About the Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit

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Preserving a floppy disk?

What is the Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit?

This Toolkit provides an in depth guide to writing a business case that is focused on digital preservation activities. If an organisation would like to change, adapt or expand its activities in a way that requires additional resources, it's typical for senior management to request that a business case is prepared. It will outline what resources are required, what the resource will be used to achieve and how this new investment will benefit the organisation. This Toolkit provides an array of helpful information to assist in the construction of a business case, from planning and preparation all the way through to polishing and communicating the finished case.

Who is this toolkit for?

This Toolkit is for anyone who would like to create a business case focused on digital preservation. It's targeted primarily at practitioners (and their managers) who are working with digital resources and would like to obtain funds to expand their digital preservation activities. The Toolkit is primarily aimed at those seeking further funds from within their organisation, but could also provide useful information for those writing a bid for project funds from an external funding body.

How to get the most out of this toolkit

There is no perfect formula for writing a business case. It all depends on what the business case is for, who it is aimed at and how your organisation wants you to present a business case. This toolkit therefore provides a variety of ways to get you thinking about what should go into your business case. It can't provide all the answers, but it aims to ask all the right questions!

  • The Step by step guide to building a business case provides a high level run through of the steps you should follow to create a business case. It doesn't go into detail, but it does provide a suggested order of what to tackle and when.
  • The Template for building a business case provides much more detailed guidance on how to write the key sections required in most business cases. It's structured in the form of a generic business case, not in the order of how you should go about the business case creation process.
  • The When, Why, What, Who and How? provides a set of key questions and answers about different aspects a digital preservation business case. This section provides lots of food for thought about getting your business case right, and is useful for tackling problems if you get stuck.
  • Throughout the toolkit you'll find text in italics that provides a concise summary of the purpose of each section.
  • There is some overlap between the different sections of this toolkit, and there will likewise be overlap between different parts of your business case. Be ready for this!
  • The toolkit is in a wiki for a reason: so we can keep refining and improving it. Please send any feedback by email to: p (dot) r (dot) wheatley (at) leeds (dot) ac (dot) uk

Credits, acknowledgements and thanks

This Toolkit was created by the Jisc funded SPRUCE Project.

Thanks go out to the digital preservation experts who wrote the Toolkit in a SPRUCE Project Book Sprint:

Thanks go to the many practitioners and developers who took part in the SPRUCE Project Mashups which provided much of the valuable resources and foundation used to build this Toolkit. And thanks also go to the many others who have supported and contributed to SPRUCE and this Toolkit.

Book sprinting

How was the Toolkit created?

The structure and core text of the Toolkit was created in 3 day workshop, focused on writing, that followed the format of a Book Sprint. The Sprint drew on an array of experience and resources that were gained throughout the first 1.5 years of the SPRUCE Project. This included the results of business case exercises conducted with an array of practitioners from memory organisations in a number of mashup events. The breadth and quality of the resulting Toolkit was enhanced by writing up the results of the SPRUCE Project work with not just one or two authors, but 13 experts from the digital preservation field. Successive iterations of brainstorming, writing bullet points, fleshing out text and peer review between authors were applied in order to reach the end result. Illustrator (and former SPRUCE Practitioner) Tom Woolley worked alongside the authors to create illustrations that highlight concepts from the Toolkit. The agenda for the book sprint can be found here. Read more about how the book sprint worked out in this blog post.

I like these illustrations, can I use them elsewhere?

Yes! Our illustrator Tom Woolley (from Curve Agency) did a great job on bringing the toolkit alive, so we thought we'd make all the images available under a creative commons license. Check out the SPRUCE Digital Preservation Illustrations page.

What is the status of the Toolkit?

As of 13/8/2013 the first draft of the toolkit is complete. Further refinement will continue throughout the remaining life of the SPRUCE Project which will finish at the end of November.