Project Proposal Process

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The project proposal process aims to provide a transparent framework and formal process for selecting and prioritizing projects while improving the overall workflow and workload of those involved.

Determine who will be approving project proposals and how often.

Consider the selection criteria. Possible criteria might include:

  • Programmatic Value: the project supports current or emerging research and instruction in one or more specific subject areas or supports the academic work of one or more defined user groups or information communities
  • Instructional Support: the project is intended for eReserves or campus-use only
  • Accessibility/Added Value: the project enhances the value and/or the preservation of the existing collection(s) by making it more accessible, better integrated, and/or more likely to be used
  • Open Access for research and teaching: the copyright status of the collection makes this project available for open access
  • Historical/Cultural Value: the project contributes to the existing collections, history and culture of the University, the region, national or international communities
  • Intrinsic Value: the materials are rare or there is some other self-evident value that the project would contribute to the University and the Libraries
  • Collaborative Value: the project promotes internal collaboration between or among units of the Libraries, between the Libraries and other University units, and/or external collaboration with other institutions
  • Developmental Value: the project promotes a specific developmental or stewardship initiative
  • Public Service Value: the project serves users in the Libraries, the University, and beyond the immediate University community
  • Viability: the project has a demonstrated commitment and support from the project proposing unit, and avoids duplication of effort

Also consider:

  • Is this project fully defined with a specific objective with a start and end date?
  • What impact the project might have on the daily work of the team, the program, or other programs?
  • What technical capabilities and services might be involved in this project and require to maintain?
  • Are there specific funding or resources requirements?
  • Are there any scheduling issues or obstacles that need to be addressed?

At the UC San Diego Library, digital project proposals are submitted to the Digital Collections Group, which consists of the program directors for special collections & archives, metadata services, and digital initiatives. Curators, subject specialists and technical consultants are also members on a rotating basis. The Chair rotates every two years reporting to the Assistant University Librarian for Collections, and has a seat on the Digital Library Steering Committee. A project proposal requiring significant resources or a new technology goes to the Digital Library Steering Committee. Project proposals must be submitted with a Checklist to Determine Access Options and are reviewed on an ongoing basis at the Digital Collections Group quarterly meetings or via email.

Please contribute additional information or other examples to the DLF Project Managers Toolkit. If you have examples to share, please provide some context, such as the purpose or goal, institution, teams and team size, etc.


  • Project Management Institute. 2018. A guide to the project management body of knowledge: (PMBOK® guide). Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA: Project Management Institute.

There are lots of great articles, presentations and grey lit out there on project management and digital libraries. We've created a Zotero Group library at and encourage you to add more when you read something good.