Long-term Access Policy

The mission of the Washington University Libraries is to support learning, teaching, research, and creative expression at the university by providing timely and effective access to information for the broad university community. As stewards of the university’s library collections, we are committed to securing long-term, perpetual access to the print and electronic content you depend on.

  • The purchase of several journal backfiles such as JSTOR and Project Muse and subscriptions to digital archives make our commitment to long-term electronic access a reality. As more information is available electronically, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure access by several means—
    • Licensing agreements we make with journal publishers emphasize stable and long-term access to content. We do not consider full-text databases or free online access stable, and we will not rely on such formats as long-term options.
    • Our membership in Portico offers Washington University Libraries a permanent archive of e-journals, e-books, and digitized historical collections of content to which we have subscribed. If a title is no longer available from a publisher or other source, Portico will ensure campus-wide access.
    • Our membership in HathiTrust, a partnership of major academic and research libraries collaborating to preserve and provide access to the published record in digital form, offers our users access to a comprehensive archive of published literature from around the world— digitized and available for download.

We understand that in some disciplines the need for printed books and journals remains. That is why the Libraries continue to enhance our own collections with printed materials and strive to meet your needs for long-term access to printed books and journals. In order to do so, we rely on:

  • The CRL/JSTOR Print Archive Project provides us, as a member of the Center for Research Libraries, with the assurance that print versions of all JSTOR archive titles are available should the JSTOR electronic archive be unable to meet our needs.
  • The Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST), a distributed retrospective print journal repository program serving research libraries, college and university libraries, and library consortia in the Western Region of the United States.
  • The MOBIUS Consortium, a midwestern collaborative offering reliable, efficient access to over 30 million items.
  • The Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA), providing access to the collections of 39 major university and research libraries in the central and western United States.
  • The OCLC SHARES Consortium offers access to restricted, rare, noncirculating, and special collections that research institutions would not normally lend.
  • The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) identifies and preserves unique and uncommon documentation and evidence to ensure its long-term integrity and accessibility to researchers worldwide.
  • Foremost in our minds is our commitment to providing long-term, assured access to content you need for your scholarly endeavors. All decisions made are in pursuit of this goal.

For more information about the University Libraries’ commitment to perpetual access, or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact your subject librarian.