Archiving in a Digital World

Scholarly journals and articles are now more commonly accessed digitally than physically. With this change in how we access journals and articles comes a change in how they are archived and preserved.
If properly maintained, physical copies of literature can last for hundreds of years. Publishers have traditionally relied on libraries to preserve such materials. In the digital age, however, most online journals and articles are stored on the publications’ servers, but what if those servers don’t exist in the future? Further, as technology changes, will content created today be compatible with new technology? If the hardware and operating systems we use today do not exist in the future, files may not be interpretable.
In an attempt to address these archiving issues, some content aggregators have become digital libraries, storing and saving content in online databases. However, the technology questions remain, and in recent years, many online publications have added the capability to enhance articles with multimedia attachments such as video. According to the 2018 Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers Report, the digital archiving programs only save text, so the multimedia supplements could potentially be lost.
Long-term preservation of scholarly literature is imperative. Studies, cases, and other scholarly literature must be accessible. The Ochsner Journal realizes the importance of preserving research, and that’s why, in addition to digitally archiving the Journal in two online archives, we physically print a limited number of each issue. From the first issue to the latest, physical copies of the Journal are safely stored.