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A National Agenda Bibliography for Digital Asset Sustainability and Preservation Cost Modeling

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"Digital Ecosystem Layers" from user mlbourgeois on <a href="">Flickr</a>.
“Digital Ecosystem Layers” from user mlbourgeois on Flickr.

The 2014 National Digital Stewardship Agenda, released in July 2013, is still a must-read (have you read it yet?). It integrates the perspective of dozens of experts to provide funders and decision-makers with insight into emerging technological trends, gaps in digital stewardship capacity and key areas for development.

The Agenda suggests a number of important research areas for the digital stewardship community to consider, but the need for more coordinated applied research in cost modeling and sustainability is high on the list of areas prime for research and scholarship.

The section in the Agenda on “Applied Research for Cost Modeling and Audit Modeling” suggests some areas for exploration:

“Currently there are limited models for cost estimation for ongoing storage of digital content; cost estimation models need to be robust and flexible. Furthermore, as discussed below…there are virtually no models available to systematically and reliably predict the future value of preserved content. Different approaches to cost estimation should be explored and compared to existing models with emphasis on reproducibility of results. The development of a cost calculator would benefit organizations in making estimates of the longterm storage costs for their digital content.”

In June of 2012 I put together a bibliography of resources touching on the economic sustainability of digital resources. I’m pleasantly surprised as all the new work that’s been done in the meantime, but as the Agenda suggests, there’s more room for directed research in this area. Or perhaps, as Paul Wheatley suggests in this blog post, what’s really needed are coordinated responses to sustainability challenges that build directly on this rich body of work, and that effectively communicate the results out to a wide audience.

I’ve updated the bibliography, hoping that researchers and funders will explore the existing body of projects, approaches and research, note the gaps in coverage suggested by the Agenda and make efforts to address the gaps in the near future through new research or funding.

As always, we welcome any additions you might have to this list. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.

The Web site addresses listed here were all valid as of as January 14, 2014.

Allen, Alexandra. “General Study 16 – Cost Benefit Models: Final Report.” InterPARES3 Project; 2013. Available at

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

Ayris, P.; Davies, R.; McLeod, R.; Miao, R.; Shenton, H.; Wheatley, P. The LIFE2 final project report. LIFE Project: London, UK. 2008. 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

Botea, Juanjo, Belen Fernandez-Feijoo and Silvia Ruiz. “The Cost of Digital Preservation: A Methodological Analysis.” Procedia Technology, Vol. 5; 2012. 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

Charles Beagrie Ltd and the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES), University of Victoria. “Economic Impact Evaluation of the Economic and Social Data Service.” 2012. 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

Fontaine, Kathy, Greg Hunolt, Arthur Booth and Mel Banks. “Observations on Cost Modeling and Performance Measurement of Long-Term Archives.” NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. 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

Granger, Stewart,  Kelly Russell, and Ellis Weinberger: “Cost elements of Digital Preservation (version 4).” October 2000. 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

Guthrie, Kevin, Rebecca J. Griffiths, Nancy L. Maron. Sustainability and Revenue Models for Online Academic Resources. Ithaka; 2008. 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

Kaufman, Peter B. “Assessing the Audiovisual Archive Market: Models and Approaches for Audiovisual Content Exploitation.” Presto Centre. 2013. Available at

Kaur, Kirnn, Patricia Herterich, Suenje Dallmeier-Tiessen, Karlheinz Schmitt, Sabine Schrimpf, Heiko Tjalsma, Simon Lambert and Sharon McMeekin. D32.1 Report on Cost Parameters for Digital Repositories. Alliance for Permanent Access to the Records of Science Network. 2013. Available at

Kejser, Ulla Bøgvad, Anders Bo Nielsen and Alex Thirifays. Cost Model for Digital Preservation:Cost of Digital Migration. International Journal of Digital Curation, Issue 1, Vol. 6; 2011. 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

Lifecycle Information for E-literature: An Introduction to the third phase of the LIFE project. JISC/RIN. 2010. 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.

Maron, Nancy L., K. Kirby Smith, Matthew Loy. Sustaining Digital Resources: An On-the-Ground View of Projects Today. Ithaka; 2009. Available at

Maron, Nancy L., Matthew Loy. Revenue, Recession, Reliance: Revisiting the SCA/Ithaka S+R Case Studies in Sustainability. Ithaka; 2011. Available at

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

Morrissey, Sheila. “The Economy of Free and Open Source Software in the Preservation of Digital Artifacts.” Library Hi Tech, Vol. 28 Iss: 2; 2010. 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

Palaiologk, Anna S., Anastasios A. Economides, Heiko D. Tjalsma and Laurents B. Sesink. “An Activity-based Costing Model for Long-term Preservation and Dissemination of Digital Research Data: the Case of DANS.” International Journal on Digital Libraries, Volume 12, Issue 4, 2012. 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

Rosenthal, David. “Modeling the Economics of Long-Term Storage.” DSHR’s Blog. 2011. 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

Slats, Jacqueline and Remco Verdegem. “Cost Model for Digital Preservation.” Nationaal Archief of the Netherlands. 2005. Available at

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

Strodl, Stephan, and Andreas Rauber. “A Cost Model for Small Scale Automated Digital Preservation Archives.” International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects 2011. 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

UC3 Curation Center. “Total Cost of Preservation (TCP): Cost and Price Modeling for Sustainable Services.” 2013. 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

Wheatley, Paul and Brian Hole. LIFE3: Predicting Long Term Digital Preservation Costs. LIFE3 Project, London, UK. 2009. Available at

Wright, Richard, Ant Miller and Matthew Addis. “The Significance of Storage in the “Cost of Risk” of Digital Preservation.” International Journal of Digital Curation, Vol. 4, No. 3; 2009. Available at

Comments (2)

  1. ENSURE is a project supported under the European Seventh Framework. One of the focal point of the project is Cost Estimation and Cost modeling. The results of the work are published in conferences and journals. The papers are available at:

  2. Arif,

    Thanks kindly for the resource. Keep ’em coming!

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