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Project & Program (definition)
By Jill Hurst-Wahl

I often find myself defining these two words during a workshop and trying to make a distinction between the two. We talk about digitization projects as well as digitization programs, but what is the difference? This is what I say…

A project has a defined beginning and end. Resources — e.g., staff and funding — are allocated specifically for the length of the project. Projects are often not integrated into an organization’s mission and goals. Many digitization efforts have been projects.

A program is ongoing. It is part of what the organization does both now and in the future. A program is part of the organization’s mission and not something that might be considered an after-thought. A program receives ongoing funding. It has people to attend to it ongoing basis. Although some digitization programs are called projects, a look at the details will tell you if it is something that is meant to end or something that will be ongoing.

Jill Hurst-Wahl, MLS, is a digitization consultant and owner of Hurst Associates, Ltd. She also teaches digitization for Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. You can read her bio here and additional info on her digitization work here. To contact Jill, use these methods.

Click here to view the Hurst Associates’ digitization capabilities statement.

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