Digital Archival Collections (DAC) Advisory Group

We first set up the DAC* advisory group in Dec 2016 as our members’ had concerns about challenges they face when purchasing digital archival collections from publishers. At the same time, there was also a desire to explore new approaches and models to support digitisation of institutions’ own collections.

There is a recognition that library budgets are increasingly stretched by expensive journal and book subscriptions. This leaves little room for the purchasing of digital archives (see definition below).

Funding for digitisation is also scarce and time consuming to obtain. However, there is plenty of evidence that digital archival collections have become part of the scholarly ecosystem and are fundamental to digital scholarship. Libraries play an important role in supporting and enabling digital scholarship and members were interested in how collective action might help tackle some of these problems.

This was against the background of Jisc’s own organisational changes and inability to continue funding large scale digitisation programmes or investing in national purchases of digital collections. We wanted to identify new ways in which Jisc can support the sector in these areas with input from members.

The group brings together both strategic leaders as well as practitioners to ensure it reflects a variety of perspectives and experiences from institutions across Jisc bands and maintains links with RLUK and SCONUL through nominated representatives.



* In this context, the term “digital archival collections” is used loosely and in its broadest sense to refer to, typically, primary source material such as text, image and audio-visual resources that institutions either purchase from publishers as one-off products or digitise from their own archives and special collections.  This may also include resources such as publishers’ journal backfiles or historic book collections. However, current yearly subscriptions to journals and books are out of scope, as they are covered elsewhere in Jisc.