JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the scholarly community take advantage of advances in information technologies. JSTOR's mission is two-fold: (1) to build a reliable and comprehensive archive of important scholarly journal literature, and (2) to improve dramatically access to these journals. JSTOR takes a system-wide approach, taking into account the needs of the various parties involved in the field of scholarly communication, including: libraries, publishers, and individual scholars and students.
JSTOR began in 1994 as a pilot project of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and became an independent not-for-profit organization in 1996. JSTOR is creating a fully searchable electronic archive containing the archives — in some cases dating back to the 17th century — of major research journals in seventeen academic disciplines.
JSTOR's goal is to become a central archive for the scholarly community by providing researchers, scholars, and students with access to the complete back-runs of leading academic journals. JSTOR is the only online archive with journals more than 100 years old, and differs from other online resources by making the full-text version of articles available exactly as they were first designed, illustrated, and published. (JSTOR digitizes the complete back-run of each title in the archive, beginning with Volume 1, Issue 1.)
What began as a pilot project with ten core academic journals at five colleges and universities in the U.S. has expanded significantly. JSTOR has released three complete archival collections (Arts & Sciences I, General Science, and Ecology & Botany) and now contains 147 important journal titles. Additional collections are also being planned and developed.
JSTOR is now being used by scholars and students at more than 1,000 institutions in 47 countries. The majority of these institutions are college or university libraries. Other libraries at not-for-profit or government-sponsored institutions such as the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, and the House of Commons (UK) are also participants, as are a number of research institutes, think tanks, and public libraries.
JSTOR is proving to be a valuable resource to scholars seeking important literature that is frequently damaged, missing, or buried in library stacks. In addition, JSTOR is creating new opportunities for cross-disciplinary research, allowing people, for the first time, to do full-text searches with historical depth on a topic across several disciplines. New information is being discovered as researchers trace the evolution and intellectual history of a word, term, or idea over time. JSTOR also gives students at smaller, newer, and less wealthy schools the same access to scholarly information as students at the most prestigious research universities.
JSTOR has evolved to help librarians facing an ever-changing world. The organization is working to address issues such as the value of archiving older journal literature, limited shelf space in libraries, the high cost of maintaining and storing print journals, and the rapid development of information technologies.
International Expansion and Outreach: JSTOR has been contacted by hundreds of international universities and research organizations interested in bringing JSTOR's journal collections to their academic communities. Through foundation grants, JSTOR is now being made available to scholars, researchers, and students in South Africa, Vietnam, Greece, Thailand, Hungary, the Ukraine, and other nations. Making this important scholarly material available in electronic format has provided tremendous value, particularly to educational institutions that have never had this scholarly literature available in any format. For example, at new universities being built in Russia and Belarus, libraries cannot amass complete paper-journal collections. In this case, JSTOR may provide the only means for students and faculty to access this literature.
Future Content: JSTOR continues to develop new archival collections. Most recently, JSTOR announced its plans to release its fourth archival collection, the Arts & Sciences II Collection. This multi-disciplinary collection will contain titles and disciplines that complement those in the Arts & Sciences I Collection. The Arts & Sciences II Collection will offer additional titles in disciplines such as History, Economics, and Asian Studies and will offer core titles in new disciplines, such as the Classics and Archaeology. JSTOR is especially pleased that African, Latin American, Slavic, and Middle Eastern Studies are among the new disciplines in this collection.
In addition, thanks to a foundation grant, a group of archaeology journals will also be included in this collection. JSTOR also plans to complete a new Business Collection in 2001, with collections in Art History and Language & Literature planned for 2002.
Secondary School Pilot Project: The organization is now conducting a pilot project in fourteen high schools in the U.S., with the goal of assessing the value of JSTOR as a resource for younger students. The response has been positive: the organization has extended the pilot through 2002.
Public Libraries: JSTOR is currently available at a limited number of public libraries, including select branches of the New York Public Library, the Cleveland Public Library, and the San Francisco Public Library. The organization is beginning outreach to public library systems nationwide so that the general public may obtain access to its journal collections.
JSTOR was pleased to welcome the Athens University of Economics and Business as its 1,000th participating institution worldwide. Extending access to the JSTOR archive to the academic communities of 1,000 participating institutions in 47 countries is an incredible milestone for JSTOR. The archival mission of JSTOR is one that is truly recognized by the support of its participating sites.
JSTOR's Web site includes additional background on the organization, a list of participating libraries, a demonstration version of the archive, a complete list of the journals in JSTOR's current collections and planned content for future collections.
JSTOR receives funding from foundations seeking to help the organization fulfill its mission in the U.S. and in developing countries, and for the development and digitization of new content. Foundation grants are also helping to support the secondary school pilot project.