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SPAN FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About SPAN:

University libraries in many regions are working together to collectively manage print periodical holdings. We recognize that electronic journals have diminished the role of print journals, but not entirely eliminated the need for their retention and preservation. We are working collaboratively to ensure that an optimal number of print copies are retained overall. Not every library that has historically held each print journal needs to keep them all. In western Canada the COPPUL Shared Print Archive Network (SPAN) is working on this project.

How does SPAN work?
Where multiple copies of a print journal are held in participating libraries, we agree on an Archive Holder in our group to retain a designated copy of that journal. Other members of the network can then withdraw archived journals from their collections with the assurance that a partner library will retain the title and make it available if needed.

Which libraries are participating?
Athabasca University
Brandon University
Concordia University College of Alberta
King's University College
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
MacEwan University
Mount Royal University
Simon Fraser University
Thompson Rivers University
University of Alberta
University of British Columbia
University of Calgary
University of the Fraser Valley
University of Lethbridge
University of Manitoba
University of Northern British Columbia
University of Regina
University of Saskatchewan
University of Victoria
University of Winnipeg
Vancouver Island University

What does it mean for titles to be archived by this network?
Archive Holders have committed to retaining titles archived in Phase 1 until Dec 31, 2022. Phase 2's low risk titles will be archived until December 31, 2023 and medium risk titles will be archived until December 31, 2038.

What happens after the retention period ends?
Every five years, the SPAN Management Committee will review the state of our archive, the publishing environment, the needs of scholars at participating universities, and the preservation requirements of these titles. A decision will be made about the disposition of the archive—this could be to extend the archive commitment or it could be something else. Needs of readers, and our years of history with the archive will be considered.

What does "appropriate environmental conditions" mean for Archive holders when archiving the medium risk titles in Phase 2?
This wording was left purposely vague in order to accommodate various conditions that might be present at different archiving libraries. Essentially, we did not want to see medium risk titles archived simply in open stacks with free public access as we did not feel this was adequate protection for these titles. Having said that, given that they do have stable electronic access, etc, it was not necessary to require separate high density storage, which will be required for high risk materials in subsequent phases. Medium risk titles can be archived somewhere in the middle - perhaps in closed stacks with some climate control. Please feel free to contact us if you have further questions on this.

If my library is not archiving one of the titles on the list, does that mean it will be discarded?
Decisions about what to withdraw from collections are still made at the local library. Participating in the network does not compel a library to withdraw any material. The usual collection management decision-making process at each institution still applies. Considerations about local electronic holdings, curriculum and research needs, and library space pressures will all be taken into account as usual.

If my library does withdraw a journal I need, how will I get access to it?
Journals archived in phase 1 and phase 2 are all available electronically, so first check to see if your library provides online access. If it does not, or if you require the print for some reason, you will be able to request the article you need through the usual interlibrary loan channels. Check with your local librarian for details if you're not sure how this works. As we know there is a copy within western Canada, delivery is usually within a few days at most, and in many cases will be delivered to your desktop.

If I am an Archive Holder, can I allow SPAN material to circulate among my patrons? Circulations decisions for low and medium risk titles fall to the individual archiving library. They can choose to allow materials to circulate or determine that they are for library use only. High Risk materials, which are archived as of Phase 3, are designated to be in-library use only.

Are you keeping just one copy of each archived title? How do you know that's enough?
The titles archived in Phase 1 of SPAN were specifically selected as low risk titles. All are widely held in participating libraries both in print, and in stable electronic versions. The licenses for the electronic versions of these titles include a provision for post-cancellation access rights, and the titles are also included in a trusted electronic archive such as Portico, CLOCKSS or Scholar's Portal. SPAN is also coordinating with similar shared print archiving initiatives in other jurisdictions, so we know we're not the only group preserving these titles in print.

Titles archived in Phase 2 are mostly higher risk than Phase 1 in that many of them do not have post cancellation access and some titles are Canadian, but they are still widely available in print and in electronic versions as well.

How are you ensuring that the archiving institution will not inadvertently dispose of materials they have agreed to archive?
Archive Holders are required to mark the local catalogue records of the journals that they are committed to retain. Library staff will also be able to view the archived status of materials, their location, and any gaps in the Print Archives Preservation Registry (PAPR) system being developed by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL).

Can my institution join this Network?
At this time participation in SPAN is open only to full members of COPPUL, but an expansion of the Network may be possible in the future. If your library is interested, please contact the COPPUL office.

More questions? Contact your local librarian or Doug Brigham (span@coppul.ca).