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WEST Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The Who, What, Where and How of WEST

Accessing WEST Archives

The Call for Holdings and Contributing Volumes to a WEST Archiver

The Who, What, Where and How of WEST…

What is WEST?

WEST is the Western Regional Storage Trust, a collaborative, distributed, retrospective print journal archiving program supported by academic libraries and library consortia in the Western region of the United States.

What are the goals and benefits of WEST?

The goals and benefits of WEST are to:

Preserve the scholarly print journal record

Provide access, when needed, to the scholarly print record

Facilitate space reclamation in WEST library and storage facilities

What are the environmental conditions for WEST materials?

Typically, WEST archives are stored in two types of locations: long-term storage facilities and full-service libraries. The higher risk, silver and gold archives are kept in storage facilities that meet environmental control standards for long-term preservation; low risk bronze titles are often stored in campus libraries that meet standards for short-term preservation. For more detailed information, please review the WEST Environmental Standards.

Who are the members of WEST?

The WEST membership is made up of over 65 academic and research institutions. Most of the member libraries are direct members, while some are consortial members through the Statewide California Electronic Licensing Consortium (SCELC). A full list of members is available.

Where are WEST volumes held?

WEST is a distributed archive. Archived volumes are held at a number of member libraries and library storage facilities. WEST members that have agreed to maintain materials on behalf of WEST are known as Archive Holders.

How are materials selected for the WEST archives?

WEST materials are identified for archiving based on a biennial analysis of member holdings to prioritize titles based on:

  • Degree of overlap among WEST members
  • Associated risk (based on print and electronic availability, digital preservation services and additional selection criteria).

WEST has defined six Title Categories with varying risk profiles ranging from “print and electronic format with digital preservation in Portico or CLOCKSS” to “print only with no electronic form.” Each Title Category is associated with an Archive Type (Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum) that describes the level of archiving effort appropriate for the category (i.e. validation for completeness and condition, gap-filling, holdings update, environmental conditions, etc.). For more information about selection, title categories and archive types, please see the WEST Collections Model.

How will libraries know what titles have been archived in WEST?

Part of the WEST archiving process is to record the archived status, location, and other pertinent information in OCLC WorldCat and the Print Archives Preservation Registry (PAPR) system. In WorldCat, library staff may view the archived status of individual titles and use the WEST Profiled Group to process resource sharing requests. Searching in the PAPR system, library staff may display and download a list of materials archived in WEST (and other programs). Collection comparison reports are also available to WEST members so that they can identify titles from their library‘s collection that are already archived in WEST. A list of all archived titles is also available in AGUA, the WEST decision support tool.

How long are WEST volumes retained?

WEST Archive Holders agree to retain WEST materials for a period of 25 years from the beginning of WEST (through December 31, 2035).

How is WEST funded?

During the first two phases of the WEST program (from 2011-2013 and 2013-2016), WEST will have been funded through a combination of annual member fees and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grants. In 2016, WEST will achieve sustainability and become a fully member-supported program.

How is WEST governed?

The WEST Program Statement outlines the agreement and operating principles underlying the WEST collaboration. An Executive Committee composed of representatives from 9 member institutions oversees the management and development of WEST. An Operations and Collections Council (OCC) provides operational guidance for WEST activities. The California Digital Library (CDL) at the University of California serves as Administrative Host for the WEST program.

How does a library join WEST?

Libraries that wish to join WEST should contact Alison Wohlers, WEST Program Manager.

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Accessing WEST Archives…

As a WEST member, can my library safely withdraw titles preserved in the distributed archive? Is the intent to preserve WEST content in perpetuity even if an individual repository’s commitment lasts for 25 years?

Given the tremendous changes taking place in library management and scholarly communication, we assume that the issues influencing library collection development and preservation will be substantially different in 2035. WEST creates a window of time during which retention of print material is guaranteed to control risks and aid decision-making during a transitional period. WEST is part of a larger set of efforts to develop new models for preservation of the scholarly record; while many of the WEST Archive Holders intend to keep their backfiles for more than 25 years, that obligation is not mandated by the WEST program itself.

What are the policies for accessing WEST volumes?

WEST materials may be loaned to WEST members, and to any other libraries to which WEST Archive Holders would normally lend materials. The following delivery methods are preferred and recommended for all Archive Types, in order of precedence:

  • Provide electronic document delivery (including color scans when appropriate)
  • Provide photocopies
  • Loan the physical issue or volume to the borrowing institution for building use only

See the WEST Access Policy for more details.

Are any special procedures required to obtain a print volume?

WEST materials should be loaned using existing ILL procedures, and might include the use of OCLC Profiled Group features to facilitate identifying WEST and other shared print materials.

What digitized journal collections are represented in WEST?

WEST Title Category 1 archives are journals that have been digitally preserved through secure services such as Portico or CLOCKSS. WEST is also actively working to complete the archiving of all JSTOR Arts & Sciences titles (which are classified as WEST Title Category 6).

Are WEST Archivers digitizing titles?

At this point in time, WEST Archivers are not digitizing WEST titles on behalf of the Trust; instead, they are building complete (to the degree possible) print backfiles in secure conditions that ensure long-term preservation. WEST has begun to engage with its members to determine what interest exists in digitizing the high-risk, print-only backfiles.

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The Call for Holdings and Contributing Volumes to a WEST Archiver

What is a “call for holdings”?

Simply put, WEST Archive Builders send requests to WEST members for specific volumes to fill gaps in one or more journal backfiles being archived on behalf of the trust. A Builder may request holdings from a number of institutions; the number of requests will depend on what the Builder requires to make a full and complete backfile. Requests for holdings contain a list of the specific titles and volumes needed.

Archive Builders are responsible for “building” and preserving high-risk print-only titles that are either only electronically indexed or have no electronic access points. More information on the “calls for holdings” process is available on the Archiving Standards & Requirements page.

Is there a deadline to respond to a call for holdings?

The decision to contribute to the WEST archive is made locally by the member. However, the member is asked to communicate their decision in response to a call for holdings as soon as possible. Each Builder is responsible for sending out two calls each cycle; if you are unable to fill all or some gaps, it is important to let the Builder know so that they may approach another member. Your facilitation of this process and contributions are greatly appreciated!

Who pays for shipping?

The contributing library (i.e. the sender and not the Archiver) is responsible for covering the cost of shipping.

Do I need to send all of the materials at the same time?

No. If it is easier or more convenient, please feel free to send several small shipments.

Do WEST Archivers accept microfilm or CD ROM?

If original supplementary materials include microfilm, CDs, CD Rom or other materials, WEST will include those items in the print archive. However, WEST is a print journal archive, and as such does not archive microfilm or CD ROM copies of print journals.

What if our volumes are bound with other titles or missing issues/incomplete?

Please notify the Archive Builder of missing or incomplete issues; depending on the circumstances, the Builder might still accept the item(s).

Builders will gladly accept the bound with/additional volumes or issues (there is no need to unbind).

What if the materials are in poor condition or reprints?

Please notify the Archive Builder of materials in very poor condition or of any reprints that you are aware of. In most cases, unless there is a strong concern that the materials will not survive shipment, the Archive Builder will gladly accept the item(s).

My institution/state requires the use of a Deed of Gift (or another agreement that requires signatory authority); how do we go about processing this?

Local institutional policies vary regarding signatory authority. The contributing/donor library should determine who has such authority at their library, and communicate directly with the Archive Builder in question about completing the donation. Several of the WEST Archive Builders have successfully worked with members to complete a Deed of Gift.

I’m ready to ship. What do I need to do?

It is up to your discretion whether you remove any barcodes, stamps or other library markings. Although not necessary, Archive Builders recommend that you include a packing list with your shipment (particularly if you are sending several shipments). As well, please notify the Builder that your shipment is going out and provide tracking numbers so that the Builder is prepared to receive the materials.

We’d like to keep a title that is being requested in a call; can we be the archiver?

Each cycle, WEST’s six Archive Builders are selected to archive a set list of titles based on the semi-automated WEST collections analysis (which identifies who has the deepest backfile, the electronic availability (of lack thereof), and the amount of duplication across WEST members). Furthermore, each Archive Builder has been selected to archive for the Trust because their facilities meet the environmental conditions outlined in the WEST Environmental Standards policy to ensure long-term preservation of the materials.

Although other WEST members might not be able to act as Archive Builders for the Trust, if you possess a deep backfile that you would like to retain on behalf of the Trust, WEST invites you to nominate your backfile(s) to be archived in place. To support Title Nominations for Deep Backfiles to Hold in Place, the Operations and Collections Council created a policy for accepting title nominations and a template for submitting nominations.

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