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Archive Types

Two major hallmarks of the WEST program are the risk analysis that drives a large part of decision making around what journals are added to the collection, and the risk mitigation efforts that are an integral part of the archiving process. The WEST Collections Model defines levels of risk posed to journals and sorts them into Archive Types, which act as a shorthand for the risk level. The Archive Type of a journal also describes the activities that are undertaken as part of the archiving process to mitigate those risks.

Archive Types & Requirements

Archive Type

Risk profile


Gap Filling


Archiving Members


Low risk: print & electronic full text, some with digital preservation (e.g. CLOCKSS)

Not required

Not required (gifts/transfers accepted)

Batch loaded, LHRs w/ 583 fields

Archive Holders

Archive Builders


Moderate risk: print with selected text access through databases



Summary holdings updated

Yes (active gap filling)

LHRs w/ 583 fields, + outcomes of validation

Archive Builders


Higher risk: print with electronic  abstracting or indexing or no electronic coverage at all


Completeness and condition

Summary holdings updated

Yes (active gap filling)

LHRs w/ 583 fields, + outcomes of validation

Archive Builders

Journals that can be accessed through trusted digital repositories (CLOCKSS, Portico, and JSTOR) fall into the Bronze Archive Type and are considered to be the lowest risk for content loss. As these materials are at low risk for content loss, any WEST member may archive Bronze journals and are only required to update their holdings records to reflect the retention commitment and to disclose the records to both WEST and OCLC per the WEST Disclosure Policy.

Higher risk materials that have fewer electronic access points require physical validation and secure storage. Because of the increased activity required for these materials, only select archivers, called Archive Builders, are asked to take on the responsibility of ensuring that these materials receive these additional protections during the archiving process. Silver journals (which have electronic indexing and some full text availability in common databases) require validation for completeness at the volume level. Gold journals have little to no electronic presence, and so require more intensive validation for completeness and condition at the issue level. Physical volumes for both Silver and Gold journals are moved into storage facilities at the point of archiving, and their records are updated to reflect the outcomes of the validation work that was performed. See the Archiving Standards and Requirements page for more information about the work that goes into building and maintaining the WEST archives.

All materials archived on behalf of WEST are available for interlibrary lending to all WEST member institutions and their patrons. Electronic copies are preferred, but physical volumes will be provided for library use only upon request. See the Access page for more information about how to gain access to WEST archived content.

More information about archiving requirements is available on the Archiving Standards and Requirements page. The Resources for Archivers page includes operational documents related to the archiving process, including policy documents and templates to use for tracking calls for holdings and validation outcomes.