Host Institution Strategies for Sustaining Digital Resources

Published August 09, 2012

This project is in process.

Over the past decade, investment from private and public funders has helped to create a rich landscape of digital resources in the higher education and cultural heritage sectors. These projects, whether focused on digitization, born-digital content, or other scholarly tools, can be costly to maintain. Especially for those projects that begin with grant funding, developing sustainable business models for the long term can be an elusive goal.


Ithaka S+R is examining the role that institutional hosts play in maintaining digital scholarly resources beyond implementation. Leaders of digital projects often consider institutional support to be a critical part of their long term plans, but untested assumptions about this reliance abound. Institutional administrators may not fully understand the costs and significance of these projects, while project leaders may face difficulties in communicating the needs and value of their work.


This area of work will attempt to uncover the expectations and assumptions held by project leaders and funders, the decision-making processes and rationales from university administrators and management, and the actual systems in place to support this work at academic and cultural heritage institutions. By developing a common language for cost, impact, and value, we hope to encourage and support long term sustainability of digital scholarly projects.


With the generous support of funders in the United States and the United Kingdom we are able to explore these issues through the following projects:


Available Reports

Sustaining Our Digital Future

  • JISC-funded, November 2011-December 2012
  • Focus on UK institutions
  • Deep dives explore University College London, Imperial War Museums, and National Library of Wales


Sustaining the Digital Humanities

  • National Endowment for the Humanities-funded, October 2012 – April 2014
  • Focus on digital humanities at US-based higher education institutions
  • Will include deep dives of two institutions


Sustaining Digital Content in Cultural Institutions

  • Canadian Heritage Information Network-funded, October 2012-March 2013
  • Focus on Canadian museums
  • Case study of the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia


Deliverables for the UK and US phases of work will include final reports and tools that can be used by project leaders seeking to make a case for institutional assistance and university administrators seeking to better understand and support digital projects on their campuses. The deliverable for the Canadian phase of work will include a case study of the Museum of Anthropology and a toolkit. All materials will be made freely available on the Ithaka S+R website upon publication.

This project is in process.

Want to receive Ithaka S+R email updates?

Sign up

  • Required*

    Read our privacy policy here:

Thank you.

You will be hearing from us shortly

More Info