Call for participation: DLF Assessment Interest Group’s “Day of [Digitization Cost] Data”!

Contribute one day of data for the Digitization Cost Calculator! Sign up now – submit data in June!

DLF Digital Library Assessment GroupBackground:

Digitization is a costly business — estimating expenses associated with a given digitization project, a fiscal year, or for a grant application, can feel disconnected from the reality of staffing, timelines, and true project costs. In 2014/15 the Digital Library Federation’s Assessment Interest Group developed a beta version of a Digitization Cost Calculator to help with digitization project planning by using contributed data to produce average estimates of costs and time for various aspects of the digitization process.

Over the past year we’ve redesigned the calculator’s interface and worked with the digital library community to choose and define processes that should be included in the new and improved calculator (see the processes and definitions document here). But now we need your help!

Call to action:

We can’t build the redesigned calculator unless the community contributes more data. We know that data is difficult to collect, so we are asking you to collect a single day of data to contribute to the calculator, in the month of June. You can choose one or more of the fields for which the calculator needs data. Please help us bring the new and improved calculator to life by signing up for the Day of Data and contributing data from your institution during the month of June.

Sign up to collect and contribute data for just one day in June!


What is Day of Data? Day of data is a low barrier, low time commitment way to contribute the critical pieces of missing data needed to move this important project forward. Because contributors are only asked to commit to tracking and submitting digitization data for one day in the month of June, a greater number of institutions are able to add their data to the creation of this community-driven tool.  

What will I need to do? You will commit to timing yourself, staff, or student as you/they perform digitization processes during a single day. The areas in which you can contribute time data include image capture, descriptive metadata creation, quality control, various preparation processes such as condition review, rebinding, formatting, and various post-processing processes such as alignment/rotation, image cropping, and stitching.

What if we don’t perform all of the tasks mentioned, or can only track tasks for a few hours? That’s fine because the calculations are broken down by task – you only submit data for the specific tasks that you choose. Contributing whatever pieces of your process that are trackable in whatever increments you can track them in, is still incredibly helpful! You can also submit data from more than a single day.

When will I need to do it? Pick any day or time during the month of June that works for you!

What if we track(ed) time data for process X and process Y smushed together in one number? Unfortunately, we cannot use data that combines multiple processes — your time data contributions will have to be separate for each process you contribute data for. Alternatively, you can collect sample data for one of the processes and then estimate the aggregate data out into pieces.

How will my institution benefit? You will have contributed to the creation of a freely-available tool (the Digitization Cost Calculator) that allows users to input their institution’s salary and benefits data, the amount of material being digitized, select which processes they will be undertaking, and then outputs cost and time data based on all aggregate contributed data. This tool will help many organizations in planning future projects and in articulating the true costs of digitization projects.

Will the information I contribute be associated with my institution?  Sort of. The data you submit will be aggregated by the calculator with all other data submissions and displayed as part of an average on the results screen when people use the calculator: No individual institution’s information will be discernible in the calculator. However, individual institutional data will be shown on the Notes About Data webpage, another part of the Digitization Cost Calculator website. This allows calculator users to get a feel for the wide variation in time and in practice from institution to institution and project to project. Seeing the data apart from the aggregate average can also be helpful if a user feels their institution is more similar to one or more other institutions in the list, and allows them to calculate custom time estimates. The time period over which the data contribution was collected will also be displayed on the Notes About Data page.

What if I have some historical digitization data to contribute now? Great, we’d love to have your historical data! Contributions are accepted on an ongoing basis, but please try to contribute whatever you can by the end of June 2016 so we can get the new calculator up and running!

How do I contribute historical data now? Send an email to, subject line Cost Calculator.

What if my historical data is in a different form than the cost calculator data?  That’s fine! Email, and we will help migrate the data into the right format.

What if we track(ed) only a part of the data you are looking for in our digitization workflow? That’s fine, and still very valuable. You can contribute just one piece of data — you don’t have to have all the fields represented in the calculator.

How do I sign up to be a contributor? Use this short form. We’ll follow-up with detailed instructions and by email in June.

I have more questions! Please feel free to contact Joyce Chapman with any additional questions about the project, being a contributor, or using the calculator:, 919-660-5889.

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