The New Opportunities Fund ran a huge £50m digitisation programme between 2001 and 2004.
Opinion to the success of the programme has been somewhat divided; some have seen it as pioneering; others saw it is a poor use of money, which did not really reap the expected dividends.
There has actually been little analysis as to whether which of these judgements is more correct.
However, there now exists an online database of all the NOF-digi projects and some statistics on their current availability.
- Of the 149 projects, 115 are still available in one form or another (77%)
- This figures rises to 85% (104 out of 122) when considering the projects funded under the ‘cultural enrichment’ strand (the other strands were much less focussed on digitisation)
- This figures rises even further to 87% (34 out of 39) when the larger projects, i.e. those with more than £300k of funding are considered.
Of course, much more analysis on the long-term impact of the programme could be undertaken. While some may carp that about 20% of websites that are now longer available, given the issues in staff skills, sustainability and data capture that were learnt in the first mass digitisation programme ever undertaken in the UK, these statistics are reasonably respectable.