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Analyzing Costs - Scope of Work

Q. How much time is available to you for your cost assessment?

The level of granularity of your cost analysis will affect the length of time it takes to complete it. However, it may also affect the accuracy of your model. Some people, who have very little time available for conducting a cost analysis will mistakenly attempt to use past or current budgets as a way of estimating costs. In fact, this tends to create highly unrealistic and inaccurate cost analyses. It is important to plan an adequate period of time for conducting one's analysis, based upon the granularity of the analysis, the accuracy and availability of necessary cost records, and the availability and approachability of the financial, managerial, and operational personnel with whom you will need to meet to understand work processes, requirements, and resource availability.



  • Federal Aviation Administration. Cost Analysis: Cost Analysi. [website}

    This website provides several tools and a lot of information about building a cost analysis. Although it is primarily oriented toward engineering and aviation types of projects, it gives a very good "12-step process" for building a cost analysis. By highlighting all of the steps that an exemplary cost analysis will include, it can enable you to estimate better how long your cost analysis is likely to take. (Keep in mind that the work effort you want to put into your analysis will depend upon the benefits you expect to receive from it. Cost analyses can be quite time consuming, depending upon the level of granularity.)


  • Levin, Henry M. and Patrick J. McEwan.Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: Methods and Applications. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2000.

    Pages 40-42 discuss the potential factors that can influence the amount of time it will take to perform your analysis.
  • Telework Toolkit. Cost Benefit Analysis Guide. [website]

    This webpage gives an example of one way of drawing up a cost benefit analysis. It can allow you to see some common ways that cost categories are thought of in business. More importantly, it shows that when you create a cost analysis or cost/benefit analysis for a project that has not yet started, you need to think about two separate types of costs: start-up costs and ongoing (i.e., operational or maintenance) costs. Because start-up costs are one-time costs, in a multi-year project, they would NOT be included when discounting is performed.

Last updated on 12/31/69, 7:00 pm by Anonymous

Analyzing Costs - For What Timeframe?

Q. For what period of time do costs need to be assessed? (e.g., how many months or years of cost data do you need to generate?)

When developing a cost analysis, the period of time over which your analysis spans is very important. For multi-year analyses in particular it is important because you need to take into account the time-value of money. In essence, the time-value of money is simply the recognition that a dollar today is worth more to people than a dollar next year. Loan companies charge an interest rate to people and companies that want to borrow money, and these people are willing to pay that fee in order to have the money today instead of in the future. When conducting a cost analysis for digital curation, this principle holds for all parties: the repository, the staff hired, the funding agencies or grantors, and the vendors that provide goods or services that allow the repository to engage in curation of digital objects.



  • Levin, Henry M. and Patrick J. McEwan.Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: Methods and Applications. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2000.

    Chapter 5, "Analyzing Costs" (88-102) discusses ways to analyze costs over multiple years and also discusses the way in which one can begin to think about risk within a cost analysis.
  • Michel, R. Gregory. Cost Analysis and Activity-Based Costing for Government.Chicago: Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), 2004.

    Chapter 5, "Time and Cost" (59-80) discusses how to assess the time-value (or net present value) of money when conducting a cost analysis.
  • Venkataraman, Ray R. and Jeffrey K. Pinto. Cost and Value Management in Projects.Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008. Especially Chapter 6, "Cash Flow Management" (127-148).

    Chapter 6, "Cash Flow Management" (127-148)  presents the idea of a "discount rate" and discusses how to calculate the time-value of money for analyses that span multiple time periods.

Last updated on 12/31/69, 7:00 pm by Anonymous

Analyzing Costs - Retrospective, Current, or Predictive?

Q. Is the cost analysis to be retrospective, current, or predictive in nature?

You may be performing a cost analysis to report the total costs of on ongoing curation program or project to your funders or organization. Hopefully you have been keeping records of costs all along, based upon your organization's accepted accounting practices. If so, you should be able to gather all the relevant cost information from pre-existing budget and accounting documents. (You would use the budget to determine what cost categories you might want to use, and accounting documents can help provide a "realism check" of your own calculations - you would not want to build a cost analysis purely from pre-existing budget or accounting documents.)  If you need more detail than is provided in available accounting documents you will need to assess the individual categories and calculate their costs based upon your knowledge of the workflow and processes. For example, you can assess how many FTEs you have used, what proportion of their time was spent on particular tasks, and what their salaries have been and calculate human resource costs by cost category. However, ideally you will have proactively considered your need for this information and identified cost categories from the beginning of your venture, in which case you will have had the opportunity to track cost categories and costs on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. If so, you can more easily assess your current costs. 



  • Michel, R. Gregory. Cost Analysis and Activity-Based Costing for Government.Chicago: Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), 2004. Especially, Chapter 9, "Changing the Level of Service" (119-124) and within that chapter, p. 120 on the Cost Behavior Approach and Chapter 4, "Cost Behavior" (39-58).

    This book offers a large number of valuable tips and techniques for estimating and reporting costs in the public sector. It also offers information regarding prospective (i.e., predictive) cost analysis.
  • Venkataraman, Ray R. and Jeffrey K. Pinto. Cost and Value Management in Projects.Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008.

    This textbook offers a great deal of information about cost analysis and Chapters 1-4 are especially helpful for understanding how to determine cost elements and how one can engage in predictive analysis.

Last updated on 12/31/69, 7:00 pm by Anonymous

Analyzing Costs - Types of Analysis

Q. What kinds of cost analyses can be performed and what are the goals of each of them?

There can be a variety of reasons for conducting a cost analysis, from trying to build a business case or grant proposal, to attempting to determining levels of service required to maintain sustainability over the long-run when you no longer have grant funding. Cost analyses can also be used to assess both operational efficiency and make comparisons of service effectiveness under different management or resource levels, quality of service levels, and technology/human resource combinations. The goal of your cost analysis will determine what kinds of information you need to acquire, what level of granularity you must provide, and just as important, how you will present the final analysis to your stakeholders. It will also determine the timeframe over which you should collect and analyze costs.

If you are attempting to create a benefit-cost analysis or business case, however, you may not have a full understanding of what activities will be necessary and will have to delineate them before you can begin to create cost categories and gather cost information. You will need to determine the scope of your workflow and processes. To prepare for this, understanding basic project management can be helpful.


Take Action

  • Determine whether your cost analysis is for (1) a cost/benefit analysis or business case, (2) assessing potential cost changes if you undertake a new service or type of technology (that is, a service enhancement cost study), (2) updating annual budgets, or (3) or a cost-effectiveness study.
  • Determine whether your cost analysis is going to be retrospective, current, or prospective and how long the timeframe is that you wish to examine.
  • Determine whether you need your cost analysis to allow you to do "If-then" or sensitivity analyses. If you would like to compare a variety of different options for technology usage, human resource needs, and impacts of policies, you will want to turn your cost analysis into a full-blow cost model that can update total costs over time based upon your different potential assumptions. These are often done in Excel spreadsheets, Access databases, or via specialized software that can be purchased or built in-house.


Review use cases

  • Beagrie, Neil, Lorraine Eakin-Richards (now Richards), Todd Vision. "Business Models and Cost Estimation: Dryad Repository Case Study." In Rauber, Andreas, Rebecca Guenther, Panos Constantopoulos. (Eds.) Proceedings of 7th International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects. Vienna, Austria: Österreichische Computer Gesellschaft, 365-370, 2010.

    Discusses the manner by which the Dryad Digital Repository, a digital data repository supporting the archiving of data sets that support published articles in the biosciences, developed a sustainability plan. It discusses the goals of the plan, the development of a cost model, and the development of a long-term business plan for the repository.
  • Charles Beagrie, Ltd. Keeping Research Data Safe: Cost-Benefit Studies, Tools, and Methodologies Focussing on Long-Lived Data. [website].

    Provides a large number of resources on costs and benefits of preserving research data, including the KRDS model and its components, and a wide variety of citations.
  • Eakin-Richards, Lorraine (now Richards). Dryad Cost Model Report: Submitted in Support of Dryad Cost Model, V1.0, 2010.

    Final report submitted in conjunction with an Excel-based cost model developed for the Dryad Digital Repository. It discusses assumptions that went into developing the cost analysis, and offers views of the model, and per article projected costs.
  • The Life Website.

    Presents the results of all three stages of the LIFE Project, which analyzed costs and developed a complex cost model for preserving e-Literature. The site includes information from all three stages of the project, and offers case studies, the cost models themselves, and interpretations of the results for higher education.
  • Maron, Nancy L., K. Kirby Smith, and Matthew Loy. Sustaining Digital Resources: An On-the-Ground View of Projects Today: Ithaka Case Studies in Sustainability. JISC, 2009.

    "Rather than focus only on methods for generating revenue, we sought to capture a fuller range of the activities carried out by projects today to develop creative strategies for both revenue generation and cost management" (p. 4). While Sustainability and Revenue Models presented the theory, readers wanted to see how the models were working in practice. How did project leaders define their mission and revenue goals? What steps did they take to develop revenue-generating and cost-management strategies? How did these align with the organisations’ missions? To what extent were certain models successful, and how did project leaders define that success? Where were they running into problems?...Our goal is to help illuminate the ways in which the general principles outlined in the first report play out in the real world, as well as to highlight lessons for leaders of other digital projects and other stakeholders in the community" (p. 6).
  • Testbed Digitale Bewaring. Costs of Digital Preservation. The Hague, Netherlands: National Archief of the Netherlands, 2005.

    Reports upon a cost analysis involved in the long term preservation of digital records and the indicators that can exert influences on these costs.



  • Levin, Henry M. and Patrick J. McEwan.Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: Methods and Applications. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2000.

    Although this book primarily presents information on how to perform cost-effectiveness analyses, it also does a good job of explaining the various different types of cost analyses that can be performed, and how one can determine which analysis is appropriate for one's purposes. It also discusses how to determine whether you really need to perform a cost analysis, given your goals, how to properly identify the problem, the audience, and how to find and measure costs.
  • Kingma, Bruce R. Economics of Information: A Guide to Economic and Cost-Benefit Analysis for Information Professionals. Second edition. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 2001.

    Designed specifically for information professionals, this theoretical book is accessible to the beginner with little to no experience in economics. It is filled with examples from library services and information markets, and includes a chapter on digital libraries and internet economics. The text will not provide detailed information on how to conduct a cost analysis, but it does present information regarding the economics that provide a foundation for cost analyses. 
  • Michel, R. Gregory. Cost Analysis and Activity-Based Costing for Government.Chicago: Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), 2004.

    Focusing specifically on performing cost analyses within the public sector, this book provides information on cost concepts and explains cost analysis for government decision-making. It also introduces activity based costing (i.e., "ABC"), which is a means for analyzing costs that allocates indirect or overhead costs to the products or processes that actually incur the costs.
  • Venkataraman, Ray R. and Jeffrey K. Pinto. Cost and Value Management in Projects.Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008.

    This textbook introduces both cost and value management in a project-based environment, giving examples throughout. It provides information on project planning, cost estimation and budgeting, cost control, financial management, and ways to define value and measure it over time. It also introduces change control, quality management, and ways to integrate costs and value within a single report.

Last updated on 12/31/69, 7:00 pm by Anonymous

Analyzing Costs - Nature of Cost Assessment


Cloud Computing - Provide

Q: How do you provide access to cloud based services and tools?

Each institution has different user needs and levels of comfort integrating information technology tools. What questions should I ask to make the integration of cloud services successful?


What are some examples of cloud service in use?



Last updated on 12/31/69, 7:00 pm by Anonymous


Cloud Computing - Manage

Q:What are the critical areas to manage when using cloud infrastructure?

Companies that provide cloud services have business models that are design to make them money. What are the factors that impact the cost of leveraging these services? What areas should I be concerned with first?


How do I control cost of cloud infrastructures



Last updated on 12/31/69, 7:00 pm by Anonymous


Cloud Computing - Protect

Q: How do I create a preservation environment using cloud infrastructure?

Outsourcing the preservation of digital objects is very appealing but what cloud services are best for these types of mission and what are the limitations that could prevent this from being a good solution?


How do I protect our data using a cloud environment?

Can you preserve sensitive or secure data in the cloud environment?



Last updated on 12/31/69, 7:00 pm by Anonymous


Cloud Computing - Get

Take action

  • Discuss with local curators and archivist where the logical point of integration are.

Cloud Computing - Select

Q: How do I select the right cloud infrastructure?

With the ever growing number of service providers and cloud services how do I choose? How does trust in the organization fit into my decision?


How do I match my organizations’ goals and policies to the right cloud services?

How do you measure trust in cloud services?



Last updated on 12/31/69, 7:00 pm by Anonymous


Cloud Computing - Prepare

Q: What is cloud infrastructure

Preparing to use a cloud computing service, or even to build your own service, requires understanding not only what cloud computing is, but how it differs from other types of computing infrastructures and services.  This can be difficult because nowadays there is a cloud for every purpose, it seems.  If you wish to assess whether to build or use a cloud service and what type of service to use you should become quite familiar with what cloud computing is and what different types of cloud services exist.  You should also understand the benefits and risks of using a cloud service in comparison to your other options?



Last updated on 12/31/69, 7:00 pm by Anonymous

Closing the Digital Curation Gap Symposium

Thursday, March 7, 2013 (All day)

Over the past decade, a significant gap has emerged between the research and development in digital curation, on the one hand, and professional practices of archivists, librari

Analyzing Costs

Generating a useful cost analysis requires assessing the goals of your proposed analysis, your audience, and the types of information you have at your disposal, or can get with relative ease. It also requires making a clear assessment of how much time you have to create the analysis - a detailed cost-benefit study prepared for a business case requesting funding for a new repository may require several months of detailed, full-time investigation. A simple assessment of how expensive it would be for an already existent repository with clear, historical budget records going back several years to add a single additional service (such as providing greater manual review of metadata that come from automated user-uploads) will take considerably less time and effort. Thus, you need to ask yourself a number of questions in order to prepare for and implement an accurate cost analysis.


1. Prepare

2. Identify

3. Select

4. Get

5. Store

6. Protect

7. Manage

8. Provide

Last updated on 12/31/69, 7:00 pm by Anonymous

Analyzing Costs - Provide

Analyzing Costs - Protect

Q: Should I password protect my cost analysis?

In general, if you are creating a cost model that involves inputting data into fields that contain formulas, you would like your users to

Analyzing Costs - Get

You may be interested in determining costs for the entire lifecycle of your objects, or you may be interested in trying to understand costs for only certain components of the lifecycle.

Analyzing Costs - Identify

Once you have determine what kind of cost analysis you want to prepare, you need to identify which specific costs you need to include in your analysis and determine where you can find it.

Analyzing Costs - Prepare

Preparing for a cost analysis requires gathering historical documents that reflect the functions that must be performed for the particular type of activities (whether that be an organization or rep

Digital Projects Coordinator, Georgia State University


Georgia State University Library seeks a leader for the Library’s digitization program.  Responsibilities include managing personnel for digitization projects and, in coordination with o

Digital Preservation Manager, Yale University Library


Reporting to the Directo

Digital Technologist, Gates Archive


The Gates Archive is searching for an enthusiastic, collaborative, and creative digital technologist to work closely with the archive team in building o

Managing Data - Get


Digitizing - Get

Q. Now that I have selected material for digital reformatting, how do I go about the digitization process?

For this guide, "getting content" equates to reformatting analog materials into digital objects. Several issues are involved in this process but if you plan ahead and approach tasks methodically, nothing is very difficult. It is important to identify and follow relevant standards and best practices to the extent that it is feasible for you to do so. This will make the work and the results much more valuable and long-lasting. Once you have have read the key standards it is time to identify your workflow and your equipment.




Last updated on 12/31/69, 7:00 pm by Anonymous


Curating Digital Video - Get

Q. How can I bring digital video into my collection?




  • x
  • x



Last updated on 12/31/69, 7:00 pm by Anonymous

Assistant Archivist, American Heritage Center


The American Heritage Center (AHC) of the University of Wyoming is seeking a Digital Programs Archivist at the assistant archivist level.

Electronic Resources/Reference Librarian, Boston Athenaeum


The Boston Athenæum seeks a librarian fluent in emerging technologies to manage electronic resources and serve as part of team that covers the reference desk.

Building IRs - Get

Q: How do I bring materials into my IR?

Acquiring materials can be a difficult in the creation and development of an IR.

Research Director for the Data Archive for the Social Sciences


King County Archivist, Seattle, WA

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