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APPENDIX C: Survey Instrument

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The following template was used to gather information from DHC Web sites and to conduct the phone interviews.

1. General Background Information

Purpose: To gather a basic set of background information about each of the DHCs in the survey.

Information to be collected:
-DHC name and acronym
-Physical and virtual locations
-Year of creation
-Founding history
-Domain (the particular humanities discipline(s) that is a focal point for the DHC, e.g., Islamic architecture, history, gender studies)
-Mission /vision statement; goals and objectives of the DHC
-Brief description of the center
-Constituencies served (e.g., scholars, university community, K-12 teachers, artists)

2. Governance Structure

Purpose: To identify the organizational structure and governance of the DHC, and, if relevant, where the DHC exists within a larger parent organization and how that parent organization oversees the DHC.

Information to be collected:
-Organizational structure (membership, academia, consortium, etc.)
• Reporting structure (DHC director reports to whom?)
• Ancillary groups involved in governance and oversight (e.g., advisory committees, steering committees), selection criteria for members of these groups, the duties of these groups, and the terms of service for individuals in these groups

(For DHCs operating under academic/university governance)
• DHC’s placement on the university’s organizational chart
• If that placement has changed since the DHC’s inception, explore why (Was it because of changes in the DHC’s circumstances, such as growth, staffing, or cross-campus relationships? Was it the result of changes in the university’s circumstances, such as institutional restructuring or new management decisions?)

(For DHCs operating under membership governance)
• The DHC’s membership base, levels of membership, and benefits associated with each membership level
• Groups that make decisions on behalf of the membership (e.g., board of directors or equivalent); this group’s members, affiliations, terms of service, committee appointments, and duties

(For DHCs operating under consortial governance)
• Partners involved in the consortium and their roles and responsibilities
• Groups that make decisions on behalf of the consortium (e.g., board of directors, trustees); this group’s members, affiliations, terms of service, and committee appointments and duties
• Formal policies or agreements that govern the consortium
• Distinctions in governance between national/international collaborations

3. Administration

Purpose: To identify how the DHC is organized and administered internally (e.g., Is it a “top-down” management structure, from director to staff?).

Information to be collected:
-Internal organization and reporting structures
-Roles of staff
-Shared academic appointments/arrangements, academic departments involved and the logistics of the shared appointment (percentage of time for each program, shared or distinctive responsibilities, etc.)

4. Operations

Purpose: To identify the programs and activities of each DHC; how the DHC makes decisions about which activities and programs to pursue; to gauge how the DHC allocates time/staffing/funding resources to its activities; and to gauge the extent to which the DHC monitors how (and how much) its products/services are used.

Information to be collected:
-The activities, programs, products, and services offered by the DHC
-How the DHC decides to undertake an activity or program, or offer a product or service (i.e., the decision-making process)
• Formal or informal processes for decision making
• How are programs and activities developed, reviewed, funded, documented, and staffed?
• How does the DHC measure the success of its programs, activities, products, or services?
-Products and services: usage and long-term planning:
• The volume of use for digital products/services that the DHC offers
• Characteristics of the user base for the DHC’s products and services-who are they, and how are they using the product or service?
• Plans for preservation and archiving of digital products
• Intellectual property and ownership concerns related to products and services
-Teaching and other pedagogical activities conducted at or through the center (courses, academic degree programs, internships, fellowships, or other structured educational opportunities)

5. Sustainability

Purpose: To identify resources, efforts undertaken, and plans that allow the DHC to operate for the long term (i.e., the funding, staffing, in-kind agreements for goods/services, business models).

Information to be collected:
-Planning efforts
• Standard tools (e.g., feasibility studies, needs assessments) used to gauge sustainability prior to the establishment of the DHC
• Standard tools or methodologies (e.g., strategic plans, business plans) used to plan for the growth and sustainability of the DHC in the long term
-Financial/funding information
• Sources of funding (general categories [e.g., grants]; and specific funders [e.g., NEH; IMLS])
• Percentage of funding received from various sources (e.g., 20 percent grants; 15 percent university)
-Business model(s)
• Current model: Does the DHC believe this model is sustainable?
• Past models: If the DHC has changed its business model over time, what were the reasons for the change?
-The challenges faced by the DHC that threaten sustainability (e.g., funding, staffing, local institutional/political issues)

6. Partnerships and Collaborations

Purpose: To identify the extent of internal and external partnerships undertaken by DHCs that are not governed under a consortial model and to identify how these partnerships are structured and administered; for all DHCs, to identify why partners are drawn to the center (i.e., reasons for collaborating.)

Information to be collected:
-The DHC’s partners (and associated projects)
• Formal versus informal nature of the partnership
• If formal, investigate the terms of the partnership (e.g., obligations, expectations, decisions about intellectual property and ownership)
• National/international nature of partners
• Methods for selecting partners (e.g., Are they solicited by the DHC? Is the DHC approached by interested parties? Both?)
• Whether partnerships emerge from previous relationships between members of the DHC and the partnering organization
• Incentives that encourage people/organizations to partner with the DHC in its various projects
• The DHC’s experience with, or ideas about, successful and unsuccessful partnerships

It was assumed that some DHCs would be unable to answer certain questions in the survey, perhaps because they do not track information in certain areas (e.g., user base information) or are not privy to various types of information (e.g., financial data). In the context of this survey, the inability to answer a question was not considered an impediment. In some instances, understanding what an organization did not know about its operations may be a useful indicator of issues that warrant consideration in future discussions of regional or national centers.


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