Stephanie Orphan

Stephanie Orphan

Last updated on 3 August 2022

Stephanie Orphan is the Director of Publisher Relations and Content Preservation at Portico.

Portico recently passed a significant milestone–one that was beyond our imagination when the service was launched. We are happy to report that we are now preserving content from more than 1,000 publishers. At this writing, we are preserving ejournals for 717 publishers, ebooks for 366, and digital collections for 7; all in all, more than 2 billion files are preserved in the Portico archive. We are fortunate to also have the support of more than 1,000 academic and research libraries who participate in Portico and help us meet our mission.


We’ve come a long way since we began signing publishers (in 2005) and ingesting content (in 2006). We can’t help but reflect on the path that led us to where we are today and consider the changes that took us from working with content from ~50 publishers over our first three years to adding content from ~50 new publishers every year. 


Awareness of the need for preservation, generally, and of Portico, in particular, has grown tremendously over the last 15 years, which has made it much easier to engage with publishers on the topic. The preservation community has done an excellent job of laying out the use cases; many community-minded initiatives–such as CrossRef, DOAJ, and PlanS–encourage or require preservation; and librarians often demand that preservation be in place before licensing or purchasing content. All of this has paved the way for the Portico archive to grow.


However, it is changes in the publishing landscape itself–and Portico’s mirroring of these changes, that have ultimately expanded the scope of our engagement. Open Access publishing has moved from an outlier model to one that is front and center, and library publishing initiatives have grown by leaps and bounds over roughly the last decade. These changes have translated into Portico working with a broader set of publishers. While we continue to work with commercial publishers, societies, and university presses of all sizes, the range of publishers we work with has extended to include more small publishers (those with fewer than 5 journals) and fully OA publishers, with much of our recent growth coming from scholar-led Diamond OA publishers.

Ejournals were and remain a primary concern of the library community when it comes to preservation, but over time there has been a rise in ebook production, and preprints have taken on a significance of their own. Portico responded by creating an ebook preservation service in 2008 and accepting preprint servers into its ejournal service in 2015. In light of demands for preservation of a wider variety of licensed content, in 2009 we initiated the Digital Collections service, which includes content such as archival images and digitized newspapers. This work paved the way for us to recently begin preserving a small number of digital collections from libraries and archives. We also find ourselves partnering with publishers and other preservation agencies to meet the challenges presented by content that increasingly does not mimic print, but offers dynamic pathways into the scholarship. These are changes that we long anticipated but only recently had the opportunity to consider in depth thanks to the Andrew W. Mellon-funded Preserving New Forms of Scholarship project (an outcome of the project is a set of guidelines for content creators to help ensure that content is created preservable). 


As we all know, there are many types of challenges that organizations face when thinking about preservation. Portico is pleased to be part of a dynamic and forward-facing preservation community and is prepared to iterate and expand to meet the demands of the years to come.

Scroll to top