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Curation Costs Exchange

Understanding and comparing digital curation costs to support smarter investments


This glossary is intended to define a number of key terms applicable to the 4C project.

A record of past (ex post) financial transactions. 4C
Principle of Accountability: A senior executive (or a person of comparable authority) shall oversee the information governance program and delegate responsibility for records and information management to appropriate individuals. The organization adopts policies and procedures to guide personnel and ensure that the program can be audited. ARMA,
Accounting model
Set of basic assumptions, concepts, principles and procedures that determine the methods of recognizing, recording, measuring and reporting an entity's financial transactions. BusinessDictionary,
Accounting principles
The rules and guidelines that companies must follow when reporting financial data. The common set of accounting principles is the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Accounting principles differ around the world, and countries usually have their own, slightly different, versions of GAAP. Investopia,
Measureable amount of work performed by systems and/or people to produce a result. 4C
Activity-based costing
Activity-based costing (ABC) is a costing methodology that identifies activities in an organization and assigns the cost of each activity with resources to all products and services according to the actual consumption by each. This model assigns more indirect costs (overhead) into direct costs compared to conventional costing. Wikipedia,
Activity checklist
A checklist of digital curation activities that incur costs. Activities may be ordered in categories and different levels of sub categories. 4C
A mechanism for distributing capital costs over the estimated useful lifetime of an intangible asset to indicate how much of the asset's value has been used. 4C
A resource with economic value that an individual, corporation or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide future benefit. Investopia,
The formal assessment of conformity by independent parties. An audit may also result in a Corrective Action Plan whereby the organisation has a record of the actions that need to carry out in order to maintain the requirements of the standard. 4C
The degree to which a person (or system) regards an object as what it is purported to be. Authenticity is judged on the basis of evidence. Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) June 2012, p. 1-9,
Principle of Availability: An organization shall maintain records and information in a manner that ensures timely, efficient, and accurate retrieval of needed information. ARMA,
Benefit (finance)
Desirable and measurable outcome or result from an action, investment, project, resource, or technology BusinessDictionary,
Benefit (long-term)
Benefits expected to be received beyond five years from the present Beagrie, A Guide to the KRDS Benefit Framework v. 3, 2011, p.2
Benefit (near-term)
Benefits expected to be received up to five years from the present Beagrie, A Guide to the KRDS Benefit Framework v. 3, 2011, p.2
Benefit model
A representation that describes the benefits (financial and non-financial) and value of digital curation 4C
Big data science
Institutions for scientific research that deal with large amounts of data, e.g. space and high-energy physics research 4C
An estimation of the revenue and expenses over a specified future period of time. Investopia,
Business case
An argument usually presented as a document to convince a decision maker to approve an action. The argument should justify the use of resources to support a business need. For this document the business need is carrying out some form of assessment (either a self-assessment, or a formal audit). 4C
Business model
The plan implemented by a company to generate revenue and make a profit from operations. The model includes the components and functions of the business, as well as the revenues it generates and the expenses it incurs. Investopedia,
Business Process
A set of activities that are performed within an organization or across organizations. A Business Process may contain more than one separate Process. Each Process may have its own Sub-Processes. Individual Processes would be independent in terms of sequence flow, but could have message flows connecting them. An activity is work that is performed within a business process. An activity can be atomic or non-atomic (compound). The types of activity that are a part of a Business Process are: Process, Sub-Process, and Task. OMG Business Motivation Model,
Capital cost
Cost incurred once, by acquisition (building space, equipment, materials) or by investments. Also known as investment cost or one-time cost. 4C
The assignment of a certificate to a body or system related to a standard. In the case of ISO certification, third parties offer these services. ISO does not offer certification though its committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) has produced a number of standards defining international consensus on voluntary criteria in certification good practice. 4C
Means of communication with internal and externals audiences, e.g. social media, direct email, face to face. 4C
Principle of Compliance: An information governance program shall be constructed to comply with applicable laws and other binding authorities, as well as with the organization’s policies. ARMA,
Concept model
A conceptual model represents 'concepts' (entities) and relationships between them within a problem domain. Wikipedia,
Confidentiality is a set of rules or a promise that limits access or places restrictions on certain types of information. Wikipedia,
Consultation (4C)
A tool in form of a questionnaire consisting of 13 basic questions and optional 33 additional questions to analyse the potential stakeholder group in-depth; via mailing and web. 4C
Corrective Action
Operationalizing and implementing a Corrective Action Plan 4C
An amount that has to be paid or given up in order to get something. In business, cost is usually a monetary valuation of (1) effort, (2) material, (3) resources, (4) time and utilities consumed, (5) risks incurred, and (6) opportunity forgone in production and delivery of a good or service. All expenses are costs, but not all costs (such as those incurred in acquisition of an income-generating asset) are expenses BusinessDictionary,
Cost data
Factual information concerning the cost of labor, material, overhead and other cost elements. Justia,
Cost element
The units costs can be broken down into (e.g. one-time or recurring costs, capital and labour costs). 4C
Cost model
A representation that describe how resources, such as labour and capital, required for accomplishing digital curation activities relate to costs. Cost models can further be characterised by their cost structure and how they model cost variables. 4C
Cost model expert
Institutions that have developed and/or implemented a digital preservation cost model 4C
Cost parameter
A factor that helps in defining the system being costed, including cost elements (e.g. capital/labour cost) and cost variables (for example quantity of assets, salary levels). 4C
Cost structure
Defines the way a model break down costs in elements according to the dimensions activity, resource and time. 4C
Cost tool
Implementation of a cost model in an electronic spreadsheet or costing program 4C
Cost variable
Factors that influence the cost, can be divided in service adjustments (for example quantity and quality of assets, and quality of curation services) and in economic adjustments (such as inflation/deflation, depreciation/amortization, and interest [discount rates]). 4C
Curation Costs Exchange (CCEx)
The CCEx is an online, virtual community platform for the exchange of curation cost information. 4C
The amount of a particular economic good or service that a consumer or group of consumers will want to purchase at a given price. InvestorWords,
A mechanism for distributing capital costs over the estimated useful lifetime of a tangible asset to indicate how much of the asset’s value has been used. 4C
Direct costs
Costs associated with resources used directly for performing digital curation activities (for example costs of acquisition of storage media, costs of adding metadata), where the amount of resources spent can be directly measured. Also known as variable costs. 4C
Digital curation
Digital curation is a series of repository activities including ingest, data management, (archival) storage, preservation planning, access, common services, and repository administration, as well as pre-repository activities (production and pre-ingest (e.g. appraisal, selection, preparation, rights), post-repository activities, and management activities. 4C
Digital preservation solution/storage vendors
Companies with products in the area of digital preservation, e.g. storage vendors, software providers 4C
Principle of Disposition: An organization shall provide secure and appropriate disposition for records and information that are no longer required to be maintained by applicable laws and the organization’s policies. ARMA,
As opposed to communication, dissemination describes the one way process of issuing information, without seeking or receiving communication in return. 4C
Economic model
A representation that describes how economic processes around digital curation work; including the flow of resources (costs and revenues) within the economic lifecycle of digital information assets, and stakeholders interaction with this lifecycle. 4C
Economies of scale
The reduction in long-run average and marginal costs arising from an increase in size of an operating unit (a factory or plant, for example). Economics of scale can be internal to an organization (cost reduction due to technological and management factors) or external (cost reduction due to the effect of technology in an industry). BusinessDictionary,
Economies of Scope
Reduction in long-run average and marginal costs, due to the production of similar or related goods or services where the output or provision of an item 'A' reduces the cost of item 'B.' BusinessDictionary,
The degree to which objectives are achieved and the extent to which targeted problems are solved. In contrast to efficiency, effectiveness is determined without reference to costs and, whereas efficiency means "doing the thing right," effectiveness means "doing the right thing." BusinessDictionary,
The comparison of what is actually produced or performed with what can be achieved with the same consumption of resources (money, time, labor, etc.). It is an important factor in determination of productivity. BusinessDictionary,
Ex-ante (future costs)
"Ex-ante (future costs) is defined as a way to forecast the results of a particular action, or series of actions." Wikipedia,
Ex-post (past costs)
"Past/current costs (ex-post) are the decryption of past expenses based on facts." 4C
Extensible framework interview template
A framework for in-depth interviews and mini-consultations with stakeholder groups ; starting with questions based on the ones from the initial consultation; to be enriched during the project lifetime correspondent to the process of the needs and requirements of the workpackages as well as the stakeholder groups 4C
Financial accounting
The process of recording, summarizing and reporting the myriad of transactions from a business, so as to provide an accurate picture of its financial position and performance. The primary objective of financial accounting is the preparation of financial statements - including the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement - that encapsulates the company's operating performance over a particular period, and financial position at a specific point in time. These statements - which are generally prepared quarterly and annually, and in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) - are aimed at external parties including investors, creditors, regulators and tax authorities. Investopia,
Financial adjustments
Adjustments of financial statements due to inflation or deflation, depreciation or amortization; or the cost of return for financing and investment. In KRDS these are called economic adjustments. Neil Beagrie, User guide for KRDS v.2, 2011, p. 12: (Ulla Bøgvad Kejser)
Financial information
All types of information necessary for financial management (accounting, budgeting, and charging). It includes factual data on the cost (e.g. labour, materials and overhead), additional information describing what is being costed (e.g. assumptions and specifications), as well as information that relates to the benefits and value that the digital curation activities accrue and how these incentives influence economic behaviour and performance. 4C
Fixed costs
Costs which do not vary with the amount of production. Often the same as indirect costs. 4C
Focus group
Specially organized meeting for every stakeholder group to understand their needs and requirements as well as to gain a better understanding of their views on nature of cost, benefit value, sustainability etc.; ideally attached to a key event 4C
Full economic cost (FEC)
The full economic cost of an activity incorporates all direct and indirect costs, including all cost adjustments required under the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) methodology. Higher Education Funding Council for England,
Full-time equivalent (FTE)
A unit that indicates the workload of a worker by expressing the ratio of the total number of paid hours during a period by the number of working hours in that period. Also known as annual work unit (AWU). Used to make workloads comparable. 4C
Establishment of policies, and continuous monitoring of their proper implementation, by the members of the governing body of an organization. It includes the mechanisms required to balance the powers of the members (with the associated accountability), and their primary duty of enhancing the prosperity and viability of the organization. BusinessDictionary,
Establishment of policies, and continuous monitoring of their proper implementation, by the members of the governing body of an organization. It includes the mechanisms required to balance the powers of the members (with the associated accountability), and their primary duty of enhancing the prosperity and viability of the organization. 4C
Indirect costs
Costs incurred by the usage of shared resources, such as general management and administration or common facilities and systems, where it has not been possible to distribute the cost on specific activities. Also known as residual cost or overhead. Often the same as fixed costs. 4C
Indirect economic determinant
Indirect economic determinants are management tools that can be applied in any organisation to help ensure sustainable digital curation. 4C
"Companies that deal with a great amount of data, e.g. automotive, aviation, banks & finance, bioinformatics,cartography, defense industry, pharmaceutical, space" 4C Information asset Any information that represent value to stakeholders 4C
Innovation refers to the use of a better and, as a result, novel idea or method [and is about] doing something different[ly] rather than doing the same thing better. 4C
Intangible asset
An asset that is not physical in nature. Corporate intellectual property (items such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, business methodologies), goodwill and brand recognition are all common intangible assets in today's marketplace. Investopia,
Principle of Integrity: An information governance program shall be constructed so the information generated by or managed for the organization has a reasonable and suitable guarantee of authenticity and reliability. ARMA,
Internal Review
the process by which an organisation undertakes a review of the controls within a standard to develop a statement of applicability (defining which controls do, and do not apply, and thus either within or beyond the scope of the audit). 4C
The ability of two or more systems or components to exchange and use information. Addressing Digital Preservation: Proposals for New Perspectives, 2009, pg 1
Investment costs
See capital costs. 4C
Key message
The main object/purpose of 4C communications to targeted stakeholder groups. 4C
Labour costs
Cost of wages paid to workers. 4C
Law of supply and demand
The common sense principle that defines the generally observed relationship between demand, supply, and prices: as demand increases the price goes up, which attracts new suppliers who increase the supply bringing the price back to normal. However, in the marketing of high price (prestige) goods, such as perfumes, jewelry, watches, cars, liquor, a low price may be associated with low quality, and may reduce demand. BusinessDictionary,
A model is an abstraction of phenomena in the real world; a metamodel is yet another abstraction, highlighting properties of the model itself. Wikipedia,
Graphical, mathematical (symbolic), physical, or verbal representation or simplified version of a concept, phenomenon, relationship, structure, system, or an aspect of the real world. The objectives of a model include (1) to facilitate understanding by eliminating unnecessary components, (2) to aid in decision making by simulating 'what if' scenarios, (3) to explain, control, and predict events on the basis of past observations. Since most objects and phenomenon are very complicated (have numerous parts) and much too complex (parts have dense interconnections) to be comprehended in their entirety, a model contains only those features that are of primary importance to the model maker's purpose. BusinessDictionary,
A representation of a subject of interest. A model provides a smaller scale, simplified, and/or abstract representation of the subject matter. A model is constructed as a ‘‘means to an end’’. In the context of enter pr ise architecture, the subject matter is a whole or par t of the enter pr ise and the end is the ability to construct ‘‘views’’ that address the concerns of particular stakeholders; i.e., their ‘‘viewpoints’’ in relation to the subject matter. The Open Group Architecture Forum (TOGAF),
Non cost data
That does not contain any cost information but which includes significant facts necessary in describing what is being costed. For example, assumptions, schedules, specifications, technical descriptions, etc. BusinessDictionary,
Numerical values
Values are numerical, boolean, ordered lists that are assigned to a parameter or the result of a function 4C
One-time costs
See capital costs. 4C
Operating costs
See recurring costs. 4C
A self-contained unit of resources with line management responsibility, goals, objectives, and measures. Organizations may include exter nal par ties and business partner organizations. The Open Group Architecture Forum (TOGAF),
Definable, measurable, and constant or variable characteristic, dimension, property, or value, selected from a set of data (or population) because it is considered essential to understanding a situation (or in solving a problem). Examples of parameters in cost modelling: investment cost; operational cost; number of files; data volume; number of redundant copies 4C, BusinessDictionary,
Performance Indicator
A unit of measurement designed to evaluate the success of its associated activity 4C
Periodic cost
Cost that are repeated and incur at intervals (for example some licenses). Also known as term cost. 4C
Post-audit surveillance
Formal continuous assessment of conformity and improvement by independent parties, at scheduled times. Post-audit surveillance is generally a precondition of continued certification. 4C
Preparation process
Creating a statement of applicability listing all controls in the standard and listing the existing evidence to support each of the applicable controls in the standard. 4C
Preservation action
A preservation action is a concrete action (usually implemented by a software tool) performed on content in order to achieve preservation goals. For example, a migration of content to a different representation using a certain tool in a certain configuration and environment; the replacement of a viewer; the execution of a legacy viewer in an emulation environment... Preservation actions are thus the main object of interest for planning, which has to find the best action among a number of choices. A composite Preservation Action may consist of elementary Preservation Actions and may include conditional branches and other control-flow constructs (e.g. in an executable workflow) SCAPE Glossary,
Preservation characterization
The process of extracting properties/features from content that are perceived of interest and documenting in a structured form. SCAPE Glossary,
Preservation plan
A preservation plan defines a series of preservation actions to be taken by a responsible institution due to an identified risk for a given set of digital objects or records (called collection). The Preservation Plan takes into account the preservation policies, legal obligations, organisational and technical constraints, user requirements and preservation goals and describes the preservation context, the evaluated preservation strategies and the resulting decision for one strategy, including the reasoning for the decision. It also specifies a series of steps or actions (called preservation action plan) along with responsibilities and rules and conditions for execution on the collection. Provided that the actions and their deployment as well as the technical environment allow it, this action plan is an executable workflow definition. SCAPE Glossary,
Unique/bespoke combination of communication activities and messages directed at a particular stakeholder group. 4C
Principle of Protection: An information governance program shall be constructed to ensure a reasonable level of protection for records and information that are private, confidential, privileged, secret, classified, or essential to business continuity or that otherwise require protection. ARMA,
An encompassing term comprising utility, objectivity, and integrity. 4C
Quality assurance
The process of measuring properties of renderings/performances of content (by analysing the content, by simulating a rendering, or by other means....), comparing renderings and delivering measures of similarity according to specified criteria of interest in a structured form. SCAPE Glossary,
Recurring costs
On going cost (such as from consumption of media, energy and labour). Also known as running cost or operating cost. 4C
Reference Model
An abstract framework for understanding significant relationships among the entities of some environment, and for the development of consistent standards or specifications supporting that environment OASIS - Advancing Open Standards for the Information Society -
Reputation is a component of identity as defined by others. It is a tool to predict behaviour based on past actions and characteristics. 4C
Resource costs
Cost associated with a particular type of resource - capital or labour. 4C
Principle of Retention: An organization shall maintain its records and information for an appropriate time, taking into account its legal, regulatory, fiscal, operational, and historical requirements. ARMA,
The effect of uncertainty on objectives. Risk refers to positive possibilities as well as negative ones (opportunities and threats) 4C, ISO Guide 73:2009, Risk management -- Vocabulary
Running costs
See recurring costs. 4C
An informal assessment of conformity by the organisation under observation. (The term self-audit is often used by organisations incorrectly). The results should provide a self-assessed statement of conformity to each ‘control’ thereby defining an overall level of conformance. A self-assessment may also result in a Corrective Action Plan whereby the organisation has a record of the actions that it would need to carry out in order to meet the requirements of the standard. 4C
Confidentiality and assurance that information is held in confidence and protected from unauthorized disclosure. 4C
Service adjustments
Adjustments of services that will influence the financial statement, including adjustment of labour costs, duration of retention time, distribution of capital and recurring cost, economics of scale and scope, degree of automation. From Beagrie, User guide for KRDS v.2, 2011, p. 13:
Skill is a measure of the amount of worker’s expertise, specialization, wages, and supervisory capacity. 4C
A person, group or organization that has interest or concern in an organization BusinessDictionary,
The total amount of a good or service available for purchase; along with demand, one of the two key determinants of price. InvestorWords,
Sustainability (Digital)
Having a mechanism in place for generating, or gaining access to, the economic resources necessary to keep the intellectual property or the service available on an ongoing basis Guthrie, K., Griffiths, R., Maron, N. Sustainability and revenue models for online academic resources: an Ithaka repor(pdf), JISC 2008 -
Tangible asset
Assets that have a physical form. Tangible assets include both fixed assets, such as machinery, buildings and land, and current assets, such as inventory. Investopia,
Principle of Transparency: An organization’s business processes and activities, including its information governance program, shall be documented in an open and verifiable manner, and that documentation shall be available to all personnel and appropriate interested parties. ARMA,
Quality of being authentic and reliable. BusinessDictionary,
User/user community
See Stakeholder. 4C
Value is something that may be intrinsic to an information object, but which may not have any currency with a funding organisation; it is seen through the eye of the beholder. Discovery of what is, or is not, important to a proposed funding organisation can be made through their organisational objectives or strategic plan. Currall, et al., The world is all grown digital.... How shall a man persuade management what to do in such times?, IJDC, Issue 1, Vol. 2, 2007, p. 18
Value proposition
A business or marketing statement that summarizes why a consumer should buy a product or use a service. This statement should convince a potential consumer that one particular product or service will add more value or better solve a problem than other similar offerings. Investopedia,
Variable costs
Costs, which vary directly with the amount of production. Often the same as direct costs. 4C