☰ Menu

COPPUL Private LOCKSS Network Governance Policy

1.0 Introduction and Mission

1.1 The COPPUL Private LOCKSS Network

The COPPUL Private LOCKSS Network (COPPUL PLN) is a project initiated by the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL). The COPPUL PLN was established in December 2007, when the Directors of COPPUL libraries agreed to support a two year pilot project. The eight founding members of the COPPUL PLN are AthabascaUniversity, SimonFraserUniversity, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Manitoba, University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Winnipeg. These institutions are the charter members of the COPPUL PLN Steering Committee.

1.2 Mission and Purpose

The mission of the COPPUL PLN is to preserve digital collections of local interest to COPPUL members that are not being preserved elsewhere, other than local backup. Digital preservation, for purposes of this policy, means ensuring the long-term viability of digital materials through geographically dispersed servers, protective measures against data loss, and forward format migration. Digital materials such as small university press publications, open access journals and other electronic journal collections, born digital government publications, and locally created digital collections that are at risk of being lost are preserved as part of the program (see Appendix C for Collection Guidelines). This network will also be used to act as a backup server in cases where the main server is unavailable. It will also act as a means of restoring lost data.

1.3 Need for Digital Preservation

Over the past ten years libraries have made a drastic shift from purchasing primarily print journals to purchasing or subscribing to a large number of electronic journals and other types of scholarship in electronic form. While this change has improved access to scholarly information, it has also raised concerns about the preservation of this electronic content. There are many unique, Canadian, digital materials that are not being preserved by publishers or any other group. These materials are a vital part of our Canadian heritage and are at risk of being lost as technologies change and publication cycles end. There are also many small university press publications, born digital government publications, open access journals and electronic theses and dissertations, all at risk of being lost and unavailable for future study. Long-term access for future generations of scholars is the responsibility of academic libraries and must be addressed in an expedited manner.

1.4 Operating Principles

The COPPUL PLN is guided by the following operating principles:

  • Commitment to the long-term preservation of Canadian digital scholarship and information.
  • Application of the LOCKSS digital preservation software as the principal system for distributing copies of replicated content in secure, distributed locations
  • Exploration of new technologies and best practices for digital preservation
  • Ensuring that preservation strategies remain low-cost and sustainable while maintaining sufficient capacity to accommodate the largest collections held therein

2.0 Membership

2.1 Membership Composition

Any COPPUL full member institutions that are able to meet the COPPUL PLN membership requirements are eligible to participate as members in the COPPUL PLN. There must be a minimum of seven members for the COPPUL PLN to function. There is no maximum number of members; however, the addition of new members to the COPPUL PLN must be moderately paced to allow existing members to expand their infrastructure.

2.2 Requirements for Membership

COPPUL PLN membership requirements are as follows:

  • Member institutions must be current full members of COPPUL.
  • Member institutions must be able to provide, set up, and maintain servers that meet the technical specifications required by the LOCKSS software and the minimum storage requirements as decided on by the COPPUL PLN Technical Committee.
  • Member institutions may submit digital collections for preservation by the COPPUL PLN. Identifying, preparing and submitting relevant collections for preservation is the responsibility of each member, with oversight by the Steering Committee.
  • Member institutions will harvest other member institutions’ submitted collections by maintaining a functioning LOCKSS server within the PLN.
  • Member institutions must agree to participate in the COPPUL PLN for a minimum of three years.
  • Member institutions must commit to joining the LOCKSS Alliance, and pay the associated fees. No additional membership fees are required by COPPUL PLN.

2.2.1 Requests to Waive the Requirements for Membership

If a COPPUL member institution has digital materials that require preservation but are unable to meet requirements for membership in the COPPUL PLN, that institution may apply to have any or all membership requirements waived. The COPPUL PLN Steering Committee will meet to discuss possible alternate membership arrangements on a per-case basis.

2.2.2 Applications for Membership

The COPPUL PLN will consider applications for membership from any COPPUL full member institution. An institution may apply by forwarding an application (see Appendix A) to the Chair of the COPPUL PLN Steering Committee. Applications will be reviewed and approved by the Steering Committee.

2.3 Withdrawing from the Network

Members agree to participate in the COPPUL PLN for a minimum term of three years, thereafter with a minimum of six months’ notice required to withdraw from the PLN. If a member institution wishes to withdraw at the conclusion of the initial three-year term, it may do so by providing written notice to the Chair of the COPPUL PLN steering committee. Upon withdrawal from the COPPUL PLN, the withdrawing member’s content may be deleted from all COPPUL PLN servers. The withdrawing member will delete the content of other members from its COPPUL PLN server.

3.0 Costs

The COPPUL PLN seeks to provide a low-cost, high-impact digital preservation solution, for the benefit of members. The group will work with the LOCKSS program (based at StanfordUniversity) to develop and maintain the LOCKSS software running within the PLN.

While there will not be a direct cost to join the COPPUL PLN, members will incur the following monetary and in-kind costs due to their participation in the COPPUL PLN:

1) All members must join the LOCKSS Alliance and pay its annual membership fee, as determined by LOCKSS (based upon size of institution). The payment will be arranged directly between each individual member institution and LOCKSS, and entitles members to full participation and benefit of joining the Alliance. For more information on LOCKSS Alliance membership, see: http://www.lockss.org/lockss/LOCKSS_Alliance

2) Members must install and run a LOCKSS server on the COPPUL PLN network (CPLN). Equipment and local resources required for set-up and maintenance are the responsibility of each member. Each institution must meet capacity required for the PLN to function, as determined by the Technical Policy Committee and approved by the Steering Committee. Each member is responsible for their own server administration, cache monitoring, and equipment upgrades.

3) Members must agree to bear the local costs of identifying, preparing and submitting their relevant collections for preservation in the COPPUL PLN, as well as staff costs involved with participation in the project (meetings, etc).

4.0 Organization and Governance

The COPPUL PLN will be governed by a Steering Committee that oversees the general operation of the COPPUL PLN. A Technical Committee will function as a sub-group of the Steering Committee.

4.1 Steering Committee

The Steering Committee consists of one voting representative from each member institution. The term of service is a minimum of one year; representatives may be reappointed to subsequent annual terms. The Steering Committee is responsible for deciding policy and governance issues, membership, and setting general directions for the PLN, including increasing capacity. The group will strive to come to consensus on all issues, but will be governed by majority vote, wherein each member institution has one vote. A Chairperson will be elected from amongst the member representatives, for a one-year term.

4.2 Technical Committee

The Technical Committee advises the Steering Committee of matters relating to technical requirements and network capacity. The Committee shall consist of five individuals from member institutions, as well as the Chair of the Steering Committee. The term of service is a minimum of one year; representatives may be reappointed to subsequent annual terms.

4.3 Communication

Because of the geographic distribution of COPPUL PLN members, communications will generally take place via teleconference meetings and web-based applications such as email and a group wiki. Meetings of the Steering Committee will take place at least quarterly, and will be called by the Chair.

5.0 Services and Operations

5.1 Content Oversight

All COPPUL PLN members retain ownership of the content they submit to the PLN. This content may remain in the PLN indefinitely. However, the Steering Committee reserves the right to review and remove any stored files, including but not limited to content that has been submitted without proper copyright clearances.

5.2 Disaster Recovery

The Technical Committee will develop a Disaster Recovery Plan that defines how the PLN will be integrated into the Members’ network infrastructure so that it may reliably and easily restore access to preserved content that is no longer available at its original source. This Plan will define trigger events for the various types of content and expected results of restoring access for each type of content, e.g., for journals, automatic and seamless access for end users; for “staged” content, ease of retrieval by the owning organization. This Plan will also define a testing framework that can be executed periodically to ensure the robustness of the Plan. The Plan should where ever possible adopt best practice from other PLNs.

5.3 Network Reports

Members have access to various reports generated by the CPLN LOCKSS servers. It is the responsibility of each member to review these reports to ensure that the network node is reliably harvesting content and polling other nodes for content integrity.


A: Application for Membership

B: Technical Specifications

C: Collection Guidelines

Appendix A

COPPUL Private LOCKSS Network: Application for Membership

This application should be completed by an individual with signing authority for the institution joining the COPPUL Private LOCKSS Network (COPPUL PLN). Signature indicates agreement to the terms and conditions as outlined in the COPPUL PLN Governance Policy.

The applicant institution must:

1) Meet the criteria for membership described in section 2 of the Governance Policy.

2) Agree to install and maintain a LOCKSS server in the CPLN network. The server must meet the requirements outlined in the COPPUL PLN Technical Specifications document (Appendix B of the Governance Policy).

3) Agree to harvest all the digital content in the PLN from all other COPPUL PLN member institutions.

4) Join the LOCKSS Alliance for the duration of their membership in the COPPUL PLN.

5) Commit to an initial membership term of not less than three years’ duration, with a one-year notice to cancel membership thereafter.

Please type or print clearly the information requested below 

Name and title of authorized representative:
Signature of authorized representative:

Approved by the COPPUL PLN

Signature of COPPUL PLN Steering Committee Chair:
Name and Title:

Appendix B

COPPUL Private LOCKSS Network: Technical Specifications

The information below is intended to provide information that might be useful to libraries planning on joining the COPPUL Private LOCKSS Network. For the most current and complete information, contact: locks-support@lockss.org.

Recommended server specifications

Detailed information on server and storage specifications is available at: http://lockss.org/lockss/Installing_LOCKSS.

Some members of the COPPUL LOCKSS PLN use decommissioned workstations instead of server-class hardware. These workstations meet the CPU speed, RAM, and storage requirements detailed at the above URL.

Virtualized servers are not suitable since LOCKSS’ I/O requirements exceed those typically supported by virtualization platforms.

LOCKSS support staff recommend local disk storage, since USB and Firewire interfaces will not provide sufficient throughput. While it is possible to use network attached storage over iSCSI, support for attached storage is still under development. As of September 2009, all members of the COPPUL PLN must install at least 2 TB of storage on their respective servers in order to preserve the entire membership’s content. Minimum storage capacity per server is expected to increase as more content is added to the PLN.

Network configuration

 LOCKSS servers must have a stable IP address. Statically assigned IP addresses or DHCP addresses that are permanently reserved for the server’s MAC address are suitable configurations. It is important that if a server’s IP address changes, LOCKSS staff should be warned in advance of the change, since the PLN is configured using IP addresses, not hostnames. It is also possible to have a LOCKSS server use NAT; sites requiring this configuration should consult with LOCKSS technical staff.

Servers on the COPPUL PLN must have a hostname following the pattern cpln.yourdomain.ca. This hostname can be a DNS alias to another hostname if necessary.

Members who need to put their servers behind a firewall should contact LOCKSS support staff for details about which ports need to be opened.

In order for LOCKSS to provide seamless access to preserved content, each library’s LOCKSS server must be integrated with its campus proxy using one of the methods described at: http://lockss.org/lockss/How_It_Works#Providing_Access.

Other considerations

LOCKSS servers run the OpenBSD operating system, provided in the form of a bootable ISO disk image. Running the LOCKSS application on Linux is also supported but not recommended (see http://lockss.org/lockss/Installing_LOCKSS_on_Linux for more information). Updates and security patches are provided by the LOCKSS team and are applied automatically (or if manual configuration is required, the LOCKSS team will send an email to server administrators). More information on security is available at: http://lockss.org/lockss/Security.

Anticipated network traffic should not pose any problems since all nodes in the COPPUL PLN are connected via the high-capacity CANet.

COPPUL PLN members may belong to more than one PLN or to the public LOCKSS network at no extra cost; however, membership in each network requires a separate server.

Appendix C

COPPUL Private LOCKSS Network: Collection Guidelines

The COPPUL Private LOCKSS Network aims to preserve electronic collections of local interest that are not already being preserved through any other means. As collections are put forward by participating institutions, all members will preserve them via the private network, in order to have a distributed method of preservation for collections that are of importance to the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The following guidelines will help member institutions identify collections that are appropriate candidates for preservation via this initiative:

      1. Collections must be of local interest and significance to the member institution putting the collection forward.
      2. Collections must be of greater than usual risk of being lost if not preserved by LOCKSS (they are not being archived/preserved elsewhere). Local backup is not sufficient for mitigating risk to the collection.
      3. Collections should be “open” to all members, or all members must subscribe to the product being considered. Subscription content will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
      4. Titles subscribed to via large commercial packages should be excluded from consideration. 

Examples of types of materials eligible for inclusion:

  • Open access journals hosted by a member institution.
  • Digitized collections hosted by a member institution.
  • Open access journals/collections of reports and papers about or originating from a member institution, particularly those stored as part of an Institutional Repository
  • Open access or subscription journals with a Western/local focus (not hosted by a member institution but deemed an important part of its collection). 
  • Open access journals relating to major collections at a member institution’s library
  • Websites/Online resources that form an important part of a member institution’s collection