A great deal of the digital content that libraries and scholars create is expected to endure. However, the responsibility of maintaining the ongoing operation and enhancement of this content remains undefined. With the generous support of Jisc, Ithaka S+R was able to examine the strategies that institutions have in place for supporting digital content resources beyond their initial construction and implementation. “Sustaining Our Digital Future” is both an assessment of the university environment as a host for digital content and an exploratory look at how cultural heritage institutions think about and plan for sustaining and enhancing the value of their digital collections.

This study involved interviews with more than 80 project leaders and university, library, and museum administrators across the United Kingdom. In the first phase, we interviewed 40 practitioners in the higher education and cultural heritage sectors throughout the United Kingdom to gain an understanding of the processes in place to support digital content post-grant. In the second phase, we closely examined the digital strategies in place at three institutions to better understand the digital content the institutions support, their processes for creating and supporting that content, and, more generally, the role that digital content plays in the strategy of their institutions.

We interviewed individuals from the following institutions:

  • University College London
  • Imperial War Museums
  • National Library of Wales

The final report is now available, as is the Sustainability Health Check Tool for Digital Content Projects, which helps digital project leaders and institutional administrators review the needs and “take the pulse” of their projects.