LegalPAPR Takes Off!

Starting about 2004 LLMC began working with LIPA (the Legal Information Preservation Alliance) toward the goal of establishing a central repository of information by which libraries could determine whether given print titles were being preserved in reasonably per-manent archival conditions. It was hoped that the such a service would enable libraries con-sidering the discard of any of their titles to determine if they were perhaps destroying a “last best copy.” For several years, LLMC provided the use of its database as an interim home for the registry. However, it was assumed by all that eventually the response-bility for the registry, and participation there-in, would have to be shared more broadly. To be truly effective it would have to become a national effort.

Fortunately, the basis for a truly national effort was being developed elsewhere. A Print Registry, with a mission scope much broader than just legal literature, was under develop-ment by our partner, the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). Its project, dubbed “PAPR” (i.e., the Print Archives Preservation Registry) was envisioned by CRL, funded by the Mellon Foundation, and being executed with a devel-opment partner, the California Digital Libra-ry. PAPR’s stated mission was “to disclose granular holdings information about print serials being preserved by formal efforts dedi-cated to ensuring that this essential material remains available for future research and scholarship. PAPR aims to be a permanent solution.  Its registry makes available online, not only information about titles and hold-ings, but also important information about environmental conditions at the facilities in which the material is preserved.” A subsidiary goal of the PAPR program, almost equally as important as its preservation thrust, is to “facilitate the repurposing of the significant amount of duplicative and costly storage that could responsibly be eliminated across the country once solid collaborative agreements of preservation are enacted.”

All information in PAPR is intentionally freely available via a web interface at <>. PAPR includes the most comprehensive list of print preservation programs currently being maintained by the library community.  Information such as scope and focus of collections, terms of commitments, and links to the MOUs or agreements between members are listed.  Environmental, security and ownership infor-mation about the physical storage facilities utilized by the programs and the libraries stor-ing books in those facilities is also provided.

In 2010, LLMC, and several other key law library stakeholders, approached CRL to ask if the fledgling LLMC/LIPA program might be subsumed into PAPR as part of a national collaborative print registry effort. CRL was graciously receptive. So an exploratory meet-ing was held at CRL in late 2011 that in-cluded, among others, representatives from the law libraries of the universities of Chica-go, Columbia, Georgetown, Michigan, and Yale, as well as LA Law Library, LLMC and CRL.  From the discussions at that meeting and its follow-up meetings, the concept of LegalPAPR, as a sub-unit of the national PAPR Program, was born.

LegalPAPR, a collaborative program to provide a print registry focused on the pre-servation of U.S. federal and state legal re-sources, is now off and running.  At this point records have already been ingested from the law libraries at Columbia and the University of Chicago and from LLMC. In addition, the law libraries at Michigan and Harvard have registered their support for the program and their intent to participate. LA Law Library is also considering how participation could effectively further the goals of its FCIL Preservation Program described above. The LLMC holdings described in LegalPAPR are stored in its salt-mine archive in Kansas. Columbia’s records describe those law books archived in its offsite storage facility ReCAP.  The University of Chicago’s records describe those of its titles transferred to Mansueto, the all-campus high density underground storage facility. All of these records will be public on LegalPAPR by July 2013.

A library’s participation in the PAPR program is governed by a Collaborative Preservation Agreement. This document, while designedly not overly legalistic, is typically formalized with a memorandum of understanding listing terms of preservation and services provided by those promising to archive given material. Specific terms for a standard format for the Collaborative Preservation Agreements to be used in LegalPAPR are currently being devel-oped and will be made available at LLMC’s booth at the AALL conference in July 2013. 

The title and holdings information registered in LegalPAPR employ standard library cata-loging of serials according to successive entry cataloging standards.  Included with the title information are the internationally recognized identification numbers:  ISSN, ISSN for re-lated digital versions, and OCLC numbers.  Holdings and condition information at the issue level are listed along with retention per-iod commitments.  Missing issues and issues with condition problems such as foxing or missing spines are explicitly listed in their own fields.  This information is available to view or download in various reports.  Addi-tional reports and statistics related to the overall database are being developed and will be available in July or August, 2013. There has been a growing interest in the wider library world in LegalPAPR and how it relates to other preservation programs.  LLMC and CRL will continue to work to-gether to promote the program.  For more de-tailed information, please contact the Program Administrator Amy Wood <>, or  visit the website at <>.