HOW IT WORKS
A library uses the LOCKSS software to turn a low-cost PC into a digital preservation appliance that performs four functions:
Before LOCKSS appliances can preserve a journal, two things have to happen:
Preserving and Auditing
The LOCKSS appliances at libraries around the world use the Internet to audit, continually but very slowly, the content they are preserving. At intervals appliances take part in polls, voting on the digest of some part of the content they have in common. If the content in one appliance is damaged or incomplete that appliance will lose the poll, and it can repair the content from other appliances. This cooperation between the appliances avoids the need to back them up individually. It also provides unambiguous reassurance that the system is performing its function and that the correct content will be available to readers when they try to access it. The more organizations that preserve given content, the stronger the guarantee they each get of continued access.
LOCKSS appliances provide transparent access to the content they preserve. Institutions often run web proxies, to allow off-campus users to access their journal subscriptions, and web caches, to reduce the bandwidth cost of providing Web access to their community. Their LOCKSS appliance integrates with these systems, intercepting requests from the community's browsers to the journals being preserved. When a request for a page from a preserved journal arrives, it is first forwarded to the publisher. If the publisher returns content, that is what the browser gets. Otherwise the browser gets the preserved copy.
Library staff administer their LOCKSS appliance via a Web user interface. A demonstration version of the interface is available. It allows for targeting the appliance to preserve new journals, monitoring the preservation of existing journals, controlling access to the appliance and other functions.
For technical details see http://www.lockss.org/pub-wiki/