University of Leicester
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Sustaining digital products in the museum sector: Balancing value and resources through good decisions

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posted on 2013-09-13, 10:07 authored by Jeremy Matthew Ottevanger
Digital products are an increasingly significant part of the output of museums in the UK, but the rationale behind them and the long term plans for them are not always clear. This thesis argues that to consider such a digital product to be sustainable, the value it creates must justify the resources it requires. The decisions involved in building and supporting these products affect both the value proposition and the resource requirements, but also reflect the way that museums and their stakeholders see the balance between the two. At the same time, this balance is under the influence of a constantly changing environment. The study proposes a model of sustainability as a cycle of value, resources and decision-making, and three case studies are used to examine how decisions are reached in the face of flux and uncertainty. Some ways in which decisions can be biased or distorted are identified, and finally some approaches are offered for museums seeking to improve the balance of value and resources, and increase the quality of the decisions that underlie them.



Parry, Ross; Vavoula, Giasemi

Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD


On request of the interviewees two interviews have been removed from the Appendix 1 of the electronic version of this thesis (p. 356 and p. 407). The unabridged version can be consulted, on request, at the University of Leicester’s David Wilson Library.



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