Librarians and faculty agree that information preservation is one of the essential roles of libraries. Yet, as the information we manage increasingly becomes digital, we have to rely on new methods of preserving this information that have not been fully tested. While developing and auditing for best practices is important, we must also verify that preservation systems actually perform as we hope they will, preferably long before we have to fall back on them.
In this talk, I will show ways in which this verification can be done now, by the community, with reasonable cost and demonstrable efficacy. Specifically, I will describe Penn's failure recovery tests of LOCKSS, which uncovered issues with the system's performance and reliability, and helped lead to improvements addressing these issues. I will also discuss initiatives being organized through CRL to assess distributed auditing and community knowledge sharing to test and improve LOCKSS, Portico, and other shared preservation systems.