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Curation Costs Exchange

Understanding and comparing digital curation costs to support smarter investments

Comparing Costs - How does it Work?

The CCEx Cost Comparison Tool uses three core concepts to help those investing in digital curation compare their costs with other CCEx users and similar organisations:

  • Stakeholder Context
  • Resources
  • Services/Activities

These three core cost concepts provide the basis upon which the CCEx Cost Comparison Tool presents its cost comparison, but also provides a framework of reference for cost concepts models, methods and tools for repository managers, cost model theorists and tool developers in future research and development.

Read more about Core Cost Concepts

When sharing cost data through the CCEx Cost Comparison Tool, you will be asked to describe your organisation’s ‘stakeholder context’ (although you may choose to remain anonymous) by providing profile information, before indicating whether you identify your costs as either ‘resources’ or ‘service/activities.’ Mapping your information onto these categories helps the CCEx Cost Comparison Tool provide comparisons with other CCEx users and similar organisations.

Stakeholder Context

Users are asked to describe their organisation in terms of: Type, purpose, mission, location and currency used. For each data set submitted, users are also asked to describe their collections in terms of: The scope to which the data pertains (e.g. whole organisation, department, project, or collection), curation staff in scope, data volume, number of copies policy and an indication of asset types. This information helps the CCEx Cost Comparison Tool compare your data with that of similar organisations.

Resources

Users are asked to indicate whether they break their costs down by purchases:

  • Hardware - Machines and media used throughout the whole digital asset lifecycle. Hardware may receive, store, validate, make copies, migrate and disseminate digital assets.
  • Software - Programs used throughout the whole digital asset lifecycle. Software may receive, process, validate, create copies, migrate and disseminate digital assets.
  • External or third party services - Costs spent to buy services from 3rd party providers. Includes outsourcing, renting and leasing of hardware and software.
  • Overhead - All costs pertaining to overhead costs such as building costs, electricity, water, etc.

And human resource costs:

  • Producer - Any individual involved in creating digital content. This may include for example researchers generating and managing digital research data or aggregating new subsets of existing data for new analysis; government employees undertaking data collection and analysis. Producers may also include software developers and vendors who are producing code to enable analysis, manipulation and visualisation of digital content.
  • IT developer - Staff members who develop software. Software engineers, programmers, system developers, coders.
  • Support/operations - Staff members who execute technical tasks, for example testing digital material at ingest, operating the computers when migration occurs, burning optical disks, setting up robots, etc.
  • Preservation analyst - Staff members who execute the preservation planning of the managers; archivists who appraise digital assets, consult at access, execute administrative tasks.
  • Manager - Staff members who organise and plan the work of digital curation in their organisation. Make tactical and strategic decisions, have staff responsibility and do budgeting. 

Services/Activities

Users may also indicate that they break their costs down by services and activities: 

  • Production - Digital content production involves any activity related to planning, creation, management, preservation and adding value to digital assets throughout their lifecycle.
  • Ingest - This activity covers processes related to receiving digital assets from an external source and preparing them for storage. Examples of activities that could fit into this activity category are: appraisal, submission agreement, validation of digital assets, metadata enrichment, preparing digital assets for storage within the archive.
  • Archival storage - This activity covers processes related to storing, maintaining and retrieving the digital assets. Examples of activities that could fit into this activity category are: error checking, media migration, storage hierarchy management, providing disaster recovery capabilities.
  • Access - This activity covers processes related to accessing the stored digital assets. Examples of activities that could fit into this activity category are: providing access to digital assets and describing them meaningfully by adding relevant metadata to them.