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What's the best way to assess costs for digital libraries?

In 2014, Joyce Chapman, Assessment Coordinator for Duke Universities, developed a beta version of a Library Digitization Cost Calculator to assist organizations in estimating the costs for digitizing collections and initiate a conversation at the 2014 DLF Forum around cost assessment in digital libraries. In spring of 2014, the Cost Assessment working group of the DLF Assessment Interest Group was founded. This group was tasked with drafting [best practices and guidelines for the collection of time data for various digitization processes], which will be used to standardize collection of such data in the field as well as to guide data submissions to the Digital Cost Calculator. The guidelines and definitions are organized according to some of the typical stages of a library project:

  • Preparation of original materials
  • Image capture
  • Quality control
  • Descriptive metadata creation
  • Post-processing
  • Post-preparation

The guidelines include definitions for a total of 20 specific data fields within these six areas, ranging from fastener removal to condition review and alignment/rotation of images.

In August 2015, the group produced wire frames showing the planned interface and functionality of the Digitization Cost Calculator 2.0, as well as wireframes of how results would appear.

In September, the group released a call for data submissions using the new guidelines and a new data submission form. The Digitization Cost Calculator 2.0 cannot be built until at least one set of data has been contributed in each of the 20 categories listed in the guidelines.

If you are interested in helping us develop best practices and guidelines for assessing costs of digital libraries, please join our Digital Library Assessment Google Group and speak up!

See the cost assessment bibliography produced by the Cost Assessment working group here:

Members of the Cost Assessment Working Group

  • Joyce Chapman, Duke University, (coordinator)
  • Kinza Masood, University of Utah
  • Chrissy Reissmeyer, University of California Santa Barbara
  • Dan Zellner, Northwestern University