Economics of Digital Preservation

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This project investigates foundational issues associated with the economics of digital preservation


Economic issues associated with preserving digital resources over the long term are a critical research area for the digital preservation community. The scope of these issues is extensive, including organizational structures for digital archiving, understanding economic incentives for preservation, and the development of forecasting strategies and sustainable business/economic models.

Despite the acknowledged importance of these issues, surprisingly little work has been done to address them. There is particular need to establish foundations on which future research can be based, move forward to address specific issues in greater depth, and employ a research strategy that is both programmatic and collaborative.

A valuable first step in this process has been the preparation of a white paper that articulates and explores foundational issues in the economics of digital preservation. This report responds to a perceived need in the digital preservation community, providing an informative reference that frames the salient economic issues surrounding the long-term preservation of digital resources, establishes a foundation for future research in the area, and makes an important contribution to one of the most pressing issues associated with digital preservation. It contributes to building a base for future work in this area, focusing community-wide discussion and highlighting priority areas for research.

White paper

Related publication

  • Lavoie, Brian F. 2004. "Of Mice and Memory: Economically Sustainable Preservation for the Twenty-first Century." In Access in the Future Tense. Washington, D.C.: Council on Library and Information Resources. Available online at:

Research team