About Us > FAQ


What is Portico?
Portico is a community-supported “dark archive” for e-journal, e-book, and digitized collections and other forms of electronic scholarly content. Scholarly publishers as well as academic and related libraries support the Portico archive. Portico has been certified by the Center for Research Libraries as a Trustworthy Digital Repository. To achieve this certification, Portico underwent a rigorous review process that confirmed that our practices conform to the standards set by the preservation community.

What is a “dark archive”?
A dark archive is a long-term failsafe solution to ensure that online published content can never become permanently unavailable. In the case of Portico, this means that Portico is invested in the long-term management and care of publisher supplied content, not near-term access to that content. Content in a dark archive is never made available for use unless the established criteria for access are met.

Why should I participate?
Publishers: Publishers can select Portico as a perpetual access—or post-cancellation access—mechanism for their e-journals and e-books. The majority of the titles in the Portico archive are available for access if needed. Digital preservation is an important, yet complex undertaking. Its importance is increasing as libraries continue to make the print to digital transition. Hundreds of publishers and societies entrust their content to Portico because they value Portico’s robust process of deep analysis and pre-emptive content migration. These activities ensure the best possible long-term preservation (and delivery, if necessary) of their content.

Libraries: The abundance of e-content has hastened the shift away from print resources while posing a significant challenge to librarians to maintain long-term institutional access in an e-only environment. Librarians have traditionally relied on print as the ultimate insurance against technological obsolescence and license cancellations. However, the cost of buying, processing, and storing print has become prohibitive, causing librarians to raise many questions about providing ongoing access in an e-only environment. Now it is possible to reduce your reliance – and spending – on the print edition, without losing your back up plan.

What does it cost?
Portico is offered to libraries and publishers on a sliding scale. We offer additional savings to participating consortia and Archive Founders.

For publishers the fee is based on yearly revenue. You can see a chart of general cost here: http://www.portico.org/digital-preservation/join-portico/for-publishers

For libraries the fee is based on the LME (or Total Materials Expenditure).

What content can I access on Portico?
Trigger events: All publishers participating in Portico allow Portico to make their archived content available for use by Portico participating libraries in the case of a “trigger event.” Portico defines a trigger event as any condition which causes a title or titles to no longer be available from the publisher or any other source.

Trigger events include:
•Publisher is no longer in business or is no longer in the business of publishing or providing online access to previously published content and there is no successor, transferee or licensee providing access.
•Discontinuation of a title by a publisher and there is no successor, transferee or licensee providing access.
•Catastrophic and sustained failure of a publisher’s delivery platform for longer than 90 days and there is no successor, transferee or licensee providing access
Because Portico is a community supported archive, when content triggers through Portico, it is made available to all Portico Participating Libraries, whether or not they had previously purchased or subscribed to the content.

What about post-cancellation/perpetual access?
Publishers may also choose to name Portico as a perpetual access mechanism through which their former customers/subscribers, who are also Portico participants, may request access to content.

Visit the participating title page to see which titles are eligible for post cancellation/perpetual access. There will be a “yes” in the “PCA” column if the title is available for post cancellation access. You can find that page here.

For many publishers, Portico is not the only perpetual access alternative. We encourage librarians to investigate all of their options, including requesting access directly from the relevant publisher, so that they can make the best access decision for their libraries.

Are Usage Statistics available?
Portico is primarily a dark preservation archive with just a few accessible titles that have been made available due to discontinuation by publishers, and therefore there is usually no or very low usage. Currently, we do not have a way for you to gather usage statistics directly through Portico’s site. However we can provide Usage Statistics report upon request. Note that this is a manual process and make take some time to generate.

I want to discard our print copies; do you offer a Holdings Comparison?
Portico offers a Holding Comparison service to participating and non-participating libraries. This allows them to manage the preservation status of their collection, compare costs to other preservation solutions and inform decisions about joining Portico. You’ll just need to submit a list of ISSNs to participation@portico.org. Then Portico will perform and return your comparison, free of charge.

What is the Portico audit site and how do I get access to it?
Each participating library may also name up to four librarians who are granted password-controlled access to the archive for verification purposes. Auditors can verify the completeness of their collections, the status of the content within the archive and the quality of individual journals, books, etc. Auditor access is not for distributing content to patrons, for interlibrary loans, document delivery, or for any purpose other than testing the integrity of the archival items.

How do I become an auditor?
Libraries may send any new auditor requests or changes to our Support team at support@portico.org or call us at 877-422-4022.

What are my linking options with Portico?
The Portico delivery system uses Open URL links. The base URL is: http://www.portico.org/openurl/resolver.
Portico works with the following linking and A-Z list vendors to ensure that information about triggered content is available in their knowledge bases. It is important to know that Portico supports inbound linking only.:
• CrossRef
• ExLibris
• Gold Rush
• Journal Finder
• SerialsSolutions
• TDnet
• Worldcat knowledge base