For many years now, online publishing has become more and more prevalent, and indeed the preferred mode of publishing for many organisations, including many official bodies. Publications may be freely and easily accessible at the time of publishing, but subsequently documents ‘disappear’ from the internet, official bodies are closed, merged or reconstituted and their work, if published electronically, is often impossible to track down. This is a problem across the HE library sector particularly, as in order to support the academic work of our student and research body, we need to retain access to all these things permanently. Both the British Library’s Digital Preservation project and the National Archives UK Government Web Archive are doing important work in this area, but we decided we needed to develop an inclusive fully searchable digital archive for publications in the subject area of education.
For the last year a team of colleagues from Collection Development Services, Cataloguing and Technical Services have been working hard on this, and we are very excited to announce that the IOE Digital Education Research Archive (DERA) is now available for use by researchers and other interested parties worldwide.
DERA is a digital archive of documents published electronically by government and related bodies in the area of education. We are committed to making it permanently and freely accessible to all. Of course, it is still a work in progress – but already there are already approximately 1000 full text documents available. This includes BECTA‘s digital publication archive which is now permanently preserved and available for all.
However, we still have a lot of work to do. We want to add a lot of older publications to the archive – and keep up with all the new ones being published – this will probably be a few thousand per year. And another challenge is how best to integrate this new resource with the rest of our extensive range of databases plus the library catalogue, in order to make the researcher’s work more seamless.