As we develop our ability to preserve digital collections through techniques such as migration and emulation, the decision process of what action to take and when to take it becomes increasingly complex. Cost is a crucial factor to consider but the financial implications of preservation planning decisions are not typically well understood. At a strategic level, there are also significant challenges to contend with as the world moves rapidly to a world of both non-digital and digital information provision. What is the appropriate size and make up of an organisation’s preservation department? A new phase of the LIFE Project is aiming to improve our understanding of the financial aspect of these questions, ensuring preservation risk is minimised and preservation activity can be conducted within the boundaries of our financial constraints. The LIFE Project created a digital lifecycle model based on previous work undertaken on the lifecycles of paper-based materials. It applied the model to real-life collections, modelling their lifecycles and studying their constituent processes. The LIFE approach supported comparison and analysis of digital preservation activity across the complete lifecycle. LIFE3is now beginning to look to the future with the development of a predictive costing model that will support more effective decision making and planning for digital preservation.
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