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Measuring the Impact of Digital Resources: The Balanced Value Impact Model

This document is an output from an Arcadia funded research project.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This document is an output from an Arcadia funded research project.

It draws evidence from a wide range of sources to provide a compelling account of the means of measuring the impact of digital resources and using evidence to advocate how change benefits people.

The aim is to provide key information and a strong model for the following primary communities of use: the cultural, heritage, academic or creative industries.

For the purposes of this report, the definition of Impact is:

The measurable outcomes arising from the existence of a digital resource that demonstrate a change in the life or life opportunities of the community for which the resource is intended.

Simon Tanner, 2012

The outcome of this cross disciplinary research is a new and targeted model of Impact Assessment for the primary communities of use identified above. The Balanced Value Impact Model brings together aspects from disparate Impact Assessment communities into a cohesive and logical process for Impact Assessment.

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The Balanced Value Impact Model is intended to aid the thinking and decision making of those wishing to engage in Impact Assessment. It also acts as a guide through the process of Impact Assessment to enable the core values most appropriate to the assessment to be brought to the fore and given a balanced consideration when evaluating outcomes. It presumes that the assessment will be measuring change within an ecosystem for a digital resource.

The Balanced Value Impact Model is applied in five core functional stages: 1. Context

2. Analysis and Design

3. Implementation

4. Outcomes and Results

5. Review and Respond

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These activities are carried out through the application of a Logical Framework to record information at each stage and to assist with planning and implementation.

The Balanced Value Impact Model is intended for those wishing to carry out Impact Assessment. It will also be valuable to funding bodies and government agencies as a guidance document when designing effective programmes to develop the digital domain, and for sharing with grantees working on digital projects.

WHO IS THIS DOCUMENT FOR?

This document draws evidence from a wide range of sources and seeks to provide a compelling account of the means of measuring the impact of digital resources and using evidence to advocate how change benefits people. The aim is to provide key information and a strong model for the following primary communities of use: Memory institutions and cultural heritage organizations, such as libraries, museums and archives. Funding bodies who wish to promote evidence-based impact assessment of activities they support. Holders and custodians of special collections. Managers, project managers and fundraisers who are seeking to justify further investment in digital resources. Academics looking to establish digital projects and digital scholarship collaborations with collection owners. Publishing, media and business sectors which may be considering the best means to measure the impact of their digital resources and are looking to collaborate and align with collection owners, with academia or with memory institutions. Impact Assessment practitioners considering an Impact Assessment of a digital resource.

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WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THIS DOCUMENT?

This document synthesizes information from the whole Impact Assessment sector and then proposes the Balanced Value Impact Model as a means to effectively carry out an Impact Assessment relating to the benefits of digitization and digital resources in general. It seeks to help the communities identified above to provide a compelling argument for future work. Thus, you will find in this document information on: Where the value and impact can be found in digital resources, Who are the beneficiaries gaining from the impact and value, How to measure change and impact for digital resources, What makes for good indicators of change in people’s lives, How to do an Impact Assessment using the Balanced Value Impact Model, and

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BalancedValueImpactModel_SimonTanner_October2012

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