Digital Content Sustainability Syllabus


Over the past decade, JISC and other funders of projects in higher education and the cultural heritage sector have supported the creation and development of many innovative and valuable projects to create and enhance digital content resources. As funding streams dry to a trickle or are shut down entirely, it has become increasingly urgent to find ways to make sure that the content-based resources are sustainable for the long term. Funders, aware of the challenges their grantees face, frequently require them to put forward sustainability strategies when planning their projects. Yet, research has found that often these strategies are, by the grantees’ own admission, quite wishful, written out of obligation, and often not pursued and monitored. When the end of the grant approaches, many project leaders scramble as they seek to identify new revenue sources to support their ongoing operation post-grant.

Despite general agreement among funders and project leaders that developing sustainable digital content is a major concern, we believe that the current training and development landscape does not adequately address the range of skills and mindsets that enable project leaders to fully understand the landscape of issues and their impact on the development of sustainability planning.

This work was awarded to Web2Rights in January 2012 and is due to complete in July 2012, with web-based deliverables disseminated in September 2012.


The aim of this project is to scope, design, pilot and test a holistic and integrated syllabus, from which we will create a course which will aim to provide leaders of digital projects  with the skills, resources, mindsets and networks to help them create robust and sustainable strategies for digital innovation.


From April 2012, a range of workshops and events are planned to test ideas for the course, what needs to be included and how it is delivered on a group of people with different levels of digital project experience, and from different sectors, including HE/FE, cultural heritage and commercial companies. Attendance at these workshops are excellent opportunities to be involved in the testing of our ideas, and to contribute to the development of this ground breaking course, so that it suits the needs of all participants who have a vested interest in the sustainability of digital resources. Event details will be posted here.

Please contact Naomi Korn ( or Alex Dawson (  for further information .