To help ensure long-term access to electronic journals, the Library of Congress and the British Library have agreed to support the migration of electronic content to the NLM DTD standard, where practicable. The libraries hope that their advocacy of migration to this standard will help ensure long-term access to electronic journal content.
In the world of e-journals, many publishers and authors are already using or plan to use this standard, from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The advantage of using this standard is that it defines the way in which electronic journals should be structured and creates a uniform, well-defined and easily accessible information resource.
Access in perpetuity to information sources is a key mission of major libraries. This long-term access is necessary for both print and electronic materials. In the print world, cataloging standards are well established. However, for digital materials, these standards are still evolving. By converging on a particular standard, in this case the NLM DTD (http://dtd.nlm.nih.gov/), content distributors are helping to ensure long-term preservation and access to their materials.
The Library of Congress is leading a nationwide program to collect and preserve at-risk digital content of cultural and historical importance to the nation. The program, formally called the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (www.digitalpreservation.gov), is building a "digital preservation network" of partners committed to collecting and preserving specific areas of content for future generations. Laura E. Campbell, associate librarian for Strategic Initiatives, is leading this program.
"The Library of Congress looks forward to working with the British Library and the National Library of Medicine in encouraging the use of this standard by other institutions as well," said Campbell. "Although a significant effort will be required to migrate e-journals to this standard, by moving forward now, we will alleviate the potentially bigger problems caused by the use of incompatible standards in the future."
Richard Boulderstone, director of E-strategy and Programs at the British Library, said, "In supporting this standard, the British Library and the Library of Congress will work with the National Library of Medicine to ensure the open and transparent evolution of the NLM DTD standard by encouraging early adoption by an internationally recognized standards body. We acknowledge considerable work that has to be undertaken by publishers to make the transition to a new structure for their electronic journal content. However, by supporting a common structure for their e-journal content, we have established a shared international context in which such migration can now proceed."