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Developing Economic and Organizational Models to Support Preservation Kevin Guthrie JISC-CNI Meeting, York July 8, 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Developing Economic and Organizational Models to Support Preservation Kevin Guthrie JISC-CNI Meeting, York July 8, 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Developing Economic and Organizational Models to Support Preservation Kevin Guthrie JISC-CNI Meeting, York July 8, 2006

2 Outline Definition of the e-preservation problem Historical highlights of e-preservation efforts Introduction to Ithaka and its role General lessons learned about developing sustainability models


4 Digital Preservation Presents a New Problem Simply put, in the print world, you had to possess an item in order to read it, to access it, to use it. Possessing the object enabled the owner to care for it in whatever way it might want. Libraries tend to preserve, or at the very least, hold materials for the long-term A redundant system of preservation of the scholarly record evolved from this natural marriage between preservation and access. Digital materials do not follow this pattern – access and preservation are now separable.

5 Historical Highlights of E-Preservation Efforts May 1996 – The Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information (jointly sponsored by RLG and the Commission on Preservation and Access) issued its report. ( December Library of Congress NDIIP (National Digital Information Infrastructure Program) launched. ~$175m with matching Fall Mellon E-Journal Archiving Program. Two approaches tested. LOCKSS (Stanford) pursued a distributed replication strategy, while Harvard, Yale, Penn, Cornell, MIT and the NYPL pursued a centralized strategy working with publishers or disciplines. October 2005 – Urgent Action Needed to Preserve Scholarly Journals statement issued following meeting of 17 university and college librarians. (

6 The Challenge Structure a sustainable model that motivates collective action to achieve an important community goal

7 Ithakas Mission Ithakas overarching mission is to help the scholarly community take fullest advantage of advances in information technologies We pursue that mission by creating, nurturing and assisting innovative organizations and projects that use technology to facilitate change and save resources. We engage in three types of activities: - Strategic Services - Research - Shared Services (IT, HR, Finance) Think of Ithaka as a not-for-profit venture capital incubator

8 Separate the project from the organization The project needs to be able to see challenges and opportunities with fresh eyes There must be a sense of entrepreneurial accountability There must be a fear of failure (nothing focuses the mind like the sight of the gallows)

9 Define the mission of the enterprise For not-for-profits, this is absolutely essential The mission (or a set of objectives off a broad mission) must be defined narrowly enough to help prioritize and guide difficult decisions Objectives must be defined (beyond financial) that enable some verifiable measures of delivery on mission

10 Hire a great leader Successful venture capitalists say they invest in people, not products or services The leader must be 100% committed and dedicated to the mission of the enterprise The leader must have a vested interest in the enterprises success

11 Establish a Governing or Advisory Board If an independent organization, an effective board is critical. If part of an existing organization, a strong advisory board vested with close to a governance role is necessary. Board members should have the perspectives of the various stakeholders in the enterprise. The board should have a diverse membership, and should not just include practitioners. Board members should not be regarded as representatives but should bring a diverse set of backgrounds, ideally including legal, strategic planning, and business experience.

12 Establish an effective governance process The board should meet a minimum of 3 to 4 times per year Background documents for board meetings should include financial statements, updates on progress and important strategic challenges The board of a start-up should never be expected to act as a rubber stamp for managements proposals. The information provided to the board should enable them to engage in the issues and help guide early development of the enterprise. The goal is candid and thorough engagement. Not board management

13 Allow the leader the flexibility to adjust The board must allow, indeed encourage, the leader to adjust the strategy when necessary Changes in approach, within reason, are a natural part of the process and should not be regarded as a failure of leadership or execution. There is a period of research and investigation, sometimes incubation, that is required by most start-ups.

14 Provide sufficient capital Start-ups require capital and this is a challenge in the NFP sector There must be sufficient resources to hire excellent staff, and yet not so much to enable complacency The board must insist as soon as practicable on seeing a business plan for sustainability. This plan must demonstrate reasonably that there are stakeholders that will value the organization sufficiently to generate the resources to sustain it. This is a guide. The plan will have to be adjusted and updated regularly during initial years

15 Match Value to Support Considerable effort needs to be expended to determine who benefits from the work of the enterprise and how much. Listen. Those that benefit from the work of the organization should then be sought to provide support for it Revenue generation models must be tested, and the only way to reveal willingness to provide support is to ask for it This does not presuppose any particular model. It could be continued philanthropic or government support, open access (author or research supporter pays) subscription, advertising or other hybrid models A diverse set of revenue sources should be sought

16 Communicate the value you offer It is essential to develop effective ways to communicate the value you bring to the stakeholders that will support you. This is part of a continuing dialogue with those stakeholders about their evolving needs and the services and ability of your organization to address those needs. Determine ways to validate that you are delivering on your mission and communicate the progress being made.

17 Developing Economic and Organizational Models to Support Preservation Kevin Guthrie JISC-CNI Meeting, York July 8, 2006

18 An assertion about Venture Capital …a dollar of venture capital appears to be about three times more potent in stimulating patenting than a dollar of traditional corporate R&D. Kortman & Lerner, Assessing the Contribution of Venture Capital to Innovation, RAND Journal of Economics

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