Counting the Costs of Digital Preservation: Is Repository Storage Affordable?

Stephen Chapman


The Harvard University Library and the Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC) each manage centralized repositories optimized for long-term storage of library collections. Both organizations fully recover operational expenses by charging owners annual rates for managed storage services, regardless of materials use. The Harvard Depository assesses rates for analog storage per billable square foot. The OCLC Digital Archive assesses rates per gigabyte for storage of digital objects. Formats are significant, but not sole factors in determining preservation costs in these models. Owners’ definitions of content integrity and tolerance for risk, which can change over time, are also important variables in the complex equation of preservation costs and affordability.

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