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URL http://www.jstor.org
Commercial? No
Type of site Journal archive
Owner Itself
Created by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Current status of siteOpen

JSTOR (short for Journal Storage) is a United States-based online database for archiving academic journals, founded in 1995. It provides full-text searches of digitized back issues of several hundred well-known journals, dating back to 1665 in the case of the Philosophical Transactions. In September 2008, it had over 1,000 journal titles and 5,036 participating organizations.

JSTOR was originally funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, but is now an independent, self-sustaining non-profit organization with offices in New York City and Ann Arbor, Michigan.


JSTOR was originally conceived as a solution to one of the problems faced by libraries, especially research and university libraries, due to the increasing number of academic journals in existence. The founder, William G. Bowen, was the president of Princeton University from 1972 to 1988.[1] Most libraries found it prohibitively expensive in terms of cost and space to maintain a comprehensive collection of journals. By digitizing many journal titles, JSTOR allowed libraries to outsource the storage of these journals with the confidence that they would remain available for the long term. Online access and full-text search ability improved access dramatically.

JSTOR originally encompassed ten economics and history journals and was initiated in 1995 at seven different library sites. Ten additional sites were added in the spring of 1996. JSTOR access was improved based on feedback from these sites and it became a fully searchable index accessible from any ordinary browser. Special software was put in place to make pictures and graphs clear.[2]

With the success of this limited project, Bowen and Kevin Guthrie, then-president of JSTOR, were interested in expanding the number of participating journals. They met with representatives of the Royal Society of London, and an agreement was reached to digitize the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society back to its beginning in 1665. The work of adding these volumes to JSTOR was completed by December 2000.[3] As of September 2008, the database contained over 1,000 journal titles and over 179,000 individual journal issues, totaling over 25 million pages of text.[4]


JSTOR focuses on building a scholarly communication network primarily by developing a digital archive information source. As its mission statement describes, it aims to expand coverage by working with other journal aggregators.

JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the scholarly community discover, use, and build upon a wide range of intellectual content in a trusted digital archive. Our overarching aims are to preserve a record of scholarship for posterity and to advance research and teaching in cost-effective ways. We operate a research platform that deploys information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. We collaborate with organizations that can help us achieve our objectives and maximize the benefits for the scholarly community.[5]

JSTOR focuses on five areas of activities[6]:

  • offering a unique, interlinked aggregation of scholarly works
  • facilitating interdisciplinary and historical research
  • exemplary standards for digitization and completeness
  • interfaces and functionality that support academic use
  • highly reliable access
  • long-term preservation

Usage and contents

JSTOR access is licensed mainly to libraries, universities and publishers all over the world. Some institutions with Athens subscriptions have access to it. Licensee institutions can make JSTOR available to their members through the Internet. Individual subscriptions are also available to certain journal titles through the journal publisher.

JSTOR material is provided by over five hundred publishers. Nearly 159 million total accesses of the archives were performed between January and June 2008.[7] In addition to its use as an archive for individual journals, JSTOR has also been used as a research source. The breadth of material in the archive makes it useful in investigating trends in linguistics over time.[8]

The availability of many journals on JSTOR is controlled by a "moving wall," which is an agreed delay between the current volume of the journal and the latest volume available on JSTOR. This time period is specified by agreement between JSTOR and the publisher and is usually 3-5 years. Publishers can request that the period of a "moving wall" be changed, request discontinuation of coverage, or request that the "moving wall" be changed to a "fixed wall." A "fixed wall" is a specified date after which JSTOR is not allowed to add new volumes into their database. A "fixed wall" is usually arranged when a publisher makes its articles available online through a site controlled by the publisher.

JSTOR does not provide open access on a pay-per-article basis—it is necessary to access JSTOR database through a library which subscribes.

Related projects

ARTstor was set up as a sister organization to JSTOR to do the same job, using a similar subscription model, and beginning to function in 2004. It gained considerable impetus after the disbanding in 2005 of Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO), a competitive online system for images of artworks, set up by a Getty Foundation-led consortium of institutions. ARTstor has gained the use of many existing image databases, and has digitized for the first time The Illustrated Bartsch, the largest catalogue for old master prints. It contained a total of "nearly 500,000" images in mid-2007.[9] Other than nine universities in Australasia, four in England and one each in Italy and China, all the 781 listed subscribers (as at June 2007) are in the US and Canada.[10]

Ithaka Harbors, Inc., a non-profit organization based in New York City and Princeton, New Jersey, works closely with JSTOR and ARTstor in the areas of finance, human resource management, information technology, software development, research, and strategic guidance.


Aluka is an online digital library focusing on materials about and from Africa. Aluka's mission is to connect scholars from around the world by building a common platform that allows online collaboration and knowledge sharing. The name 'Aluka' is derived from a Zulu word meaning 'to weave'.

Founded in 2003, Aluka was an initiative of Ithaka Harbors, Inc., a non-profit organization based in New York City and Princeton, New Jersey. The initial funding was provided by theMellon Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation. The first release of Aluka took place in early February 2007 with preview access to JSTOR subscribers. In Africa, Aluka is free to all academic and other not-for-profit institutions.[11] In June 2008, the Ithaka and JSTOR Trustees approved a recommendation that the Aluka initiative be integrated into JSTOR.


Initial focus of Aluka digital library is in three major areas:

  • African Plants: Collection of African plants specimens and related materials contributed by the African Plants Initiative (API).
  • Cultural Heritage: Collection of images, documents and 3D models documenting African heritage sites, including Timbuktu, Djenne, Lalibela, Kilwa Kisiwani, Lamu, and Elmina. This content area also includes a large collection of African Rock Art from many African nations.
  • Struggles for Freedom: Documents, images and other materials documenting the liberation struggles in Southern Africa, including those from Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Aluka seeks to attract other collections of scholarly interest from institutions and individuals worldwide. By bringing materials together, Aluka creates new opportunities for research and collaboration. Documents and materials that were previously hard or impossible to access are now available for researchers around the world.

Similar projects

Project Muse

Project MUSE is an online repository of humanities and social sciences journals. It was founded in 1993 by Todd Kelley and Susan Lewis and is a project of the Johns Hopkins University Press and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. It provides subscribing libraries with access to articles from over 350 journals from 60 scholarly publishers.

See also


  1. Alexander Leitch, Bowen, William Gordon. Princeton University Press. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  2. John Taylor, "JSTOR: An Electronic Archive from 1665." Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 55 (1) (2001): 179-181 (179)
  3. Taylor, "JSTOR: An Electronic Archive from 1665." Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 55 (1) (2001): 180-181 [1] Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  4. Facts & Figures, JSTOR News, June 2008, 12 (2) JSTOR. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  5. Mission & History, JSTOR.
  6. Archives, JSTOR.
  7. Archives, JSTOR. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  8. Fred R. Shapiro, "A Study in Computer-Assisted Lexicology: Evidence on the Emergence of Hopefully as a Sentence Adverb from the JSTOR Journal Archive and Other Electronic Resources." American Speech 73 (3) (1998): 279-296 (279).
  9. ARTstor website ARTstor. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  10. Collections ARTstor website ARTstor. Retrieved September 16, 2008
  11. Aluka and JSTOR Unite, "News," Aluka. (press release). Retrieved September 16, 2008.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Gauger, Barbara J. (2006). "JSTOR usage data and what it can tell us about ourselves: is there predictability based on historical use by libraries of similar size?." OCLC Systems & Services 22 (1): 43–55.
  • Shapiro, Fred R. (1998). A Study in Computer-Assisted Lexicology: Evidence on the Emergence of Hopefully as a Sentence Adverb from the JSTOR Journal Archive and Other Electronic Resources. American Speech 73 (3): 279.
  • Schonfeld, Roger C. (2003). JSTOR: A History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691115311.
  • Seeds, Robert S. (November 2002). "Impact of a digital archive (JSTOR) on print collection use." Collection Building 21 (3): 120–122. doi:10.1108/01604950210434551.
  • Articles about JSTOR, JSTOR.
  • (press release). Aluka and JSTOR Unite, "News," Aluka.org. Retrieved September 16, 2008.

External links

All links retrieved March 11, 2018.


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