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A Digital Asset Sustainability and Preservation Cost Bibliography

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Was this what those early NDIIPP meetings were like? Finheads & Parrotheads by user Windridgedoc on Flickr.
Was this what those early NDIIPP meetings were like? Finheads & Parrotheads by user Windridgedoc on Flickr.

Back in the early days of the NDIIPP program we had a series of cross-cutting initiatives that we called “affinity groups.” These groups addressed areas of interest such as “collection and selection,” “technical architecture” and “rights and restrictions” that cut across all the different projects.

I was interested in the work of the “economic sustainability” working group, and for no particular reason I started compiling a bibliography of books and articles that related to the long-term preservation of digital information in some way, figuring that it would come in handy at some point.

The bibliography ranges broadly, from articles on “contingent valuation,” “ecosystem valuation” and the general “costs” of knowledge, to those that directly address the cost issues associated with digital preservation and stewardship.

I thought I’d share the list here in the hopes that you’ll find some of the resources useful and that you’ll share your favorite digital sustainability resources.

The Web site addresses listed here were all valid as of as June 26, 2012. Happy reading!

Arrow, Kenneth, Robert Solow, Paul R. Portney, Edward E. Leamer, Roy Radner, and Howard Schuman. “Report of the NOAA Panel on Contingent Valuation.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 1993. Available at

Barlow, John Perry. “The Economy of Ideas: Selling Wine Without Bottles on the Global Net.” See especially the section entitled Relationship and Its Tools. Available at

Beagrie, N., Chruszcz, J., and Lavoie, B. Keeping Research Data Safe: A Cost Model and Guidance for UK Universities. Final Report. April 2008. Available at

Beagrie, N., Lavoie, B., and Woollard, M. Keeping Research Data Safe 2. Final Report. April 2010. Available at

Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access. Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet: Ensuring Long-Term Access to Digital Information. February 2010. Available at

Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access. Sustaining the Digital Investment: Issues and Challenges of Economically Sustainable Digital Preservation. December 2008. Available at

Brown, Adrian. “Cost Modeling: The TNA Experience.” The National Archives (UK). Powerpoint slides presented at the DCC/DPC joint Workshop on Cost Models, held July 26, 2005. Available at

Buckland, Michael K. “Information as Thing.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science; Jun 1991; 42, 5; pg. 351-360. Available at

Cantor, Nancy, and Paul N. Courant. “Scrounging for Resources: Reflections on the Whys and Wherefores of Higher Education Finance.” New Directions for Institutional Research, Volume 2003, Issue 119 , Pages 3 – 12. Also available as “Scrounge We Must–Reflections on the Whys and Wherefores of Higher Education Finance” at

Chambers, Catherine M., Paul E. Chambers and John C. Whitehead. “Contingent Valuation of Quasi-Public Goods: Validity, Reliability, and Application to Valuing a Historic Site.” Available at

Chapman, Stephen. “Counting the Costs of Digital Preservation: Is Repository Storage Affordable?” Journal of Digital Information, Volume 4 Issue 2. 2003. Available at

Charles Beagrie Ltd. And JISC. Keeping Research Data Safe Factsheet. 2011. Available at

Crespo, Arturo, Hector Garcia-Molina. “Cost-Driven Design for Archival Repositories.” Joint Conference on Digital Libraries 2001 (JCDL’01); June 24-28, 2001; Roanoke, Virginia, USA. Available at

Currall, James, Claire Johnson, and Peter McKinney. “The Organ Grinder and the Monkey. Making a business case for sustainable digital preservation.” Presentation given at EU DLM Forum Conference 5-7 October 2005 Budapest, Hungary. Available at

Currall, James, Claire Johnson, and Peter McKinney. “The world is all grown digital…. How shall a man persuade management what to do in such times?” 2nd International Digital Curation Conference, Digital Data Curation in Practice, 21-22 November 2006, Hilton Glasgow Hotel, Glasgow. Available at

Currall, James, and Peter McKinney. “Investing in Value: A Perspective on Digital Preservation.” D-Lib Magazine, Volume 12, Number 4; April 2006. Available at

Davies, Richard, Paul Ayris, Rory McLeod, Helen Shenton and Paul Wheatley.“How much does it cost? The LIFE Project Costing Models for Digital Curation and Preservation.” LIBER Quarterly, Vol. 17, no. 3/4, 2007. Available at

Digital Preservation Coalition. “Report for the DCC/DPC Workshop on Cost Models for Preserving Digital Assets.” Available at A series of powerpoint presentations from a day-long workshop held on July 26, 2005.

“Erpa Guidance: Cost Orientation Tool.” 2003. Available at

“espida Handbook: Expressing project costs and benefits in a systematic way for investment in information and IT.” University of Glasgow/JISC. 2007. Available at

Ghosh, Rishab Aiyer. “Cooking Pot Markets: an Economic Model for the Trade in Free Goods and Services on the Internet.” First Monday, Issue 3_3, 1998. Available at

Griffin, Vanessa, Kathleen Fontaine, Gregory Hunolt, Arthur Booth, and David Torrealba. “Cost Estimation Tool Set for NASA’s Strategic Evolution of ESE Data Systems.” NASA. Unknown date. Available at

Hahn, Robert W. and Paul C. Tetlock. “Using Information Markets to Improve Public Decision Making.” AE_-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies; 2005. Available at

Hendley, Tony. “Comparison of Methods & Costs of Digital Preservation.” British Library Research and Innovation Report 106; 1998. Available at

Hunter, Laurie, Elizabeth Webster and Anne Wyatt. “Measuring Intangible Capital: A Review of Current Practice.” Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia. Working Paper No. 16/04; 2005. Available at

Hunter, Laurie. “DCC Digital Curation Manual: Investment in an Intangible Asset.” University of Glasgow. 2006. Available at

Iansiti, Marco, and Gregory L. Richards. “The Business of Free Software: Enterprise Incentives, Investment, and Motivation in the Open Source Community.” Harvard Business School. 2006. Preliminary draft available at

King, Dennis M. King and Marisa Mazzotta. “Ecosystem Valuation.” Available at While this website pertains to considerations of natural environment valuation, its findings are applicable to the consideration of other intangible asset economies, such as the economic system surrounding digital preservation.

James, Hamish, Raivo Ruusalepp, Sheila Anderson, and Stephen Pinfield. “Feasibility and Requirements Study on Preservation of E-Prints.” JISC; 2003. Pg. 41-55. Available at

Lavoie, Brian. “Of Mice and Memory: Economically Sustainable Preservation for the Twenty-first Century.” Found in Access in the Future Tense. CLIR; 2004. Pg. 45-54. Available at

Lavoie, Brian. “The Fifth Blackbird: Some Thoughts on Economically Sustainable Digital Preservation.” DLib Magazine, Vol. 14, no. 3/4. March/April 2008. Available at

Lavoie, Brian. “The Incentives to Preserve Digital Materials: Roles, Scenarios, and Economic Decision-Making.” OCLC Office of Research; 2003. Available at

Longhorn, Roger, and Michael Blakemore. “Re-visiting the Valuing and Pricing of Digital Geographic Information.” Journal of Digital Information 4, (2). 2003.  Available at

Machlup, Fritz. Knowledge: Its Creation, Distribution, and Economic Significance. Volume I: Knowledge and Knowledge Production. Princeton University Press; 1980.

Machlup, Fritz. Knowledge: Its Creation, Distribution, and Economic Significance. Volume III: The Economics of Information and Human Capital. Princeton University Press; 1984.

McLeod, Rory, Paul Wheatley, and Paul Ayris. “Lifecycle information for E-literature: Full Report from the LIFE Project.” LIFE Project, London, UK. 2006. Available at

Moore, Richard L., Jim D’Aoust, Robert H. McDonald, and David Minor. Disk and Tape Storage Cost Models. San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California San Diego; La Jolla, CA, USA. 2007. Available at

Oltmans, Erik. “Cost Models in Digital Archiving.” Presentation at LIBER 2004 , Life Cycle Collection Management, St. Petersburg, July 1, 2004. Available at

Oltmans, Erik, and Nanda Kol. “A Comparison Between Migration and Emulation in Terms of Costs.” RLG Diginews Volume 9, Number 2; 2005. Available at

Palm, Jonas. “The Digital Black Hole.” Riksarkivet/National Archives Sweden. Available at

Perens, Bruce. “The Emerging Economic Paradigm of Open Source.” First Monday Special Issue #2: Open Source. October 3, 2005. Available at

Phillips, Margaret E. “Selective Archiving of Web Resources: A Study of Acquisition Costs at the National Library of Australia.” RLG DigiNews, Volume 9, Number 3. Available at

Sanett, Shelby. “The Cost to Preserve Authentic Electronic Records in Perpetuity: Comparing Costs across Cost Models and Cost Frameworks.” RLG Diginews, August 15, 2003, Volume 7, Number 4. Available at

Sanett, Shelby. “Toward Developing a Framework of Cost Elements for Preserving Authentic Electronic Records into Perpetuity.” College and Research Libraries 63 (5):388-404. 2002. Available at

Smith, David M. “The Cost of Lost Data.” Graziadio Business Report, Volume 6, Issue 3: 2003. Available at

Throsby, David. “Determining the Value of Cultural Goods: How Much (or How Little) Does Contingent Valuation Tell Us?” Journal of Cultural Economics 27: 275–285, 2003. Available at

Torre, Marta de la, editor. “Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage: Research Report.” The Getty Conservation Institute; 2002. Available at

Walters, Tyler and Katherine Skinner. “Economics, Sustainability, and the Cooperative Model in Digital Preservation.” Library High Tech, Vol. 28, no. 2, 2010. Available at

Wellcome Trust. “Costs and business models in scientific research publishing.” SQW; 2004. Available at

Wellcome Trust. “Economic analysis of scientific research publishing: A report commissioned by the Wellcome Trust.” SQW; 2003. Available at

Wheatley, Paul, P. Ayris, R. Davies, R. Mcleod and H. Shenton. “The LIFE Model v1.1. Discussion paper.” LIFE Project, London, UK. 2007. Available at

Comments (2)

  1. Paul,

    Thanks kindly. I’ll certainly check those resources out. Always looking for more!

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