Digital Archives Project (DAP)
Phase 3 (Implementation)
[Originally circulated December 2002 - with Annexes]:
This Budget Note is an indicative estimate of the financial resources required to implement a ‘common service facility’ which will be the repository of the electronic records that meet the standards established by the policies, procedures and appraisal retention criteria noted above. Depending on the particular participating organization’s circumstances, implementing the policies procedures and appraisal/retention criteria (precursor to depositing records into the facility) may require additional budgetary resources, which are not taken into account herein. The effect of this element can be significant since the cost of preservation/access/use of archival records is substantially higher when dealing with records that have had little or no previous ‘level of control’ prior to disposition. It is evident that it will cost 10 times less to validate and document a record during the first step of Digital Archives process, at the ‘Creation’ (user) stage rather at the ‘Accession’ (archives) stage.
Therefore, a cost effective investment within a Digital Archives Programme is promoting control at file creation (through a Records Management software) and promoting awareness of best practices through staff user training. However this and related processes have to be addressed within the participating organizations through their respective Archives and Records Management programmes. Other areas, based on key areas of digital resource lifecycle, which can substantially reduce or effect costs, are included in Annex 1.
In addition to the above, it should also be noted that there can be substantial variance of cost depending on the industry model, ie centralized, decentralized, centralized with distributed intellectual and policy controls, as well as a considerable variance of cost within these models depending on the level of service provided, i.e. cataloguing, locating metadata and contextual information, depositor liaison etc.
Beside model type and staffing/service, the next greatest effect on the budget is that of capital and maintenance costs for software and hardware associated with access and usage. The cost of these elements are influenced by the number of accessions and depositors, the frequency in access and the size of each unit or item, none of which have yet been determined but will be addressed through the current Strategic Planning project
It should also be noted that the DAP project can be viewed as a transition of resources from paper based records to digital based records. In this regard, there will be some savings realized once the project is implemented. This includes both indirect savings by realizing efficiency and productivity benefits of increased records and information management as well as direct savings through the reduction of paper/paper storage and paper based record keeping activities. However, it is too early in the process to speculate on the extent or scope of these cost reductions.
The present request for funds would only cover ‘start up’ capability that would create a foundation to be further developed as the programme ‘matures’. Since it is anticipated there will be a phased and scaleable approach, it is anticipated that the DAP would address basic requirements, i.e. confirm concept and approach, establish best practices, address basic technology issues and establish a limited facility/repository, in 2004/05 and become more comprehensive in 2006/07.
The basic assumptions of this Budget note include:
· The voluminous conversion of paper into a digital format is not covered by this initial exercise.
· The use of existing space/facilities with appropriate temperature and humidity controls (no leasing of additional space)
· The use of existing hardware/software whenever appropriate/possible
· Archive and preservation strategies will be integrated into existing information technology systems whenever possible (avoiding duplicate infrastructures)
Based on the above, estimates for the total cost for 2004/05, subject to confirmation within the upcoming Strategic Planning project is $3.05 million. An itemized breakdown is located in annex 2.
In addition, Annex 3 highlights capital expenditures or one-time expenses and areas requiring ongoing financial support.
Although preliminary in nature, it is hoped that this short paper identifies some of the complex issues/variables involved and provides some indicative estimate of costs for budgetary purposes. Of course more precise numbers will be available following the Strategic Planning exercise to be completed in 2003.
As also noted, it is planned that project strategies will optimise resources and reduce costs where ever possible through an integrated Information and Records Management approach, partnership with IT staff and using existing resources (hardware, software).
Working Group for Archives and Records Management
Seven key areas, based on the lifecycle of a digital resouce, that effect the ‘cost’ of Digital Archives based on the cost model in “Digital Culture: Maximising the nations’ investment” edited by Mary Feeney
* relative time/importance of function compared to total activity
Annex 2 [back to top]
Indicative breakdown of 2004/05 budget (Pilot ) Cost requirements (subject to confirmation by the Strategic Planning exercise)
(Indicative budget to assist the UNPOs to estimate DAP funds for the 2005/06 budget and not necessarily a level of financial commitment required for the project to go forward)
Annex 3 - [back to top]