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Digitisation Projects: Funding Options

This guide outlines the various options available to those undertaking digitisation projects, considering the entire workflow from planning, hosting, copyright, digital imaging, metadata, software, web publishing tools etc.

What to Fund?

Funding digitisation projects is more than the cost of the actual digitisation process. Every aspect of the project can be supported financially, or have costs offset by outside funding. Specific areas may include:

  • Conservation of the material
  • Scanning of material
  • Image processing
  • Metadata description of materials
  • Clearing intellectual property rights
  • Equipment / software
  • Storage
  • Website design
  • System and functionality construction costs
  • Long-term maintenance / curation costs

As a broad rule of thumb:

  • 1/3 of the costs will be for project planning, preservation preparation, management, and oversight;
  • 1/3 of the costs will be for archival description and indexing, metadata;
  • 1/3 of the costs will be for the actual digitisation.


See also:


It may be wise to outsource elements of a digitisation project, especially where equipment, facilities or expertise is not already in place.

Some key questions for a vendor are:

  • Hardware and software used?
  • Quality control procedures?
  • Turnaround time? 
  • Delivery and pick-up?
  • Environmental controls?
  • Qualifications of project manager?
  • References for similar work?
  • Prices?
See also:

Support for Funding Applications

UCD Library is working with UCD Research to articulate the supports that the Library can provide for funding applications; these will be incorporated into the UCD Research webpages and are listed below:

  • UCD Library can provide infrastructure, curation and other related services to ensure long-term digital archiving through the UCD Digital Library, which is a Trusted Digital Repository, certified by the Data Seal of Approval. For more details see:



  • UCD Library can support  researchers in the provision of metrics to enhance their funding applications. More information available at:

Sustainability Needs

Digitisation projects can have an almost infinite number of objectives, all of which can impact on their sustainability needs. Examining two typical digitisation scenarios may help to explore this further:

1.    Many digitisation projects are funded over one, two or three years to create a finite digital resource. These projects may not be updated again in terms of content but on-going access to the finished resource is required by its users. This type of activity can be termed as long term access from a short term project. It is unlikely that funds to facilitate the required maintenance and on-going access to outputs would be available from the same source beyond the initial funding period.

2.    A second broad type of digitisation project is one that evolves over time and is continually growing. Projects of this nature often seek continuation funding in order to fulfil their objectives.


Potential Sources of Funding

Some key funders are listed below - this is a guide only: conditions, application criteria, deadlines and other detailed information can be found on a funding organisation's own website.

Keep an eye on funding opportunities from organisations such as:

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