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As many SBL members will be aware, back issues of The Journal of Biblical Literature dating back to its first publication in 1881 are now available in JSTOR. Originally conceived as a project at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, JSTOR began in 1995 as an effort to ease the increasing problems faced by libraries seeking to provide adequate shelf space for the long runs of backfiles of scholarly journals. JSTOR has since developed into an independent not-for-profit with a dual mission to create and maintain a trusted archive of important scholarly journals, and to provide access to these journals as widely as possible.

As of May 2006, JSTOR had more than 2,800 participants in 104 countries and 377 participating publishers. The archives currently comprise nearly 1.5 million full length articles, numbering over twenty million pages. In the first four months of 2006 alone, more than twenty-four million searches were performed.

As a participating publisher in JSTOR, there are many benefits to the SBL and its members. Obviously, having a digital archive of JBL at no cost is a great asset. In addition all SBL members, even those without institutional access to JSTOR, are able to view JBL in the archive. Detailed usage statistics are available to SBL staff showing how many articles have been viewed, and which are the most frequently accessed issues and articles. JBL's 9,500 articles make up nearly ten percent of the content in religious titles. For the curious, the articles most often accessed are: Claudia Setzer "Excellent Women: Female Witness to the Resurrection" 116.2 (1997): 259 272, Helmut Koester "Jesus the Victim" 111.1 (1992) 3-15, and Mary Andrews "The Historical Gospel" 62.2 (1943) 45-57.

As you can imagine, collecting 125 years worth of journals for scanning was a formidable task. JSTOR is still in need of a few issues: Vols. 9-10 (1890-1892); Vol. 28 (1919); Vol. 29, No. 2 (1911); Vol. 32, No. 2 (1913). If anyone has access to these, either for donation to the project or for loan for scanning, please contact Chris Madell at chris.madell@sbl-site.org or 404-727-3151.

One of the most impressive aspects of JSTOR are their efforts to make scholarly research as widely available as possible. They have worked to reduce access fees for developing countries and recently developed plans to offer free access to the entire JSTOR archive for all institutions of higher education in Africa.

JSTOR also shares a similar mission and goals with several affiliated organizations, ARTstor (www.artstor.org) includes over 500,000 images covering art, architecture and archaeology. The ARTstor archive offers scholars, students, and researchers authorized access to collections of these historic images, and have begun recently working with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to provide free access to digitized images from their catalogs for use scholarly publications.

Aluka (www.aluka.org)is another affiliated not-for-profit initiative partnering with key libraries, museums, and archives around the globe to build a sustainable digital library of curated collections from and about the developing world, focusing initially, on Africa. Aluka's mission is to assemble these materials online and to benefit global learning and research by providing a powerful set of search and analysis tools. The Aluka collections will be made accessible via the Internet to not-for-profit research and academic institutions around the world; they will provide access to difficult to reach and physically scattered materials, thereby improving the educational experience of students and scholars across the globe.

Portico, another affiliated not-for-profit, works closely with JSTOR to offers a permanent archive of electronic scholarly journals. Portico's mission is to preserve scholarly literature published in electronic form and to ensure that these materials remain accessible to future scholars, researchers, and students. Their initial focus is the preservation of electronic scholarly journals, and they have begun working directly with publishers and libraries to ensure the future of this important genre. For more information, please visit www.portico.org.

As Kimberly Lutz, JSTOR's Director of Public Relations, said in a recent letter: "In our experience, collaboration fosters growth". SBL is pleased and proud to be collaborating with JSTOR and their affiliates to further our shared missions.

Comments on this article? email: forum@sbl-site.org

Citation: , " JSTOR Report," SBL Forum , n.p. [cited May 2006]. Online:http://sbl-site.org/Article.aspx?ArticleID=538

 
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