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Information technology and resources are thoroughly integrated with, and indispensable to, today’s web-based culture, commerce, science, education, and entertainment.  The digital assets underpinning those activities, however, are inherently fragile with respect to ever increasing disruptive technological change.  Without effective and affordable curation management, today’s digital assets will not remain viable and useful in the future.  To address this concern, UC3 has developed an analytical framework for modeling the full economic costs of preservation, the “total cost of preservation” (TCP).

The TCP analysis can be applied usefully in the development of two specific cost models for preservation service pricing:

  • Pay-as-you-go
  • Paid-up

The pay-as-you-go model is appropriate for situations where a reliable and predictable annual income stream is available to the client purchasing preservation services.  When this is not the case, for example, with organizations facing irregular or boom-or-bust budgetary cycles or for grant-funded, fixed term research projects, the paid-up model may be more attractive; indeed, in many circumstances it may be the only realistic option.



  • Total cost of preservation (TCP) model, version 0.4 -- DRAFT, 2012-05-14 (xlsx)


  • Stephen Abrams, Patricia Cruse, and John Kunze (2012), "Total cost of preservation: Cost modeling for sustainable services," Screening the Future: Pause, Play, and Press Forward, Los Angeles, May 21-23, 2012
  • Stephen Abrams, Patricia Cruse, and John Kunze (2012), "Pay once, preservation forever: a 'paid-up' cost model for long-term preservation," CNI Spring 2012 Membership Meeting, Baltimore, April 2-3, 2012.
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