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Against The Grain Journal

Charleston Library Conference 

Dec 18, 2016

You Can't Preserve What You Don't Have - Or Can You? Libraries as Infrastructure for Perpetual Access to Intellectual Output

Since their existence, libraries have been responsible for preserving society's records and intellectual output. This ancient and important role is under serious threat in the digital age. Even for scholarly journals, the issue of perpetual access has not been solved, other than by libraries buying access to archival materials. Recently, it became clear that the open access business model, with a focus on free access to new publications, introduces new problems for the archival role of libraries.

So if ownership is crucial for preservation, who will ensure future generations have access to scholarly journal content of past times? Who are the actors in this new environment and what opportunities can be identified to address this important issue?


Anja Smit

Utrecht University
University Librarian
The Netherlands
After an international career of over 20 years in library management and library automation, I joined Utrecht University in 2010. Previously, I have served as a university librarian at two other Dutch Universities (Nijmegen and Maastricht) and spent 3 years in the US. As an Executive Consultant for Nelinet (now merged in Lyrasis) I helped libraries on strategic and tactical planning, human resource management, facilities renovation, and other topics critical to library administrators.Other national and international activities include Chairing of the Dutch Consortium of University Libraries and the Royal Library (UKB), membership of the Board of a Public Library, LIBER Board membership, and President of OCLC’s Global Council 2015-2016.