After several years of reliance on foundation support, Oxford University’s Electronic Enlightenment (EE), a database containing the digitized correspondence of over 6,000 thinkers and writers from the long 18th century, needed to transition from a grant funded project to an independently sustainable research project. After hiring a business planning consultant to help them think through different options, project leadership concluded that a sustainability model based on institutional subscriptions to the resource was the best fit for the project’s needs. In addition to the revenue model, another important component of the sustainability plan was the establishment of a new set of institutional relationships, including the project’s move from its prior home at the Voltaire Foundation to a new base at the Bodleian Library, and the development of a sales, marketing and delivery agreement with Oxford University Press. This case study explores the factors that made EE well suited for a subscription model, the reasoning behind the establishment of its new institutional relationships, and the challenges surrounding the continued development of this unique resource.


Sustainability Planning Tool