JSTOR (short for Journal Storage) is a United States-based online system for archiving academic journals, founded in 1995. It provides full-text searches of digitized back issues of several hundred well-known journals, dating back to 1665 in the case of the Philosophical Transactions.

JSTOR was originally funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, but is now an independent, self-sustaining non-profit organization with offices in New York City and Ann Arbor, Michigan.


JSTOR was originally conceived as a solution to one of the problems faced by libraries, especially research and university libraries, due to the increasing number of academic journals in existence. The founder, William G. Bowen, was the president of Princeton University from 1972 to 1988. Most libraries found it prohibitively expensive in terms of cost and space to maintain a comprehensive collection of journals. By digitizing many journal titles, JSTOR allowed libraries to outsource the storage of these journals with the confidence that they would remain available for the long term. Online access and full-text search ability improved access dramatically. JSTOR originally encompassed ten economics and history journals and was initiated in 1995 at seven different library sites. Ten additional sites were added in the spring of 1996. JSTOR access was improved based on feedback from these sites and it became a fully searchable index accessible from any ordinary browser. Special software was put in place to make pictures and graphs clear and readable.

With the success of this limited project, Bowen and Kevin Guthrie, then-president of JSTOR, were interested in expanding the number of participating journals. They met with representatives of the Royal Society of London, and an agreement was hammered out to digitize the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society back to its beginning in 1665. The work of adding these volumes to JSTOR was completed by December 2000. As of June 2007, the database contained 729 journal titles and over 165,000 individual journal issues, totaling over 23 million pages of text.

Usage and contents

JSTOR access is licensed mainly to libraries, universities and publishers all over the world. Some institutions with Athens subscriptions have access to it. Licensee institutions can make JSTOR available to their members free of charge through the Internet. Individual subscriptions are also available to certain journal titles through the journal publisher.

As of July 2007, JSTOR material is provided by 446 publishers. Nearly 53 million searches of the archives were performed between January and July 2007. In addition to its use as an archive for individual journals, JSTOR has also been used as a research source. The breadth of material in the archive makes it useful in investigating trends in linguistics over time.

The availability of many journals on JSTOR is controlled by a "moving wall", which is an agreed delay between the current volume of the journal and the latest volume available on JSTOR. This time period is specified by agreement between JSTOR and the publisher and is usually 3-5 years. Publishers can request that the period of a "moving wall" be changed, request discontinuation of coverage, or request that the "moving wall" be changed to a "fixed wall". A "fixed wall" is a specified date after which JSTOR is not allowed to add new volumes into their database. A "fixed wall" is usually arranged when a publisher makes its articles available online through a site controlled by the publisher.

Related projects

ARTstor was set up as a sister organization to JSTOR to do the same job, using a similar subscription model, and beginning to function in 2004. It gained considerable impetus after the disbanding in 2005 of Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO), a competitive online system for images of artworks, set up by a Getty Foundation-led consortium of institutions. ARTstor has gained the use of many existing image databases, and has digitized for the first time The Illustrated Bartsch, the largest catalogue for old master prints. It contained a total of "nearly 500,000" images in mid-2007. Other than nine universities in Australasia, four in England and one each in Italy and China, all the 781 listed subscribers (as at June 2007) are in the US and Canada.

Ithaka Harbors, Inc., a non-profit organization based in New York City and Princeton, New Jersey, works closely with JSTOR and ARTstor in the areas of finance, human resource management, information technology, software development, research, and strategic guidance.

Aluka is an online digital library focusing on the materials about Africa. Started in 2003, Aluka was an initiative of Ithaka Harbors. In July 2008, Aluka merged with JSTOR organizationally, and the platforms and content will eventually be merged as well.

See also


Further reading

  • Gauger, Barbara J. (2006). "JSTOR usage data and what it can tell us about ourselves: is there predictability based on historical use by libraries of similar size?". OCLC Systems & Services 22 (1): 43–55.
  • Schonfeld, Roger C. (2003). JSTOR: A History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Seeds, Robert S. (2002). "Impact of a digital archive (JSTOR) on print collection use". Collection Building 21 (3): 120–122.
  • Articles about JSTOR

External links

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