Why Join the MetaArchive Cooperative?

  • Community-based


    Member owned, operated, governed, and driven.

  • Affordable


    Maintain control over the cost of digital preservation. Members review the full price of our preservation work annually and are fully in charge of setting the costs for continued operations.

  • Transparent


    Trust is key. From our software to our community decisions, we are open source all the way.

  • Supportive


    MetaArchive is more than a service, it is an opportunity to learn from other Members and grow in digital preservation capacity in common.

  • Diverse


    All organization types and individuals are welcome. Our current membership includes representatives and practitioners from academic libraries, public libraries, museums, library consortia, and archives.

Member Benefits

  • Distributed preservation of contributed digital collections across multiple, geographically distributed sites
  • Retrieval of the Member’s content in case of a catastrophic loss
  • Assistance with the installation and maintenance of MetaArchive-LOCKSS software, documentation of processes and technical standards, and technical support
  • Reports about the Member’s submitted content and about the overall Preservation Network
  • Service opportunities within MetaArchive Committees
  • Attendance and participation at Cooperative conferences and workshops at discounted rates
  • Opportunities to collaborate with and/or learn from experienced digital preservation administrators, librarians, technologists, and others who work with the Cooperative
  • In the case of catastrophic circumstances, the ability to request technical and financial assistance with the restoration of a preservation site’s caches, software, and collections by the MetaArchive Cooperative
  • Access to the technical knowledge and expertise of Cooperative Members and technical support to establish and maintain preservation sites in compliance with the MetaArchive Technical Specifications
  • Additional preservation services that can be purchased at a contract rate (e.g., consulting and training around preservation issues)
  • Access to information through mentorship and/or the onboarding process, including guidance on developing workflows and preparing collections for ingest into the MetaArchive Preservation Network
  • Equal voting representation for all Institutional and Collaborative Members

Membership Levels


Institutional Members are single organizations of any type. They provide leadership for the Cooperative through their active participation, votes, strategic decision-making, and participation on the Cooperative Leadership Team. As leaders in the field of distributed preservation, these members are encouraged to help host and support the backbone technology for the network and rewarded with storage incentives for doing so.


Collaborative Members are groups of institutions that look and act like one unified member because they share a central server. This level of membership is designed to allow new or existing consortia or collaborative organizations to preserve their co-hosted content for a fraction of what it would cost to do so as individual members.


The Individual Membership is first and foremost a way for an outgoing member to continue to be involved in the Cooperative when their own member institution leaves or the individual member leaves a member institution. This designation is also open to field practitioners with non-member institutional affiliation who are seeking professional development. Individual Membership is free and members can attend and participate in all virtual monthly and committee meetings. However, Individual Members are not permitted to vote or make use of the storage network.


The costs to join and participate in the MetaArchive Cooperative are divided amongst the following categories:

Membership Fees:

Membership terms are three years and are determined by membership category:

  • Institutional – $4,000/year (3-year term)
  • Collaborative – $4,000 + $100/participating institution/year (3-year term)
  • Individual – Free (Annual term)

Cache Hosting:

Equipment – For members hosting a cache, a new physical server and disk array to meet the Technical Specifications will cost between $5,000-$8,000.  If members opt to host a virtual server, they will need to obtain a price estimate from their virtual server provider.

Staffing – Approximately 2% of system administrator time to install and setup server cache

Technology Rewards:

Members agreeing to host storage servers, or other critical technology equivalent in value and contribution, would also receive proportionally reduced storage costs. Reductions will amount to an exemption from annual storage charges over the course of a membership term proportional to the amount of storage contributed for that term. The calculation for this reward is 10% of storage volume contributed.

Storage fees:

Storage fees are assessed annually based on the amount of content a member is storing within the network, minus the Technology Reward (for eligible members). 2022 storage fee rates: $0.50 per GB per year / $500 per TB per year

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the MetaArchive Cooperative?

The MetaArchive Cooperative, founded in 2004, is the first international community-owned, community-led digital preservation network. We preserve digital content of all types and formats with over 60 libraries, archives, research centers, foundations, and other digital memory organizations on three continents.

MetaArchive is a Private LOCKSS Network (PLN). What does that mean?

The MetaArchive is a Private LOCKSS Network (PLN) through its specialized use of the award-winning, open source Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe (LOCKSS) software.

Is MetaArchive a Trustworthy Digital Repository?

Since 2009, the MetaArchive has engaged in multiple, systematic audits of its technical infrastructure and administrative operations using the Trustworthy Repositories Audit Certification: Criteria & Checklist (TRAC). The results of that audit assessment are publicly available on the Cooperative’s website. In 2014, LOCKSS itself was awarded the first ever perfect score in a Council for Research Libraries (CRL) TRAC audit.

Why should I select MetaArchive as a preservation solution? What are the benefits of joining a community-owned, community-led network?

There are a number of benefits to joining the MetaArchive, including:

  • Low barriers to preservation ingest: MetaArchive uses low-cost embedded technologies and flexible data models
  • Broadest geographic replication to avoid data loss: Each Member collection is distributed across five geographically dispersed archives to ensure good protection
  • No outsourcing of your digital collections: Members host the archival infrastructure and work with trusted peer libraries, archives, research centers, and other memory organizations to preserve their collections
  • Maintain control over the cost of digital preservation: Members review the full price of our preservation work annually and are fully in charge of setting the costs for continued operations
  • Community-driven opportunities to advance digital preservation: MetaArchive is more than a service, it is an opportunity to learn from other Members and grow in digital preservation capacity in common

What are the different types of memberships? Where does my institution fit?

MetaArchive has three membership levels (3 year terms):

  • Institutional: Join at this level if you are a single organization interested in actively participating in community-driven digital preservation and setting strategic objectives for the Cooperative.
  • Collaborative: These are groups of institutions that are able to partner together and appoint a lead institution to prepare their collections on their behalf for preservation in MetaArchive. Join at this level if you are a consortia or a group of consortia-like institutions interested in a community-driven approach to digital preservation.
  • Individual: Join at this free level if you are a practitioner not affiliated with a member institution (either at the Institutional or Collaborative level). Individual members may participate in all virtual meetings for the Cooperative, committees, and working groups; however, they do not have voting privileges and may not use the storage network.

How much does it cost to participate in MetaArchive?

Participating in MetaArchive has 2 primary cost obligations:

  • Membership Fees: Billed annually or up-front for 3 years *
  • Storage Fees: Billed annually, minus the Technology Reward for members that host storage servers or other critical technology equivalent in value and contribution

What are my member obligations? What is expected of me?

All of our members support the network in the following ways:

  • Maintain membership in good standing
  • Comply with MetaArchive policies, specifications & technologies
  • Ensure proper copyright clearance to preserve your own collections
  • Prepare, ingest, and monitor your own collections
  • Cover travel expenses for annual meetings

How is the MetaArchive Cooperative organized and governed?

  • Member Leadership Team: The MetaArchive Cooperative is member owned and driven. This takes place through a Leadership Team made up of elected representatives from Institutional and Collaborative member institutions. The Leadership Team convenes as needed to set strategic directions and approve policy.
  • Member Sub-Committees: The MetaArchive also convenes several sub-committees, with current committees including a Membership Services Committee, Outreach Committee, and Technical Committee to develop policy and carry out research and development on behalf of the Cooperative. These committees meet monthly and/or as needed.
  • Member Working Groups: In addition to the Steering Committee and the sub-committees, the Members may also convene ad-hoc Working Groups to study specific preservation areas of mutual interest to the Members. These Working Groups are of limited duration and have specific outcomes that are reported to the sub-committees and Steering Committee.

What institutions are currently members of the MetaArchive Cooperative?

MetaArchive’s members include research libraries, college libraries, public libraries, historical societies, and museums. Our Members »

How do I get my collections into MetaArchive?

You simply produce a short descriptive entry in the MetaArchive Conspectus interface, describing the collection(s) you are submitting for ingest and submitting the package(s) of content that you have prepared. These package(s) are tested in the MetaArchive test network to ensure that they are ready for full ingest. Once tested and approved, the network administrator selects five secure, closed-access nodes on the network to receive the content for preservation. Each of the five systems administrators who manage those five nodes ingests the content and records the successful completion of that ingest. Once ingested, the content is monitored iteratively for bit integrity.

How do I get my collections out of MetaArchive?

If you lose your local collection copies for any reason, a copy can be easily obtained from the network. You simply request a copy from the MetaArchive network administrator. An uncompressed BagIt package will be constructed and made available for download.

Can I be sure that no one will have unauthorized access to our collections?

The MetaArchive network is a secure, dark archive. No one is permitted to access any member’s stored collections except when a copy is requested by the owner to replace a lost or damaged local copy.

What type of file formats does MetaArchive allow? Are there any formats that are prohibited?

The MetaArchive accepts all formats and does not require a member to transform or normalize their content prior to ingest. If a member has a concern about a format type and its risk of obsolescence they can consult with the Technical Committee to assist with assessing the risk and offer recommendations.

Do I need to have an institutional repository in order to get started?

No, it is not necessary for you to have an institutional repository. That being said, the MetaArchive regularly preserves collections from many of the leading institutional repository systems in use, including Fedora, Samvera, DSpace, DigiTool, Digital Commons, and Islandora.

What are the technology requirements for MetaArchive?

The MetaArchive provides a full description of its technology requirements in its annual Technical Specifications.

Is the MetaArchive Cooperative currently accepting new members?

Yes, the MetaArchive is currently accepting new members from a wide variety of organizational types, including libraries, archives, historical societies, research centers, foundations, and other digital memory organizations.

Who do I contact to get started or learn more?

Contact MetaArchive staff through this form.