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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee is teaming with Stanford University and other institutions to improve storage and management of academic material published on the Internet.

Chris Hodge of UT’s Division of Information Infrastructure said the LOCKSS project, short for “Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe,” makes electronic documents more secure, easier to store, and more accessible.

“Digital copies can degrade slightly over time,” Hodge said. “Each individual change is so small it’s unnoticeable, but when you build digital libraries of millions of bytes, they add up and information can become corrupted.

“The LOCKSS system preserves the integrity of individual bits of data. It also ensures that many copies of the journals are available to the public, and that all of these journals are correct and identical.”

The system works by placing digital copies in library computers at several institutions, Hodge said. If data in one copy goes bad, the software automatically corrects it with information from a good copy.

Project participants are UT, Stanford, Columbia, and Harvard universities, the University of California at Berkeley, Sun Microsystems, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the National Science Foundation.

Hodge said the UT Libraries and SunSITE, a program sponsored by Sun Microsystems at UT and 55 institutions worldwide, would begin testing the system this spring.

The project is part of UT’s mission to use technology on campus and in the community, making local resources of national interest more accessible through the Internet, he said.

The UT Libraries system includes John C. Hodges Library and 5 branches. It ranks 70th among the nation’s top 100 research collections, with an annual budget of $10 million, 2 million volumes and approximately 10,000 current serials.