In 2009 Ithaka S+R investigated the sustainability strategies of twelve digital content projects in the higher education and cultural heritage sectors in the US, UK, France, Germany, and Egypt. Two years and one economic crisis later, Ithaka S+R, with the generous support of the JISC-led Strategic Content Alliance, decided to revisit the original twelve case studies to see how their models had held up, where weaknesses might be starting to show, and what new strategies project leaders were adopting in response.
Updating the SCA/Ithaka S+R Case Studies in Sustainability revealed many changes: two projects have significantly re-imagined their core mission, one radically so. Several have faced severe budget cuts, leading them to consider other approaches; some have been quite successful by continuing to build on what was already a strong value proposition and show continued signs of entrepreneurial drive and a willingness to experiment with new revenue streams.
Ithaka S+R will be releasing a final report and a tool kit, and will also be offering a series of free webinars in October 2011. (Register to Be Alerted to Release of Report)
Direct to Updated Case Studies
- Department of Digital Humanities (formerly Centre for Computing in the Humanities), King’s College London (UK) – A degree-granting academic department supporting research projects in the digital humanities that has faced challenges due to recent changes in the UK funding system
- DigiZeitschriften, Göttingen State and University Library (Germany) – An archive of German language scholarly journals supported by a library partnership model and institutional subscriptions that covers its costs, but may have challenges ahead
- eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University (USA) – A web-based database of birding observations that has thrived by serving both amateur bird-watchers and academic researchers
- Electronic Enlightenment, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (UK) – An online collection of edited correspondence from the early seventeenth century to the mid-nineteenth century, which illustrates the benefits and challenges of outsourcing key functions
- Hindawi Publishing Corporation (Egypt) – A for-profit publishing company that has grown by using an open access contributor-pays business model
- Inamédiapro and ina.fr, L’Institut national de l’audiovisuel (France) – Two divisions within the National Audiovisual Institute that illustrate the balance of mission-based goals and revenue generation
- The Middle School Portal 2: Math and Science Pathways, National Science Digital Library, The Ohio State University (USA) – An online network of collections, services, and tools for math and science teachers that faces an uncertain future as the end of its grant funding approaches
- Southampton Library Digitisation Unit (formerly BOPCRIS), Hartley Library, University of Southampton (UK) – A university library-based digitization center that has shifted focus from providing services to external clients to serving its host institution
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University (USA) – An online open access encyclopedia with user-contributed content, which launched a ‘freemium’ model to supplement payouts from its project endowment
- Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, University of California, Irvine (USA) – A digitized collection of ancient Greek texts, whose subscription model has strengthened by its efforts to broaden its audience
- V&A Images, Victoria and Albert Museum (UK) -The image licensing unit at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which struggled to cover costs of its commercial activities, while also providing free services to the larger organization and to researchers