Survey Data:
Principal Preliminary Results

1. Policy environment

Statistically speaking, the policy environment is well developed with respect to university information strategy, intellectual property, and copyright. Policies for distance learning and preservation are less prevalent, though possibly in a way that represents a trend toward their development.


Policy type % claiming this type of policy
University-wide information technology policy 95
University policy pertaining to IPR assignment 95
University copyright policy 90
University policy on distance learning 62
Preservation policy 33

Table 1.1. Prevalence of different types of policies within DLF member institutions

2. Funding for digital library programs

New money, grants and gifts, and reallocation of core funding are almost equally important in funding digital library initiatives.


Funding source Number responding to question Yes as % of those responding to question Yes as % of total responding
New money 12 86 57
Grants/gifts 15 100 71
Reallocation 15 100 7

Table 2.1. Funding sources for digital library initiatives 3. Objects of digital library expenditure The principal costs for digital libraries, based on average 2000 cost, are as follows:

  • commercial content (40%)
  • equipment and infrastructure (23%)
  • digital library personnel (18%)
  • content creation (7%)

Libraries spend an average of $95,000 per year on subscriptions to membership organizations.


Digital library expenditure Range of costs 1999 Range of costs 2000 Average cost 1999 Average cost 2000 Change in average costs % change in average cost
Commercial content $1,507 – 2,000,000 $1,061 – 3,000,000 $1,500,000 $1,700,000 $200,000 13
Digital conversion (content creation) $2,400 – 1,090,600 $37,992 – 1,145,000 $277,418 $285,766 $8,348 3
New forms of scholarly communication $0 – 119,700 $0 – 225,685 $27,400 $32,240 $4,840 18
Digital library personnel $2,400 – 1,622,600 $100,000 – 1,703,730 $631,369 $786,000 $154,631 24
Equipment and other infrastructure $1,500 – 4,000,000 $7,500 – 3,514,350 $720,011 $987,700 $267,689 37
Systems R&D $5,000 – 1,200,000 $0 – 3,200,000 $280,716 $255,907 -$24,809 -9
Participation in consortial DL activities $0 – 300,000 $0 – 100,000 $29,732 $29,265 -$467 -2

Table 3.1. Objects of digital library expenditure, 1999 and 2000

The fact that more money was being spent on equipment and infrastructure than on personnel was initially surprising, but it may indicate that libraries are gearing up their digital library initiatives and have to equip them.

4. Creation of digital content

Digital libraries have, on average, as many digital imaging as encoded text creation projects and have produced an average of 270,000 images and 1,000 encoded texts. The variation across digital libraries is considerable.


Content created Number of projects Average number of projects Number of FTEs (range) Average Number of FTEs Annual investment in content creation (range) Average annual investment in content creation
Digital images 2 – 25 8.4 1 – 4.5 3.1 $5,000 – 3,000,000 $270,000
Encoded texts 0 – 31 6 0 – 6 2.6 $0 – 4,341 $975
Digital sound and video/film 0 – 6 2 0 – 2 0.65 $0 – 13,940 $1,24

Table 4.1. Investment in content creation

5. Organization of digital libraries

The variation in organization of digital library initiatives is illustrated in Table 5.1.


Location of digital library initiative Number %
Confederally organized 2 11
Within independent unit of library 6 33
Distributed across library/coordinated by some team approach 4 22
Distributed across library/ not coordinated by some team approach 4 22
Too small to say 2 1

Table 5.1. Organization of digital library activities

Few digital library initiatives, centralized or otherwise, operate without at least some formal or informal relationship with another university unit that has some role in developing and managing the university’s information assets.

The most important “other unit” is the information service or academic computing department. About 90% of those responding have some connection with such a unit, followed by a connection with the university press (41%), and an LIS or equivalent academic department (21%).

Only 10% of those responding to the question had digital library initiatives that were entirely independent of other units.


Type of unit Formal connection with unit (number/total responding to question and percentage) Informal connection with unit (number/total responding to question and percentage)
IT or academic computing 11/20 55% 7/20 35%
University press 2/20 10% 6/20 30%
LIS 2/20 10% 2/20 10%
No other department 2/20 10% 0/20 0

Table 5.2. Contact between library-based digital library activities and other university units outside the library

6. Staffing of digital library initiatives

Staffing levels for digital library initiatives vary considerably across DLF member institutions (from about 7 FTEs to about 48 FTEs). The average is 18 FTEs. On average, library-based digital library staff members are distributed about equally between library management systems, content creation, and development and maintenance of access systems.

Responsibility for various digital library activities (content selection, content production, user support) is taken largely by subject bibliographers and staff members located in digital library units, with subject bibliographers taking a lead role.

  • Subject bibliographers are predominately responsible for selection of commercial content at 95% of respondent institutions and for development and maintenance of Internet gateways at 71% of responding institutions.
  • Digital library staff members are predominately responsible for digitized library collections at 71% of responding institutions, but they share this responsibility with subject bibliographers at 51% of responding institutions.

Responsibility for user support is thinly spread across different groups of library staff with no single group taking primary responsibility. This suggests that user support is either widely shared or not considered a priority.

About half of the libraries responding said their digital library initiatives had access to staff in other (non-library) departments. On average, those who used staff outside the library had access to 9 FTEs distributed as follows: 4 FTEs for library management systems, 4 FTEs for content creation, and 1 FTE for access systems development.


Digital library activity Staff FTEs in library (range) Average staff FTEs in library
Library management systems 2.75 – 15 6.5
Content creation 2.5 – 11.5 6.1
Development/maintenance of access systems 1.5 – 21 5.7
Total 6.75 – 47.5 18.3

Table 6.1. Level and functional distribution of digital library staff employed by the library


Digital library activity Staff FTEs outside of library (range) Average staff FTEs outside of library
Library management systems .5 – 16 3.8
Content creation .25 – 12 4.0
Development/maintenance of access systems .25 – 4 1.1
Total 1 – 32 8.9

Table 6.2. Staff outside the library involved in digital library initiatives

7. The library’s relative role in creating, providing access to, and preserving digital assets within the university that contribute new forms of scholarly communica-tion (e.g., e-journals, e-print repositories, digitized content, library content)

Creation. Many units within the university are taking responsibility for producing digital content that contributes new forms of scholarly communication. The library is primarily responsible for the production of that content based on library holdings: 95% of respondents claim this responsibility for the library over other units.

Responsibility for other such content is spread across units with academic departments taking primary responsibility for e-print repositories (52% of those responding), e-journals (52% of those responding), and distance learning materials (62% of those responding). IT and academic computing departments have limited responsibility for producing digital content of any kind.

Access. The library is primarily responsible for providing access to digitized library content in 90% of the institutions responding, e-journal content in 81%, e-books in 76%, and e-prints in 57%. No other unit approaches that level of responsibility for any type of collection listed.

Preservation. Only the digitized library holdings (the creation and distribution of which the library is primarily responsible) appear to be secure. Most respondents claim that the library takes responsibility for preserving these holdings. Other kinds of digital content (e.g., e-journals, e-prints) are apparently at risk. Very few of the responding institutions located preservation responsibility for these materials in any one of the departments listed.

8. Preserving the university’s digital information assets

The highly distributed approach to digital preservation is evident in answers to questions about preservation responsibility for digital materials created or used within the library, within academic departments, and within administrative departments.

The library takes primary responsibility for preserving library catalog files at 71% of responding institutions, finding aids at 76%, and the digital content produced by the library at 76%.

The library has little or no responsibility for university records and administrative data (MIS) or for data developed in academic departments. Where digital content produced in academic departments is concerned, nearly half of all respondents (9 of 21) were unclear about who was responsible for preserving that content.

9. Computer-based learning materials

Support for production and use of computer-based learning materials is widely shared (or highly fragmented).

Units within the library take primary responsibility for supporting pedagogical and classroom use of digital content produced by the library at 81% of those responding, and for advice on copyright clearance and IPR issues involved with that content at 62%.

IT and academic computing departments take primary responsibility for production of computer-based learning materials not based on library holdings at 76% of responding institutions and for the pedagogical and classroom use of those materials at 57%.