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Digitizing - Costs

Knowing how much your projects and programs will cost is both the most elusive and one of the most important elements of digital curation practice.  Costs arise around human resources and technical and physical infrastructure.

Take action

  • Plan and budget for your digitization program
  • Consider selection, preparation, metadata creation, preservation, digitization, quality control, technical infrastructure, and  continued maintenance



  • Ayris, Paul.  "A New Digital Republic of Letters?"  YouTube video, 3:52, June 14, 2011. 
    Dr. Paul Ayris, University College London and Director and Acting Group Manager at UCL Library Service, President of LIBER, the Association of European Research Libraries, talks about digital preservation and how it can be made economically sustainable.



  • Velarde, Daniel, Daniel. (2013). Illusion and Achievement in Open-Access Digitization. Feliciter, 59 Issue, 37-39.

"The article looks at visionary ideas and achievements of open-access (OA) library digitization projects in Canada. According to the author, a national OA library faces barriers including copyright, a digital deficit and the need for a workable business model for reliable service delivery. The author describes Canadian academic Michael Geist's vision of a national OA library. The author notes that public funding is not a sustainable way to support OA."



  • Center for Technology in Government. "Opening Gateways: A Practical Guide for Designing Electronic Records Access Programs," 2002.
    See especially the cost estimation tool (pp. 29-26??) and the appendix.  -- document doesn't open (CB)
  • RLG Worksheet for Estimating Digital Reformatting Costs.
    This worksheet is a guide to the preparation of a budget for activities involving digitization.  It can be used for in-house scanning projects or for those utilizing an outside vendor. The activities are organized in eleven steps.
  • Beagrie, Neil, Julia Chruszcz, and Brian Lavoie.  "Keeping Research Data Safe: A Cost Model and Guidance for UK Universities."  April 2008.
    This study has investigated the medium to long term costs to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) of the preservation of research data and developed guidance to HEFCE and institutions on these issues.  It has provided an essential methodological foundation on research data costs for the forthcoming HEFCE-sponsored feasibility study for a UK Research Data Service.  It will also assist HEIs and funding bodies wishing to establish strategies and TRAC costings for longterm data management and archiving.
  • Woodyard-Robinson, Deborah.  “Institutional Strategies – Costs and business modelling.”  Chap. 3.7 in Preservation Management of Digital Materials: The Handbook, 61-67. -- link opens PDF file
    Considers costs, labour, object types and storage size, repository boundaries, preservation service level, and timing and provides business models.
  • Nationaal Archief.  "Costs of Digital Preservation."  The Hague: Digital Preservation Testbed, May 2005.
    Testbed has studied the costs involved in the long term preservation of digital records, drawn up a list of indicators which exert an influence on the total cost of preservation, designed a computational model for the calculation of these costs, and compared the costs involved in the various methods for the creation of digital records and in the various preservation strategies.
  • University College London and the British Library. “LIFE: Life Cycle Information for E-literature.”  []
    should this be combined with the above entries in use cases? (CB)
  • Chapman, Stephen.  "Counting the Costs of Digital Preservation: Is Repository Storage Affordable?"  Journal of Digital Information 4 no. 2 (May 2003).
    Evaluates the fee structures of the Harvard University Library and the Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
  • Sanett, Shelby.  "The Cost to Preserve Authentic Electronic Records in Perpetuity: Comparing Costs across Cost Models and Cost Frameworks."  April 3, 2003. -- link opens PowerPoint file. 
    These slides explore issues related to cost modeling and propose a methodology that might be used to evaluate costing frameworks and models, which could then be adapted for use by libraries, archives, museums and other cultural heritage institutions.
  • “Project to Programs: Mainstreaming Digital Imaging Initiatives.”  In Moving Theory into Practice: Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives, edited by Anne R. Kenney and Oya Reiger, 153-76.  Mountain View, CA: Research Library Group, 2000. 
    This book discusses selection strategies, digital image creation, quality control, image management, use of metadata, rights management, access control, and preservation.


Last updated on 09/26/13, 12:32 pm by emilykader



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