The Portico collection consists of e-journals, e-books, and d-collections (digital collections). Portico aims to preserve the scholarly record. With this goal, it is likely they will continue to expand the types of content they will preserve. In April 2017, Portico’s website listed approximately 26,866 committed e-journal titles, 793,783 committed e-book titles, and 174 d-collections. Existing Portico subscribers may choose to subscribe to either the e-journals or e-books collections, or both when they renew their Portico agreement. This subscription model allows libraries the flexibility to limit spending, should they be interested in narrowing their preservation goals. D-collections have a different business model, as the publishers are paying all the storage costs and, should a trigger event occur, the publisher's subscribers will be the only ones with access.
D-collections started in 20088 and encompass digitized historical collections. They are predominantly primary source content, such as newspapers and correspondence. Many of these digital collections originated as microfilm sets, such as "19th Century U.S. Newspapers." Currently three publishers, Adam Matthew Digital, EBSCO and Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, contribute content. Libraries do not pay to subscribe to D-collection content, which is supported solely by the individual publishers that have committed their collections to the archive. If a trigger event requires access to a D-collection, the access is limited to a publisher’s previous customers. Portico also preserves the CrossRef Metadata Database with their D-collections.
There are currently 344 publishers contributing e-journals to Portico. Subject areas for e-books have a scholarly focus, with science, law, medicine, and the liberal arts all strongly represented. Some of the individual titles share a series or a society affiliation with one another. Also included in the collection are four e-reference books. Forty-two percent of the e-journals within the repository have perpetual content-access designations. As of April 2017 there has been only one triggered ebook, The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English.
Portico began preserving e-books as a service for publishers in 200811. In 2011 Portico began offering Post Cancellation Access (PCA) services to libraries for ebooks. Currently they have publications from 131 publishers. Approximately one third of the ebooks preserved by Portico are not available to libraries through Portico's PCA platform. Portico's ebooks covered under the PCA services will only trigger if they are unavailable on any database platform. Most of the journal titles available in Portico originate in the United States and Northern Europe. Languages are predominantly Western European, with English being the major language.
Ebooks and ejournals are sold both as individual titles through a publisher and through aggregated collections or packages. Both directly by publishers and through intermediary distributors, or aggregators, who group titles from many publishers in a common platform. Portico preserves content from e-journal aggregator relationships (e.g., BioOne, Project Muse) but does not currently have any commercial eBook aggregator relationships. This may be largely due to the complicated rights issues associated with eBooks12.
Portico is a dark archive. Access to content within the repository is not available to subscribers unless a trigger event occurs.
Portico conditions for trigger events are:
1. A publisher ceases operations and no entity purchases and makes its titles accessible
2. A publisher ceases to publish a title and it is not offered by another entity
3. Back issues are removed from a publisher's site and are not available elsewhere
4. Catastrophic and sustained failure disables the publisher's delivery platform
5. A publisher opts to rely upon Portico to meet perpetual access obligations
In November 2007 the first trigger event occurred when the journal Graft: Organ and Cell Transplantation (SAGE Publications) was removed from SAGE’s online platform. Portico made the title available to its library participants through the Portico website on December 31, 2007. Currently, there are twenty-two titles available through post-cancellation access on their website. The content for the volumes and issues that have been triggered are available to all Portico participants, regardless of whether the institution previously subscribed to the title or not. Portico works with the linking services and publishers to ensure that information about triggered content is available in their knowledge bases.
Should a trigger event occur for a D-Collection publisher, libraries having subscribed to or purchased the collection from the publisher will be eligible for continued access to the subscribed/purchased content through Portico. (The publisher provides Portico a list of eligible libraries annually for each of its products.) The eligible library would then pay Portico a yet undetermined fee for that access on an annual basis. Portico accepts D-Collections content for newspaper collections in the aggregator's own proprietary formats, which can include zoning and other location metadata. It is not clear the extent to which the zoning and markup will be functional in the platform adopted by Portico to expose the archived content should a trigger event occur.
Portico provides a web database for subscribers who want to audit the archive content. This tool is restricted to access for one to four users from a subscribing institution. Users have access to all content and metadata within the repository. The verification tool is not meant to be used as a substitute for regular library delivery channels such as ILL or document delivery. It is not the same access platform that Portico provides to deliver triggered content. The subscriber is given access to a replica of the repository.This is important because providing access to the actual archived files would put the content at risk, violating Portico's dark archive status.
Portico helps libraries and other knowledge institutions by connecting patrons to licensed content without additional work in their local catalog. They utilize tools such as Open URL links, linking and vendors like CrossRef, CUFTS, EBSCO, ExLibris, OCLC Openly Informatics, SerialsSolutions, and TDnet to reroute library catalogs and other knowledge bases to the Portico delivery platform.
Portico also provides a downloadable Excel spreadsheet of all titles and issues, which is a useful tool for those who wish to analyze the titles and holdings. Subscribing libraries can receive a customized list of Portico holdings against their own.