E-Book Preservation: EBSCO’s Ongoing Commitment to Preservation and Access for Libraries

Workflow | November 29, 2017

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Digital preservation is an essential issue for libraries. EBSCO highlights its commitment to preserving e-books.

As libraries and their patrons continue to move towards selecting e-books over print books, the obvious differences between the two have resulted in additional challenges, not the least of which is preservation. While preserving a purchased print book lies solely with the purchaser, e-books surface questions about the responsibilities of the e-book provider in ensuring that customers’ digital purchases are available in perpetuity. The Technology Watch Report entitled Preserving eBooks commissioned by the Digital Preservation Coalition details many of the challenges inherent in digital book preservation. It’s also one of the three core principles at the heart of The Charlotte Initiative, an Andrew W. Mellon funded research grant to study the current state of e-books in the academic market.

Although e-book providers have varying policies on preservation responsibilities, EBSCO is committed to continued accessibility of its e-books. EBSCO continues to be rated 5A1, Dun and Bradstreet’s highest rating for financial stability and is one of the most stable companies in the library industry. EBSCO has been dedicated to serving libraries for more than 70 years so it has plans in place even in the unlikely event that it ceases to operate or due to changes in scope.

EBSCO’s past history in helping preserve e-books for libraries and its ongoing efforts to provide continual access to e-books demonstrates its commitment to libraries.

Partners in E-Book Preservation

In 2014, EBSCO partnered successfully with M.E. Sharpe when the publisher opted to discontinue its Sharpe-Online Reference (SOLR) platform. SOLR customers were given unlimited simultaneous access to their purchased titles on EBSCO eBooks™ both during the transition period and once the SOLR platform became inoperable.

For EBSCO eBooks customers, EBSCO commits to preserving all purchased e-books in its customer agreements. Since it is important to customers that preservation of e-books be handled by a third party, EBSCO has signed an agreement with Portico to provide archival services to preserve EBSCO eBooks. Portico’s archiving service is designed to ensure quality preservation of digital files to ensure the enduring usability, authenticity, discoverability and accessibility of content over the very long-term.

“EBSCO is committed to e-books and e-book customers, we know libraries have concerns about preservation and perpetual access, and we want to support libraries and do what we can to ensure that titles that are purchased are accessible,” explains EBSCO Vice President of Book Strategy and Product Management, Ken Breen.

In addition to the Portico arrangement, EBSCO’s production data centers in Ipswich, Massachusetts are fully redundant and concurrently maintainable; components are fully fault-tolerant including uplinks, storage, chillers, HVAC systems, and servers, and EBSCO has a dual-powered (Fault Tolerance) infrastructure. These safeguards minimize the risks of content loss and site downtime.

“EBSCO is committed to e-books and e-book customers, we know libraries have concerns about preservation and perpetual access, and we want to support libraries and do what we can to ensure that titles that are purchased are accessible,”

Continued Access for Perpetuity

EBSCO recognizes technological obsolescence as a threat to successful digital preservation and takes necessary actions to ensure digital continuity. In the event that EBSCO is no longer able to provide access to e-books under the terms of a library’s purchase, EBSCO will work to ensure either 1.) delivery of the appropriate content directly to libraries, or 2.) delivery of the appropriate content to a similar e-book aggregator, as needed, to ensure all access rights granted by EBSCO are continued through a comparable service which can support the existing terms of the agreement.

In the event that no successor organization can be identified and titles are not available through other services, Portico will act as our preservation safeguard by offering access to affected titles through their archive.

EBSCO’s financial strength and position as one of the most stable library service providers means its preservation plans may never come into play, but its commitment to libraries means EBSCO is set to serve its customers in perpetuity.

For more information about Portico, visit http://www.portico.org/digital-preservation/.

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