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Deutsche National Bibliothek
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National Library Estonia
The Royal Library
Statens Arkiver
UK Data Archive
University of Glasgow

‘Call for Curation Cost Models’ by Ulla Bøgvad Kejser

Ulla Bogvad KejserDo you know a model or tool for finding out the cost of managing digital information assets? Then please let the 4C project know!

The 4C project aims to point out gaps that need to be bridged between the usability of currently available models and tools, and stakeholders’ needs for financial information. To discover the nature of these needs 4C has already initiated a consultation with stakeholders which remains open and we welcome your input.

Digital information asset management – also known as curation – covers a wide range of activities carried out to ensure that assets remain valuable to stakeholders. To manage information assets efficiently organisations responsible for sustaining curation need to know what activities are involved, how much they cost, and what the cost drivers are.

The main activities in curation are appraisal, selection and preparation of assets, transfer of assets to a repository (ingest), data management, archival storage, preservation planning, access, and repository administration. This categorisation is based on The Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (ISO 14721).

It is not a trivial task to determine the cost of curation and this is due to several things: There are many and interrelated activities involved in curation. The activities can be implemented in more ways, and they can be set up to meet different quality requirements. This complexity makes it hard to specify the activities in a precise and clear-cut way, and indeed there are no standardised ways of breaking down and accounting for the cost of curation activities. On top, digital curation activities depend heavily on constantly evolving technologies, and this leads to ongoing changes in systems and procedures, and thus also in the costs.

 Assessing the costs of digital curation is not a new challenge per se, but coupled with the rapid growth in the amount and complexity of information assets, budgets for curation are increasingly under pressure and this has emphasised the need for reliable and comparable cost data to know where efficiencies can be gained. This is where cost models come into play.

One of the core goals of the 4C project is to bring together existing knowledge on how to determine the costs of curating digital information assets, and to extract from this knowledge base the best practices in cost modelling. To complete our understanding of cost drivers the 4C project is also on the lookout for models and tools that describe the benefit and value of digital information assets, as well as stakeholders’ motivation for sustaining curation activities.

So far the 4C project has collected a handful of models and tools to be evaluated:

However, if you know of additional publicly available models or tools that are relevant for assessing costs and/or benefits of digital information asset management please let us know by sending me an e-mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.ubk[@] You are also welcome to contact me if you have further questions about the model and tool evaluation.

Ulla Bøgvad Kejser, The Royal Library, Denmark

Ulla is a member of the 4C Work Package 3 “Assessment” working on evaluation of existing models and tools for assessment of the costs and benefits of digital curation.