Guide to ETD Cost and Planning

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This is a placeholder workspace for draft and final documents related to this project deliverable.


About this Document

This guide will provide institutions with succinct information on costs and planning, laying out the critical paths that many ETD programs have charted, together with advice about strategies. This document will be developed in close concert with the ETD Options Guide, and will provide cost-benefit analyses of these scenarios to provide institutions with a range of options to consider for their local needs.

Cost Modeling ETDs

2nd draft version, Feb. 23, 2012. GMc (Version 1 of this outline is available in Google Docs)

Our goal is to understand the costs of the entire life cycle of ETDs. To do so, we need to look at the context as well as their origins. We will try and address costs associated with the full range of ETD initiatives—both born digital and digitized, whether a new or an existing initiative, as well as a university-wide or a single university unit strategy. Many of the issues we will cover can be analyzed independent of their context, e.g., storage, access and preservation issues, as well as integrating ETDs in library catalogs and web discovery tools (e.g., Summon).

We can provide a cost model for an ETD life cycle based on our guidelines. But, realistically, few may use our project outcomes for building a ground-up ETD initiative. Therefore, our Cost Model should be a multifaceted and flexible predictor of institutional resources needed to maintain and improve existing ETD initiatives. Incorporating regional and institutional economic factors; (e.g., cost of living) will effect the usefulness of our cost model also.

The aim of the cost model is to provide an understanding of the cost components that an ETD initiative could expect in both the initial (i.e., set up) stages of operation, during the early stages of development over a ___ year time frame. We want to offer a methodology for assessing lifecycle costs and an easy-to-use system. Examples of costs/expenses are available QSpace and Eakin, and tools exist in KRDS and LIFE. According to LIFE

The 2nd draft version outline is below and is available to all project steering committee authors for review and comment at Google Docs. It is based on the LIFE Model, supplemented by Kenney's model.

See multiple bibliographic entries for LIFE Project (JISC): L = C + Aq + I + BP + CP + Ac Life = Creation + Acquisition + Ingest + Bit-stream Preservation + Content Preservation + Access This might be further modified after understanding the case study: VDEP—Voluntary Deposited Electronic Publications, which sounds quite a bit like ETDs.

DCC/DPC Workshop on Cost Models for Preserving Digital Assets: Anne R. Kenney, 7/26/2005 File: 050726kenney.pdf linked from [1]

==Some Issues== (Jan. 11, 2012, GMc)

Cost Modeling an ETD Initiative

  1. There are at least two ways of looking at this: What is needed to start an ETD initiative from scratch—not something most institutions will be doing, but it is often needed to satisfy administrators. Most often, ETDs will be an add-on to an existing infrastructure. The newest issue that is being addressed is preservation, and, as we know intimately, determining these costs is not easy.
  2. I’m assuming that the cost analysis will begin with a completed ETD that has been approved by the author’s committee. Workflow and, therefore, cost analysis will begin with a submission system, Graduate School and library personnel, access and preservation systems. Or, should we, for example, anticipate institutions providing authors with specific software in campus computer labs, for example?
    1. Are there some good examples of institutions who have moved to providing such software? Is this just for preparing their ETD, or also for submission? Are these licensed solutions that need to be included as part of the Options document, or just homegrown services that might be difficult to calculate in terms of coding effort, etc.? Mgschultz 14:38, 25 January 2012 (EST)
  3. How we determine the “average” cost-of-living, i.e., salaries? I previously used Virginia Tech (i.e., a rural state institution), but how do we factor in more expensive locations (e.g., Atlanta) and private vs. public institutions? Do we agree that the cost of products (i.e., hardware, software) will be more universal?
    1. Salaries may require some sort of mini-survey, but I imagine that IR managers generally have extended responsibilities beyond the ETD program - would also be interesting for other purposes to find out the range of job titles. These positions may be temporarily assigned in many scenarios as well. Mgschultz 14:38, 25 January 2012 (EST)
    2. Hardware will most likely be less of a range, but I suppose it depends on how consolidated Library IT is with Campus IT, or not. I know University of Michigan's IR was maintained primarily by campus IT for a long period of time. That's my only insight. Mgschultz 14:38, 25 January 2012 (EST)
  4. Will we include anticipated savings along with expenses?
  5. In addition to finding bibliographic references (i.e., published or available on the Web), I’m thinking about doing a survey via the ETD-L because the costs I’m finding online are often dated. I’m hopeful that a query to the listserv might provide more current information.
    1. I think that's a great place to start. Should approach it as a survey template that can be administered on a regular annual basis (or some schedule). Mgschultz 14:38, 25 January 2012 (EST)
  6. Do we want to include known follow-on activities, such as UMI/ProQuest deposit?
    1. Sounds like folks on our Jan. 12th call we're very much in favor of this. Mgschultz 14:38, 25 January 2012 (EST)
  7. Should we include the potential costs of an institution downloading its ETDs that were initially submitted to ProQuest?
    1. If possible. Mgschultz 14:38, 25 January 2012 (EST)
  8. I’m assuming that we’re (only?) interested in born digital theses and dissertations. However, if we’re going to consider scanning paper-based T/Ds, there will be additional workflow and costs.
  9. Many of the above questions lead me to wonder if cost modeling may be easier to consider once we draft the workflow(s).
    1. I agree. Mgschultz 14:38, 25 January 2012 (EST)

Some Anticipated Expenses

  1. Putting the process (submission, approval, access: SOP) in place
    • Hardware
    • Software (open source, commercial products)
      • Submission
      • Repository (including access)
      • Preservation
    • Staff (inc. workflow, cataloging, reviewing for approval)
  2. Pilot-testing
  3. Training
    • Personnel
    • Students
    • Faculty
  4. Maintenance for the long-term
    • Submission
    • Approval
    • Access
    • Preservation
  5. Systems migration

[Consider: program level planning, publishing level planning, and post-production services.]

Beginnings of an ETD Cost Modeling Bibliography

Caveat: These are mostly resources that are about figuring out the actual costs and/or business models, but not economic models.
This bibliography is drawn heavily from the BRTF: Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access's Selective Literature Review; the JISC Lifecycle Information for e-Literature (LIFE), though I began by searching Google and LISTA: Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts though Virginia Tech's EBSCOhost [LISTA indexes more than 600 periodicals, plus books, research reports and proceedings. Subject coverage includes librarianship, classification, cataloging, bibliometrics, online information retrieval, information management and more.]

  1. Ashley, K. (2000). Digital Archive Costs: Facts and Fallacies. Paper presented at the DLM Forum '99. from
  2. Ayris, P., Davies, R., McLeod, R., Miao, R., Shenton, H., & Wheatley, P. (2008). The LIFE2 Final Project Report: JISC.
  3. Beagrie, N., Chruszcz, J., & Lavoie, B. (2008). Keeping Research Data Safe: A Cost Model and Guidance for UK Universities. London: JISC. Phase 1 (2008). Phase 2 (2010)
  4. Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access. Final report. Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet: Ensuring Long-Term Access to Digital Information. Feb. 2010.
Related links: Eakin, Lorraine, Amy Friedlander, Roger Schonfeld with contributions by Sayeed Choudhury. “A Selective Literature Review on Digital Preservation Sustainability.”
  1. Australasian Digital Theses Program: Draft Business Plan 2006-2009. (2007) Linked from; but directly at
  2. Crespo, Arturo, and Hector Garcia Molina. (2001). Cost-Driven Design for Archival Repositories. Paper presented at the First ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital Libraries.
  3. Davies, Richard. (2008). “Lifecycle Information for e-Literature (LIFE2) Final Project Report” [summary].
  4. Davies, Richard; Paul Ayris, Rory McCleod, Hellen Sheton, Paul Wheatley. (2007). “How much does it cost? The LIFE Project Costing Models for Digital Curation and Preservation.” Liber Quarterly: The Journal of European Research Libraries, Vol. 17 Issue 3/4, p. 233-241.
  5. Hole, Brian, and Paul Wheatley, Li Lin, Patrick Mccann, Brian Aitken, L I Lin. The Life3 Predictive Costing Tool for Digital Collections. [URL for Life3 documentation]
  6. Jewell, Christine. [Waterloo] (1999) “Electronic Thesis and Dissertation System: Business Plan.” UW Library Planning and Priorities Group.
  7. Kejser, Ulla Bøgvad; Anders Bo Nielsen; Alex Thirifays. “Cost Model for Digital Curation: Cost of Digital Migration” (2009) iPRES 2009: the Sixth International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects. Permalink: (linked from
  8. McLeod, R.; Wheatley, P.; Ayris, P. (2006) Lifecycle Information for E-literature: Full Report from the LIFE Project. LIFE Project: London, UK. Should be linked from
  9. McMillan, Gail. [Virginia Tech] (~1999) “Supporting ETDs at a Typical University Library."
  10. Sanett, S. (2002). Toward Developing a Framework of Cost Elements for Preserving Authentic Electronic Records into Perpetuity. College & Research Libraries, 63, 388-404.
  11. Science and Technology Council. (2007). The Digital Dilemma: Strategic Issues in Archiving and Accessing Digital Motion Picture Materials: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.).
  12. Slats, Jacqueline, and Remco Verdegem. “Digital Preservation Cost Model” (2005) [XLS (127 KB) | 17-12-2010] Nationaal Archief/Testbed Digitale Bewaring. [National Archives of the Netherlands: kostenmodel_in_excel_versie_1.2_final.xls
  13. Wheatley, Paul, and Paul Ayris, Richard Davies, Rory Mcleod, Helen Shenton. (2007). The LIFE Model v1.1.
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