and new ideas.


Disclose methods, materials, assumptions, analyses, and other information needed to evaluate your research.

Intellectual Property

Honor patents, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property. Do not use unpublished data, methods, or results without permission. Give proper acknowledgement or credit for all contributions to research. Never plagiarize.

Responsible Publication

Publish in order to advance research and scholarship, not to advance just your own career. Avoid wasteful and duplicative publication.

Analysing the range of academic library services against these principles provide an insight into the extent of library activities that support research ethics. A summary of the mapping (Figure 1) summarises collection, reference and research services that are all components of holistic support from the library for research ethics.

Figure 1. Mapping of library services to research ethics principles

The investment of academic libraries in collections and services to support research have had a significant impact on building the capacity of our institutions to support research ethics. The key strategic initiatives that have created great support in this area include:

  • Digital collections that specifically support research ethics with a wide range of text books, journals and case studies including guides (such as lib guides) and researcher training to facilitate awareness and use of this material;
  • Institutional repositories that provide open access to scholarly works including theses, preprints, OA copies of journal articles, non-traditional research outputs and other original research outputs. The most recent figures from Australian and New Zealand universities (Council of Australian University Librarians, 2021) reveal extraordinary strengths in this area. In 2020 (the most recent figures available), there were 1,650,867 resources available through Australian academic repositories and 135,712 through repositories in New Zealand universities. The impact of these in making research open and transparent is extraordinary. The 2020 figures reveal

Table 1.

Downloads from academic institutional repositories 2020 (Council of Australian University Librarians, 2021)

Australia 38,129,785
New Zealand 7,354,330
Total 45,484,115

The repositories enable researchers to both make their work openly accessible and access publications from others to increase knowledge of methods and research findings.

  • Institutional data support services. Academic libraries now offer a wide range of data support services. These include research data management training, data storage and management of data repositories (such as the Australian National University Data Commons Service). In Australia, a significant program to develop the capabilities of library staff in data management has been delivered by the Australian Research Data Commons and its predecessor, the Australian National Data Services, a federally funded program (Australian Research Data Commons, 2022b). The University of Queensland Library guide on research data exemplifies the emphasis on clear information on data ethics (University of Queensland Library, 2022)

Figure 2. University of Queensland Library Research data guide.

  • Specialised reference services have developed that support research with a strong component of research ethics. New courses include systematic reviews, publishing and publishing ethics, ethical writing, using tools such as Endnote and discipline based standards.
  • Libraries provide specialist support on copyright and intellectual property. Most universities have a copyright specialist embedded in the library delivering training for researchers, answering enquiries and advising the institution of copyright issues.


Academic libraries are offering a wide range of activities that are vital to supporting researcher’s knowledge of, and capabilities, in relation to research ethics. The evolution in services and products, such as repositories and knowledge of publishing is of benefit to researchers in all disciplines. The evolution of national programs to support greater capabilities of library staff has been an important enabler of these developments.

The digital revolution has enabled greater and more effective outreach to researchers to embed these services across academic institutions. The library services have been vital elements in a partnership to address increasingly complex funder, government and institutional requirements for research. A recent study highlighted the importance of support in these areas (Jackson, 2018). The complexities identified to collect, transport, and store data in compliance with ethical requirements and managing data across the whole data lifecycle are well supported by the new library services.

There is a need to continue to develop the capabilities of librarians to be able to effectively support researchers with emerging issues, such as data management policy, privacy and security. Participation in national programs such as the Institutional underpinnings program for data (Australian Research Data Commons, 2022a) is an important element in this landscape. Over the next decade the evolution of services will provide an exciting area for the academic library community.

Roxanne Missingham, Australian National University



Aristotle. (1999). Metaphysics, Joe Sachs (trans.). Santa Fe, NM, Green Lion Press

Aristotle. (2002).  Nicomachean Ethics, Joe Sachs (trans.). Newbury, MA, Focus Philosophical Library, Pullins Press

Australian National University. (2022).  Data Commons. Canberra, ANU.

Australian Research Data Commons. (2022a). Institutional Underpinnings. ARDC.

Australian Research Data Commons. (2022b). Resources for librarians. Canberra, ARDC.

Bongiorno, Frank. (2022). The Humanities Laboratory. Canberra, The Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Council of Australian University Librarian. (2021) Data file for CAUL statistics 2020. Canberra, CAUL.

Jackson, Brian. (2018) The Changing Research Data Landscape and the Experiences of Ethics Review Board Chairs: Implications for Library Practice and Partnerships. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 44 (5), p. 603-612.

Resnik, David B. (2020). What is ethics in research and why is it important. Washington, D.C., National Institute of Environmental Health Science.

Sachs, Joe. (n.d.). Aristotle: Ethics. Internet Encyclopaedia of philosophy.

Shamoo, Adil E. and Resnik, David B. (2015). Responsible Conduct of Research. 3rd ed. Oxford,  Oxford University Press.

University of Queensland. Library (2022) Manage research data. St Lucia, UQ Library.

Weindling, Paul. (2001). “The Origins of Informed Consent: The International Scientific Commission on Medical War Crimes, and the Nuremberg Code”. Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 75 (1): 37–71

Culturally Safe Libraries: A collaborative step towards cultural change

In late 2017, National and State Libraries Australasia’s (NSLA)nine Australian members – the heads of our state, territory and national libraries – confirmed Indigenous cultural competency as a collaborative priority. The commitment acknowledged that the information within our institutions is a powerful resource for Australian First Nations peoples, and that the collection materials we hold can be both enlightening and wounding. The sensitivity and significance of these materials means we have a particular responsibility to show leadership in delivering respectful, culturally appropriate services.

The program

The three-year Culturally Safe Libraries Program (CSLP) formally began in mid-2018, led by a steering group of representatives from each member library, including First Australians staff with expertise in collections and engagement. Steering group members were also the local drivers of the program in their organisations. Lesley Acres, Indigenous Services Program Officer at the State Library of Queensland, joined as the CSLP Project Officer in acknowledgement of the cultural knowledge, skills and experience needed to successfully implement the program.

The project’s broad objectives were to:

  • foster culturally safe workplaces for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and public spaces for clients
  • collaborate and engage effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations to ensure that First Nations peoples’ voices and views are considered and incorporated
  • take culturally informed approaches to collection management, description, access, and use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander materials
  • ensure that programs and services are accessible, appropriate, and responsive to the needs and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • develop sustainable strategies in each Australian member library to ensure policy and practices reflect, and are appropriate to, the interests, needs, and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and clients.

The program focused on four areas of collaborative activity:

  1. foundational cultural competence training for all staff
  2. specialist training for collections staff
  3. development of national principles for Indigenous cultural competency
  4. the establishment of a network for Australian First Nations staff in NSLA libraries.

These would be supported by resources, programs, and policies in each library to foster culturally competent behaviour and practice at all levels of the institution.

Foundational cultural competence training

To establish a base level of cultural competency across NSLA libraries, all staff were to complete Core Cultural Learning (Core), an online course developed by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). While it was known that this type of training had not been widely available as part of organisational activities across the NSLA network, the pre-course survey revealed that 63 per cent of participants had not completed any cultural competency training previously.

Between July 2019 and October 2021, almost 2000 staff were enrolled in Core, with a completion rate of 84 per cent. Across NSLA libraries, the online training modules were supplemented by facilitated debrief sessions to give staff an opportunity to talk through and reflect on their responses to their learning.

Specialist training

Staff whose work brings them into contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections need to take culturally-informed approaches to collection management, description, access, and use of collection materials. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library, Information and Resource Network (ATSILIRN) Protocols for Libraries, Archives and Information Services outline the practical application of concepts such as secret and sacred materials, Indigenous cultural and intellectual property, and the right of reply.

NSLA endorsed the ATSILRN Protocols in a 2014 position statement intended to guide progressive action in our libraries’ plans and approaches to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander library services and collections. While all NSLA libraries have made progress in some areas contained in the protocols, it is recognised that the protocols themselves are still not embedded in the way we think about and work with our collections, or the peoples and communities to whom they belong.

To begin to address this, a full-day workshop focused on the ATSILIRN Protocols relating to collections was designed for each NSLA library. These workshops, co-facilitated by the CSLP Project Officer and local staff with expert knowledge of the First Australians materials in the library’s collection, aimed to stimulate participants’ thinking about how the protocols might be applied in their work practices as well as to increase their capability.

A suite of content was developed for use in the workshops: videos featuring First Nations staff from NSLA libraries sharing their perspectives on each collections-related ATSILIRN Protocol, case studies illustrating the protocols in action, and extensive links to further resources. The Working with Indigenous Collections resources are freely available on the NSLA website, licensed under Creative Commons so that they can be used as widely as possible.

Due to travel restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic only two of the workshops were able to be presented in person. Given the ongoing uncertainties around travel and library closures due to lockdowns, it was decided to deliver the remaining workshops online and the workshop agenda was quickly reconfigured to accommodate this.

Despite the fact that workshops could not be delivered in person, the results of the post-training evaluation survey were extraordinarily positive, with the activities felt to be engaging, presenters knowledgeable, and content relevant. Most importantly, over 98% of respondents came away with greater insight into the ATSILIRN Protocols and their application to Indigenous collection materials. An incredible 100 per cent of respondents said that they would recommend the training to colleagues.

National Indigenous cultural competency principles

Designed to sit alongside the ATSILIRN Protocols, NSLA’s Indigenous cultural competency principles support member libraries to develop practical and sustainable strategies appropriate to their community context and workforce requirements.

The principles focus on:

  • valuing identity, culture, and diversity in our libraries
  • engaging in respectful and inclusive partnerships and work practices
  • demonstrating leadership, integrity, and accountability in the adoption and maintenance of culturally competent work practices
  • fostering culturally responsive library and information services.

Each principle is guided by a number of associated measures of success.

NSLA Blakforce

Established in 2019, Blakforce is a network for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff working in NSLA member libraries. Intended to facilitate self-determination and peer support, it is self-driven and governed by a Convener and Co-convener. Voluntary membership is open to any First Nations staff member in a NLSA library.

Blakforce functions as a forum for information-sharing and problem-solving at a professional and cultural level, specifically ensuring that cultural safety concerns and opportunities to access other First Nations peers and staff are made available to First Nations library workers at all levels.

In their discussions about CSLP, members reported that, for many, the program had a negative impact, saying that dealing with their non-First Nations colleagues’ reactions to Core training (both positive and negative) “has added to our already full workloads in ways that were not fully understood or planned for by the steering group”. Experiences varied in each library, depending on organisational culture, professional role, and number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues, but highlighted the need for changed employment practices. The lack of First Nations staff in senior and leadership roles was identified as a consistent and fundamental problem.

Members of NSLA Blakforce speak with author Dr. Anita Heiss at their first meeting in 2019; hosted at kuril dhagun, State Library of Queensland.

Individual library programs and policies

Part of the commitment to the Culturally Safe Libraries Program was about instigating library programs and policies that would address the specific gaps or needs identified in individual member libraries as a result of Core training, and in response to the national Indigenous cultural competency principles. This was at the discretion of each library’s leadership, and not overseen by the program steering group.

Examples of actions taken by individual libraries during the program period include:

  • Establishing or reinvigorating First Nations advisory groups.
  • Creating Identified positions for roles working focused on First Nations collections and community engagement.
  • Partnerships with local First Nations organisations.
  • Ensuring that collection development policies and collection management processes comply with the ATSILIRN Protocols in relation to First Nations materials.
  • Creating and staffing appropriate spaces for First Nations peoples to access cultural collection materials.

Outcomes and next steps

The results of the Culturally Safe Libraries Program are testament to the commitment, collaborative spirit and capacity of the NSLA member libraries.

On many levels, that program was a resounding success. Nearly 2000 staff undertook cultural competence training, supported by approximately 200 facilitated debrief sessions. National principles for Indigenous cultural competency were endorsed. A suite of online resources about working with Indigenous collections received over 20,000 page views in its first eighteen months. Nine specialist Indigenous collections workshop, featuring local collections content and receiving unanimous praise, were delivered despite the challenges of a global pandemic.

More difficult to concede is that the program also caused harm to a number of individuals or groups in unexpected and unsettling ways. It surfaced racial tension in places where that tension was previously hidden. It increased cultural labour for some First Nations staff, with colleagues seeking advice or approaching with confronting conversations. It introduced apprehension for those who feared they may again have to watch an organisation make commitments and pronouncements that would never be acted upon. On a more benign level, it left a large number of staff wondering what to do next.

The primary recommendation of the CSLP Steering Group is that individual NSLA libraries transition out of cultural competency as a ‘program’ (something by definition separate to ‘business as usual’. The group asks that libraries take the collective benefits and lessons of the program, listen to staff, and initiate the changes most needed in their local context, in all areas of business – whether further training, recruitment, consultation, or review of policies and procedures. While this important work is happening locally, there are a number of ways in which NSLA libraries can continue to usefully collaborate.

These include:

  • Establishing a NSLA First Nations Advisory Group to provide leadership and culturally appropriate guidance on matters relating to collective initiatives for First Nations visitors and staff.
  • Completion of an annual Indigenous cultural capability audit mapped to the ATSILIRN Protocols, to track and transparently report progress in cultural capability.
  • Continued consortia licensing of Core Cultural Learning training so that it can be offered as part of library induction processes for all new staff.
  • Continued support of participation in, or collaboration with, established and new groups in the sector such as the OCLC Reimagine Workflows project group, IFLA Indigenous Matters Section, and the new Indigenous Expert Advisory Group under the auspices of ALIA (the Australian Library and Information Association).
  • Continued support of Blakforce, with one in-person gathering per year when possible.
  • Rollout of additional rounds of Indigenous collections workshops in coming years.
  • Collaboration in any further training where more than two member libraries share an interest.

Barbara Lemon, NSLA Executive Officer:

Further resources

In-depth series Leadership Conference: Culturally Safe Libraries – ALIA (video, 2021)

Reflecting on CSLP – NSLA (2021)

National survey on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment in Australian libraries: Research report – ALIA (2021)

Would you rather use LOCKSS, CLOCKSS or Portico? Three approaches to long-term preservation of scholarship

By Katharina Markus

Long-term access to scientific publications as a challenge

Scientific knowledge and published results are the backbone of new research. But on the Internet digital information is dynamic and short-lived. In terms of science, this may mean a relevant paper is not available anymore and its links produce error messages. Not only this knowledge is not publicly available any longer for the scientific discourse, but a publication referencing the missing paper also becomes less legitimate since its references are not verifiable. The three concepts this blog article will introduce do aim at providing reliable access to scientific publications.

By now, a large amount of scientific publications are only available digitally. If they are hosted exclusively on the publisher’s server and website, they may vanish as soon as the publisher goes out of business, as the journal is not making enough profit and is discontinued or as technical issues, maintenance or development become too cost intensive. On the other hand, preventing this situation by establishing one large-scale central preservation set-up faces the challenges of needing every publisher’s permission due to economic concerns and rights. Specifically, rights to closed access content often lie exclusively with the publishers and libraries license only access to it.

The licensing model also leads to another effect, separate from content vanishing from the Internet. If a library discontinues a subscription to an electronic journal, it not only cancels access to new journal issues. The library often also loses access to back issues, which it had been providing until that point. Since these back issues might still be relevant to the user community of the library, Post-Cancellation Access (PCA, also Perpetual Access) was formulated as a second aim in the context of preservation.

These concerns have been addressed by the library community in order to prevent the worst case – losing publications for good. Since no single institution has the capacity to ensure preservation of all publications due to the large amount of material, as well as the diversity of sources and rights, several solutions have been established. Diversification of preservation efforts also serves as an additional back-up strategy. Among these solutions are three internationally active initiatives: the Global LOCKSS Network (GLN) [1], CLOCKSS [2] and Portico [3]. The Keepers Registry is a registry of preserved journals, to which these three initiatives provide information about preserved content [4].

Due to the complexity of the topic, this text will concentrate on closed access content, specifically journals. Open access-specific aspects are included when serving as contrasting cases to closed access preservation approaches.

1.      LOCKSS

The software Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe (LOCKSS) is deployed globally and is used in various projects and networks [5]. The abbreviation LOCKSS can serve as a short-hand for various concepts and initiatives: the LOCKSS software, the LOCKSS Program, the LOCKSS Alliance and the Global LOCKSS Network (GLN). In this text the expression LOCKSS refers only to the software.

The software [6] is open source, developed by the community and principally maintained by the LOCKSS Program, which is situated at the Stanford Libraries [7]. An alliance of users, the LOCKSS Alliance, provides funding for further development of the software via their participation fee and receives in return services like technical support [8].

LOCKSS is used in a network of nodes with a LOCKSS box in each of them, where content is hosted locally at the participating institutions. The software also connects the boxes and uses frequently generated integrity values for comparison of the same objects at various locations i. e. in various boxes. Whereas one dissenting value amongst many for several copies of the same object implies corruption of the respective single copy, many different values for the same object imply a complex problem [9]. The transfer of content into the boxes is primarily designed as web-harvesting [9, 10]. The publisher provides a LOCKSS permission statement which the institution’s LOCKSS box can access via IP authentication [11] as part of the harvesting process. With regard to preservation actions, migration to new formats is generally designed to be part of the access workflow [12]. If the source of the content, the publisher’s website, is not responding anymore, access can be provided by the locally stored version with various access methods [13]. Often, access is provided by a workflow or process that is automatically triggered by the unresponsiveness of the source or by the information that the original source is not available any longer – as such, this event is called a “trigger event”. Since different LOCKSS networks exist, inter alia the Global LOCKSS Network (GLN), CLOCKSS and PKP Preservation Network, configuration, used plugins and definition of trigger events may differ from one to another.

Global LOCKSS Network

GLN is the original LOCKSS network and members of GLN historically also become part of the LOCKSS Alliance; therefore membership fees correlate [8]. GLN provides not only access in case of unresponsive publisher websites, but also Post Cancellation Access [14]. For PCA, restriction of access to the preserved content is necessary since the original is still available on the publisher’s website and the preserved copy would cause economic competition otherwise. The institutions or institution consortia sign contracts with publishers that allow publications to become part of GLN and integration into the local LOCKSS box. In case the content becomes unavailable, granted rights and local hosting ensure continued access for members of the institution that were allowed access before [15, 16]. Specifically localized hosting and a network with shared integrity control are distinctive features of GLNs and more broadly of LOCKSS. Institutions maintain control over the locally hosted content, irrespective of journal’s or preservation service’s fate. As members of GLN generally conclude contracts with publishers they also can decide which publications to add to the preservation network. Apart from this member-driven addition process, publishers can also request inclusion of their publications, although the decision stays with the GLN members [17].

2.     CLOCKSS

The preservation network CLOCKSS (Controlled LOCKSS) also uses LOCKSS software. It is a not-for-profit organization and financed by participating libraries as well as publishers [18]. The network is closed, as the self-explanatory name indicates, with a set number of twelve archive nodes at various academic institutions worldwide [19] and is therefore characterized as a “Private LOCKSS Network”. Differences between Private LOCKSS Networks and open-ended LOCKSS networks are generally just intent and governance of the networkssince these closed groups have a common goal and do not invite new members with the intention of setting up new nodes [20]. Data transfer into the archive and preservation actions correspond to the possibilities provided by the LOCKSS software [21]. CLOCKSS’ specific concept is archived publications becoming open access when a trigger event occurs [23]. Accordingly, reasons for libraries to participate in the CLOCKSS initiative are not related to access per se, but participants support CLOCKSS’ mission and gain a voice in respective decisions [22]. While the community is involved in decisions, contracts are concluded between CLOCKSS as a legal entity and publishers [18].


3.     Portico

Portico, as a third example of a preservation service uses yet another slightly different concept. It shows similarities to CLOCKSS, as it is also set up as a non-profit-organization, in this case as a service that is part of the education and research initiative ITHAKA (, and is financed by publishers and libraries as well. On the other hand, access is provided not only in case of unavailable publisher hosted versions (trigger events [23]) but also as PCA [24] which is similar to the GLN model. The main difference with the above-mentioned strategies is that here there is a central institution, Portico, where content is hosted, with no distribution across nodes. While Portico offers PCA, it is only available for a subset of Portico content as the publisher must allow PCA. Additionally, in order to use the PCA-service the library must be a Portico participant and has to request PCA providing documentation about the formerly licensed content. This specific content then is only accessible to the requesting library. Access due to trigger events, on the other hand, is not tied to any licences of the participating libraries but to the Portico membership. Contracts are arranged between Portico and the publisher, same as the data transfer procedures. Preservation management includes monitoring for technology obsolescence [25] and migration as the main preservation action [26]. Access is provided to members of the participating institution based on IP addresses [23, 24]. Since Portico takes care of publisher negotiations, hosting, and preservation actions and provides PCA, participating libraries are relieved from many preservation efforts. On the other hand, access to closed access “triggered content” is only provided as long as institutions stay members of Portico. Open access content on the other hand is made freely available in case of trigger events.



All three services are not limited to journals or e-books and preserve also other types of content, and they pursue as well specific projects or collaborations that go beyond the described basic structure.

Keepers Registry


Finally, information about preserved journal issues is provided by various preserving institutions, among them GLN, CLOCKSS and Portico, to the Keepers Registry [27]. The registry, in turn, offers information about preserved issues and preserving institutions or initiatives at a central portal that is free of charge. This service is limited to journals (e-serials), whereas information about other content preserved in the above mentioned initiatives can be found on the website of the respective preservation service.


Preservation Services analysis and choices made by  ZB MED

ZB MED has its own preservation system and is in the process of preserving publications as part of its own publication services. Still it is also interested in using a preservation service to secure the preservation of the journals that are in its holdings. It conducted a Keepers Registry analysis with data about its own holdings, comparing it against data from the Keepers Registry. Selection for journals from its holding covered by the above-mentioned preservation services showed large coverage by Portico. While a small section of the holding, at least at the time of the analysis, is not preserved by Portico, the percentage of preserved journals was deemed sufficiently high to make a Portico membership beneficial. Additional benefits of Portico are PCA, access to all triggered content in Portico, as well as leaving the effort of contract negotiations as well as object processing to the service. The membership leaves ZB MED free to concentrate its resources on preserving journals not covered by Portico or CLOCKSS.


In conclusion, the three initiatives have different features that partially overlap, partially complement each other. Individual libraries and other institutions involved in preservation efforts can evaluate where they want to participate according to their own preferences and using information provided by the Keeper Registry.


Dr. Katharina Markus, Head of Digital Preservation

ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences, Cologne, Germany



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Special interest group keeps New Zealand librarians in touch


By Marisa King

In these uncertain times, maintaining our professional networks is more important than ever. Having regular opportunities to connect to share ideas, challenges and even just have a laugh pays dividends for our ongoing professional development and more fundamentally, our personal wellbeing and resilience.

For academic and research librarians in New Zealand, maintaining professional networks is made all the more easier by an active special interest group that exists purely to serve the needs of their sector.

Known as TEL SIG, the Tertiary Libraries Special Interest Group is a part of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA). TEL SIG is headed by an enthusiastic committee of eight academic and research librarians from across New Zealand and has 155 individual members.

With TEL SIG members being spread across New Zealand, the majority of events are held online. In recent times a series of popular TEL SIG webinars have canvassed topics such as the state of open access in Aotearoa New Zealand, managing stress, e-textbooks (the pros and cons), facing adversity, and new model library and open science projects. These monthly one-hour lunchtime sessions grew into an open platform for librarians from all corners of New Zealand to interact and share their views, questions, concerns and experiences. Each discussion focuses on a “hot topic” of interest suggested by the community itself.

Another popular networking opportunity offered by TEL SIG is its monthly journal discussion groups. Each month an article is selected for discussion at a number of virtual and face-to-face groups held across the country. Each article relates to one of six ‘bodies of knowledge’ clusters that make up LIANZA’s professional registration scheme. Professional registration enables New Zealand librarians to demonstrate their commitment to professional standards by meeting a level of knowledge, understanding, and competence that is overseen by a professional registration board.

In early 2021, TEL SIG also joined forces with LIANZA’s Research Special Interest Group to hold a highly successful two-day symposium at the National Library in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.

New Zealand has eight universities – two in Auckland, one in Hamilton, one in Palmerston North, one in Wellington, two in or near Christchurch, and one in Dunedin.

Important issues facing New Zealand academic and research librarians will no doubt be familiar to their international IFLA colleagues. Many issues revolve around the word “open” such as promoting open educational resources and open access publishing.

A recent report on the state of open access publishing in Aotearoa New Zealand was produced for the Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL). The report was the subject of a TEL SIG webinar in late 2021. The report’s findings included:

  • Only 44% of New Zealand’s research is openly available. This is much lower than in many other countries. Even work funded by the country’s major research funders is only 52% open.
  • New Zealand researchers are spending more on open access fees each year, on top of the tens of millions of dollars tertiary libraries already pay in subscriptions.
  • If all eligible research outputs were made open by uploading an accepted manuscript to an institutional repository, New Zealand’s overall open access proportion would rise to 70%.



Did you know?

  • New Zealand’s total population is a little over five million.
  • The country comprises two main islands – the North and the South Island – and a number of small islands, some of them hundreds of miles from the main group.
  • Aotearoa is the Māori name for New Zealand. The most popular and authoritative meaning usually given for Aotearoa is “long white cloud”.

Marisa King

Coach, New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme


Further reading:

BnF DataLab: a brand new digital humanities service to the research community

An evolving context

As more and more data and digital collections are available in libraries, the expected role of such libraries in the digital humanities field is becoming a key issue. “Providing access to collections for a wide audience” (as defined by the French law for Bibliothèque nationale de France, or BnF) is in fact one of the core missions of a national library. But such a goal cannot be reached nowadays without providing, not only access to digital material, but also support and assistance to understand and work on digital collections and/or data.

With the availability of new massive digital collections, new ways of exploring data started to emerge, along with new requests from academic community. Those new uses challenged BnF to rethink all the services offered around such collections. As librarians, we all know that giving access is not enough. We needed to build a strong service allowing global support, not only from a simple technical point of view, but also on collection expertise, research in residence, project monitoring and so on.

© Élie Ludwig

A place to meet and learn

To welcome researchers and create interaction between experts, we needed an identified location. We also had to take into account that part of the digital collections, especially web archives, are only accessible inside the premises and that some of our researchers are both in demand of work spaces and expert support: this is why our new lab, called BnF DataLab, is located within the research library.

© Élie Ludwig

Building a research path

We also had to create a service catalogue which could cover widely the lifecycle of project, as follows:

  • Step 1: Welcoming and orientating the researcher. Our catalogues and collections are complex, as a result of a long history. They can be searched in various ways and often require a cross-referenced search. This first step allows to centralize requests, give a first piece of advice, and set up an appointment with BnF experts.
  • Step 2: Building corpora by offering assistance, help with the bibliographic tools, help with the application programming interface (API) and extraction tools, training on formats…
  • Step 3: Working on the corpora, with a dedicated IT infrastructure (servers, storage, virtual machines, software tool box), desk and assistance
  • Step 4: Creating a community around BnF DataLab. A main purpose of BnF DataLab deals with interaction, transfer skills and competences. By organizing trainings, workshops and symposiums, our purpose is to create a place where different experts, from different fields (librarians, researchers, engineers) can communicate and learn from each other and develop useful tools for all communities.

© Emmanuel Nguyen Ngoc / BnF

This physical location has its virtual equivalent. Onsite, a digital portal allows access to copyright documents, while remotely a web site explains the API uses.

BnF Datalab is more than just an information desk or a service offer, it was imagined as a laboratory, a place of interaction and training among peers, a place allowing experiments and R&D thanks to dedicated partnerships such as Huma-num (a multi-institution academic initiative in the digital  humanities filed) and the help of in-residence research teams. Therefore, the tools developed within the framework of research programs or call for projects will be kept in a kind of “toolbox” reusable for other projects.

BnF DataLab prefigures a new generation of library services, which combines onsite and remote services, hosts mixed practices and activities, and is dedicated to exploring digital resources and to producing new knowledge and tools.

Marie Carlin, BnF DataLab coordinator:

Arnaud Laborderie, Gallica coordinator for research data mining:

Further reading:

ARL Highlights and Themes, 2015-2021: looking back and forward

The Academic and Research Libraries (ARL) section of IFLA brings together librarians from around the globe and together we “monitor current and emerging issues and their relevance to academic and research libraries … and …. disseminate information and recommendations, including results of relevant research and experiences of practitioners.” (IFLA, Academic and Research Libraries ). There are many ways in which we do this. Examples include WLIC sessions, webinars, and through this blog. Another forum available to members is the annual exercise of submitting “Regional Updates” of issues and initiatives from the members’ countries. These are packed with ideas and information that can inspire all kinds of action for us collectively or in our home institutions and countries. As this year approaches to its end, let’s a tour of some of the themes and highlights that emerged over a longer period of time: 2015-2021.

There is a wealth of information contained within these years and likely deserving of a much longer piece, but I have pulled out some of the emergent themes across the period and around the globe. Over the seven years covered, we have regional input from 29 different countries – with a certain bias, as these notes are disproportionately representative of regions in the geographic global North with most from Europe, the United Kingdom, and North America.  The themes I’ve identified are ones that emerge across all members’ regions.

With so much data, I started the following visualization:

These words speak to us: research, open, service, access, data, universal, and new. I’ve clustered our updates into the following “large tent” themes: collaboration; digital libraries, open scholarship; equity, diversity & inclusion; and learning.


Libraries collaborate regionally, nationally, and internationally building infrastructure, preserving content, and advocating.  A common way we do so is through national consortia. The National and State Libraries of Australasia (NSLA) commit to shared digital systems for collection access (NED) and in Nigeria, The Association of University Librarians of Nigerian Universities (AULNU), is a forum for policy formulation and resource sharing. We also participate in our universities’ partnerships (e.g. Enlight) and with other national research infrastructure agencies (e.g. The Digital Research Alliance of Canada ; Nationale Forschungsdateninfrastruktur in Germany)

Digital Libraries:

2020 was designated as the Year of Digital Culture in Estonia and this is indicative of the ever growing role of libraries in digital research and scholarship. Our collective activities encompass Digital Humanities, Artificial Intelligence (AI), data management, and digitization and preservation. Our updates are replete with examples of activity in all of these areas as well as a recognition that we need to be growing our knowledge and skills.  Arising from this are concomitant issues regarding privacy, security of data, complex copyright issues, and the ongoing problem of the digital divide both between and within countries.

Open Scholarship:

From 2015 to 2021 there were increasingly rich updates about open scholarship including open science, open access to research data and publications, open education resources, and citizen science.  Slovenia’s National Strategy for Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data, 2015-2020 is a standard example of national and regional requirements for open access to publicly funded research. Similarly, the Botswana Open Data Open Science (ODOS) national committee’s mandate of facilitating open data readiness was a common response at national levels to open data imperatives. The November 2021 ARL blog post is a great read on citizen science in Denmark.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion:

EDI is a shared value which is evident throughout the ARL member updates. In Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States there is ongoing action to decolonize libraries and work towards reconciliation. The National and State Libraries of Australasia (NSLA) hosts the Culturally Safe Libraries Program and The Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) released The Truth and Reconciliation Committee Report and Recommendations.  An EDI lens is being applied to collections, services, and staffing in all countries. The 2020 update from the United States describes how the “senseless killing of Black Americans called for research libraries in the U.S. to address inequality and systemic racism”.


Academic and research libraries are learning institutions and as such we devote a lot of attention to our own development and to that of our students and researchers. Many countries report on the need to develop sophisticated digital skills within library staff and the importance of being able to recruit people with them. An update from Germany reminds us that we increasingly will have to compete with the private sector for such individuals. Attention is also paid to the skills needed by library leaders to facilitate the future digital library.

In an age of prevalent disinformation and misinformation, information literacy has taken on a new edge and critical urgency.  Academic libraries are addressing this in curricular and extra-curricular teaching. A creative approach from South Africa is an initiative to reimagine information literacy mapped against the research lifecycle – a perfect melding of learning and research.

Finally, about COVID: the last two years of submissions were filled with the challenges and the opportunities that the pandemic brought us. Many countries had robust digital infrastructure to rely on, while others experienced more acute challenges. There is a sense though that the pandemic is ultimately another catalyst to keep us moving faster towards the digital, open, and equitable libraries we strive to build.

These themes are just a sampling of our activities and truly the tip of the ARL iceberg. They demonstrate our common values and our commitment to work together to achieve them.


Sharon Murphy
Associate University Librarian
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Canada

GO JOIN! Citizen Science and the role libraries

”If libraries can loan out books – why not a citizen science project?” Dr. Josep Perelló, Open Systems, Barcelona.

A perspective from Denmark and beyond, by Kent Skov Andreasen, Bertil Dorch and Thomas Kaarsted



Drawing: Fritz Ahlefeldt

Citizen Science – the participation of citizens as contributors and co-creators of research – is spreading. Academic, public and research libraries libraries are already taking upon themselves to coordinate and contribute. Building on examples from Denmark, and with perspectives from other countries, we investigate how libraries can assist researchers, provide infrastructure and engage the public.

The BIG Why?

Why should libraries get involved in Citizen Science? We got a zillion of other tasks. Maybe limited budgets. The list is long. In order to answer that, we’ll take our own medicine. Two of our authors here (Bertil and Thomas) work at SDU Library (University Library of Southern Denmark), a research library in Denmark. Crucially. We’re also a public library with the obligation not only to provide materials and services to students and researchers – but also to the citizens of our region.

SDU Library have a commitment to digital literacy, promoting democracy and informed decision making. We are also committed to the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs) agenda. We also happen to represent +3.000 researchers and we see the facilitation of Citizens Science as a means to work for the UN SDG’s, work with citizens including public schools and high schools to introduce science, and also fight “post-factual” society and fake news.

This we have in common with the Odense Public Libraries where Kent work. Odense Public Libraries are a major player in Denmark, they work for the same purpose, and have a long and proud tradition of outreach to society. This includes being partners and a hub for a Citizen Science project within dementia and the elderly.

The roles of libraries

In some sense we’re probably not different from the most other libraries. But we do, perhaps, have a stronger obligation and platform. Our libraries have a strategic partnership. One of the pillars is collaboration within Citizen Science. Also, Bertil and Thomas run a Citizen Science Knowledge Center that provide services to researchers, students and the public and strives at building communities.

So yeah, in that sense we probably ARE different. But we’re still public libraries, and we aim at working with society around us. Thus, the examples and trend below COULD be applied to other libraries. Or maybe the quote at the top of this blog post says it all. Libraries loan out stuff!

Two examples from Denmark

A while back we did a joint Citizen Science project within Narrative Medicine (1). This included literature (books again!) as a tool of dialogue between doctors and patients (or in this case: citizens). SDU Library organized the project, but Kent’s library played a crucial role in recruiting and retaining citizens, organizing reading groups, and drumming up interest and organizing a public hearing that was aired on local TV. Libraries and librarians know their communities. This was a plus here for such a project.

Currently we’re working together on the ‘The Lakes Project’ (2). Biologists at SDU are in the process of mapping the water quality of lakes around Denmark. A massive task. Unsurprisingly, they can’t do it alone. In connection a huge partnership has been built including 22 public libraries. The libraries recruit citizens, lend equipment, collect water samples and importantly Kent’s library puts the researchers in touch with citizens and assists in building up the community. And again: Libraries lends stuff. Yes, this can really be a component in Citizen Science.

Other (really good) examples of libraries and Citizen Science

Luckily, we’re not alone in this field. Citizen Science is spreading, and libraries are involved.

  • Several times a year the Toronto Public Library is housing an “Environmentalist in Residence” for Citizen Science and organizes events, write articles and a blog on various topics. This very special concept is part of the “Our Fragile Planet Programme“. (3)
  • The Tredyffrin Township Libraries are running a tree planting project, called “Tree Tenders”, in which the participants are trained on trees and their care. (4)
  • The Barcelona Network of Public Libraries has done a training programme for staff in order to facilitate and promote Citizen Science. (5)
  • SciScarter have published The Library and Community Guide to Citizen Science. The guide offers manuals, tips, tricks and templates to assist community-based research. (6)

This is merely the tip of the iceberg. Citizen Science as a new platform for dialogue is making tremendous progress. Currently an estimated +5.000 projects are available online through SciStarter, Zooniverse and other platforms. So, yes! There really are good reasons to get involved.

Who we are:

Kent Skov Andreasen: Kent is director of Odense Public Libraries and a member of the IFLA FAIFE Advisory Committee – Freedom of Expression – as well as a former member of the IFLA Governing Board.

Bertil Dorch: @astronerd. Bertil , PhD in astrophysics, Associate Professor and Director of the SDU Library at the University of Southern Denmark, is a standing committee member of the IFLA Academics & research libraries Section.

Thomas Kaarsted: @TKaarsted. Thomas, MA in both History and Public Governance, is Deputy Library Director as well as Director of the SDU Citizen Science Knowledge Center.

References’ links

Further reading:

Cavalier, Darlene & Tiberius Ignat (2019). ”Citizen Science and libraries. Waltzing towards a collaboration.”

Cigarini, Anna, Isabelle Bonhoure, Julián Vicens & Josep Perelló (2021). Public libraries embrace citizen science: Strengths and challenges. Library & Information Science Research, 2021, 1.

Schwerin, Theresa & Vivienne Byrd. Citizen Science at home: Public Libraries and Family Science