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Economic issues of long-term preservation
Besides the technological and intellectual problems that complicate the preservation and
long-term archiving of digital cultural heritage resources, the cost involved are tremendous
and hard to predict. In fact, decisions taken at the creation stage have an impact on the
actual cost for preservation that need to be met at a later stage of the resource life cycle.
Accordingly, the Cimtech cost-model (cf. National Preservation Office, Feeney, 1999),
differentiates between cost that appear at different stages of the life cycle, which are partly
preservation costs.
In addition, cultural heritage institutions need to be aware that the cost for long-term
preservation are by no means one time costs, but expenses that incurr regularly when
migrating and maintaining digital resources.
As the overall cost for digital preservation are too high to be met by individual insti-
tutions, several European countries have already begun to set up networks of distributed
archiving and preservation centres.These centres are either located within larger cultural
heritage institutions who have already accumulated some experience with preserving large
amounts of digital data, or have been set up as designated services especially for this
purpose. In many cases, these preservation centres are closely affiliated with universities or
other research facilities, like the distributed network of archiving centres of the Arts and
Humanities Data Service in the UK <>.
Long-term preservation costs at different stages
of the resource life-cycle
1. Creation
2. Selection
/ evaluation
3. Data
4. Resource
5. Data Use
6. Data
7. Data Use
/ Rights
Promoting Best Practice
Cleaning up digital
Practical and technical evolution
Reading, editing, managing documentatiom
Validation (assessment, copying, refreshment)
Data structure conversion
Offline archive storage
File recovery from media; crypt-analysis of
files of unknown origin
Clearance, management
and authentification costs
Keep old hardware/software
Third party service costs
Change media (recording, archival storage)
Backward compatibility (set up, run, check)
Interoperability (test, set up, run, check)
Convert to standard forms (agree form,
test, run, test, delete)
Post preservation
use costs
Post preservation
disclosure costs
Source: Feeney/National Preservation Office, 1999;
Salzburg Research, 2001