LOCKSS | Stanford Libraries


The LOCKSS Program (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe), based at Stanford University is a philosophy, a program, and a technology.

The ACM award-winning open source LOCKSS technology provides peer-to-peer, decentralized digital preservation infrastructure. LOCKSS preserves all formats and genres of web-published content. LOCKSS is OAIS-compliant; the software migrates content forward in time; the bits and bytes are continually audited and repaired and the system is "tamper evident", required to protect fragile digital content for the very long time.

An international community of communities, use the LOCKSS Program’s philosophy and technology to:

Ensure local access, communities’ steward content that matters to them. They control and ensure local access despite

  • Global instability. Today’s international political climate is re-awakening and re-enforcing a requirement for communities take local responsibility of all aspects of their digital heritage: technical, business, economic, legally, and organizationally.
  • Changing publisher practices, business models, pricing, access policies

Share local preservation infrastructure. Small LOCKSS networks (some virtual) are being implemented to secure perpetual access and text and data mining rights for whole communities. Locally controlled, and shared preservation infrastructure is not subject to changing external vendor business practices.

Prevent content destruction. People cause most content loss - accidents (Amazon Cloud outage); censorship (national governments); unfriendly publisher business practice (changing prices and access policies).

  • No central vulnerabilities. LOCKSS networks nodes are independent, de-correlated, with no single point from which modifications can be forced onto the replicas  - to keep content safe.
  • Defensive engineering.  Systems fail. Most systems fail catastrophically. The LOCKSS system is designed to fail slowly so problems can be caught and corrected

Integrate with library, publisher, and web archiving technologies. LOCKSS uniquely contributes to and leverages three ecosystems. This broad industry footprint coordinates technologies and best practices; improves product quality; informs future developments; and lowers costs.

  • Library (institutional repository software, Archivematica, LOCKSS-O-Matic)
  • Publishers. Not just books and journals, all genres and formats from 1000+ publishers, flexible workflows and ingest processes (FTP, harvest, bags, OAI/PMH).
  • Web archiving. To meet future needs cost-effectively and to foster new integrations the LOCKSS system is being re-architected as web services and with IA (lead) LOCKSS is designing and building web archiving system APIs.

Confirm community-validation. CRL awarded the LOCKSS technology the first and only perfect technology score; the research underlying LOCKSS technology won an ACM best research award and led to a Stanford Computer Science PhD; the program has a continuous peer-reviewed publication record; and is economically independent and sustainable.

History.  Dr. David S. H. Rosenthal and Victoria Ann Reich founded the LOCKSS Program in 1998, with the generous support from the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Soros Foundation, and the Library of Congress. In January 2017, the LOCKSS Program became a unit of DLSS with Nicholas Taylor as Program Manager.