Senior Vice President, Open Collections & Infrastructure
Libraries use a variety of systems and tools to build, manage, provide access to, preserve, and distribute digital versions of their special and primary source collections. As more of these valuable materials have been digitized and become discoverable, opportunities have exploded for those collections to be used by students and researchers, not only locally, but around the world. However, institutions are also facing the reality of increased costs associated with maintaining and preserving these important resources, particularly as accessibility mandates need to be met and research practices evolve (e.g., text and data mining, generative artificial intelligence, etc.). Over the last three years, ITHAKA has supported a pilot to test whether the infrastructure created to support JSTOR and Portico could be used to provide more cost-effective and impactful access to and preservation of these collections. During that pilot, 300 institutions published nearly 1,700 digitized collections to JSTOR with the hypothesis that: (1) putting their digitized collections on the JSTOR platform would expand the reach of those collections for research and teaching; and (2) having those primary source collections available alongside the important secondary literature already on the JSTOR platform could improve the research process. We will review what we learned in that pilot, providing evidence of what worked, what did not, and how this pilot work has evolved into an emerging stack of infrastructure services from JSTOR and Portico.