Financial Sustainability

The organization establishes and can sustain a sound financial base for the Trusted Digital Repository. You may also refer to Section 5: Challenges, Financing the Future and the final report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access.

Organizational requirements:

Electronic Resources Dry Up
  • establish and maintain good business practices and an auditable business plan
  • demonstrate financial fitness and ongoing financial commitment
  • balance risk, benefit, investment, expenditure
  • maintain adequate budget and reserves and actively seek potential funding sources

Financial sustainability has until recently been the most overlooked attribute. Reliance on project-based activities draws attention from the need for sustainable funding for a program that will live beyond projects's end. Making good investments in resources (the selection of digital assets to preserve, the requisite human resources and skills, the enabling technology) is key to the launch and maintenance of a successful digital preservation program.

$$$$ Project based funding, especially through grants and gifts, is a common starting point for digital preservation. This funding approach works for start up costs, but a digital preservation program requires ongoing funding. The organization must also prepare for periodic upgrades and enhancements. Accurately projecting costs over multiple years is key.


0101 The most important technological role in meeting requirements for the Financial Sustainability is to provide sound recommendations and costing information on the technical infrastructure to support the program, the cycle of replacement for hardware software, the appropriate technical solutions for preservation strategies, and supporting technologies for archival storage.

Background Note: This attribute may be the key contribution of the TDR document. By breaking down digital preservation into doable chunks, it highlights ongoing funding as an essential requirement. It may also be the show-stopper for establishing a viable digital preservation program.


  • What do you think is the greatest institutional barrier to designating sustainable funding?
  • What would it take to overcome this barrier?