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Simon Tanner

Professor Simon Tanner

Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage

Pro Vice Dean Research (Impact and Innovation)

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 1678
+44 (0)7887 691 716

Skype ID: simon_tanner
Twitter: @SimonTanner


Department of Digital Humanities 
King's College London 
Room 219, 26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL  



Simon Tanner has an academic background in Library and Information Science. He has a wide ranging interest in cross disciplinary thinking and collaborative approaches that reflect a fascination with interactions between memory organisation collections (libraries, museum, archives, media and publishing) and the humanities. His research into charging models & rights policy for digital images in art museums has had a transformative effect on open content policy in the international museum sector. Tanner’s Balanced Value Impact Model (BVIM) published in 2012 has proven influential and is in use by Europeana and the Wellcome Trust for instance.

Tanner is the founding Director of King's Digital Consultancy Services (KDCS) at King's College London. From 2003 – 2011 he was an Independent Member of the Government appointed Legal Deposit Advisory Panel and Chair of its Web Archiving sub-committee. Before joining King's, he was Senior Consultant at JISC Service the Higher Education Digitisation Service (HEDS). He previously held IT, management and library roles for Loughborough University (Systems Manager), Rolls-Royce and Associates (Head of Library Services) and IBM (UK) Laboratories (Information Officer).

Research interests & PhD supervision
  • The value and impact of the digital domain
  • Digitisation and digital cultures
  • Economic, social and cultural informatics
  • Open Access and Open Content
  • Sustainability and economic viability for digital collections in memory institutions such as libraries, archives and museums.

My areas of research with the strongest international impact are, first, the economic realities and Open Access/Content strategies for digital content in cultural heritage and second, the Balanced Value Impact Model. I have also carried out extensive research in digitisation working with partners in Africa (e.g. Archbishop Desmond Tutu) or projects such as the Dead Sea Scrolls imaging.

I am interested in PhD supervision which engages with these research themes and have supervised research engaged with digitisation in Africa, democratization, Open Access/Content, digital divides and impact.

Selected publications
  • The role of digital collections in shaping national identity in Africa (with R. Kahn) in African Studies in the Digital Age, T. Barringer and M. Wallace (eds.), Brill, 2014.
  • Measuring the Impact of Digital Resources: The Balanced Value Impact Model. King's College London, October 2012. Available at:
  • Inspiring Research, Inspiring Scholarship: The Value and Impact of Digitised Resources for Learning, Teaching, Research and Enjoyment, JISC, 2011. Available at
  • Reproduction charging models & rights policy for digital images in American art museum, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded study, 2004.
  • When the Data Hits the Fan – Simon Tanner’s blog at:
For a complete list of publications, please see Simon's full research profile.

I teach on the MA Digital Asset and Media Management and the MA Digital Humanities. I lead the Management for Digital Content Industries module. I will teach in the forthcoming BA in Digital Cultures.

The MA in Digital Asset and Media Management was launched in 2010. Since then it has gained Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Accreditation and has a strong international cohort of students attracting at least 50 students per year. This MA responds to the growing demand for professionals who are familiar with the emerging digital needs of the broadcast, publishing, media and cultural heritage industries. Understanding the dynamic digital media landscape is key to developing new strategies and methods for creating and using digital media assets and will allow those working in these content industries to leverage their content in creative and innovative ways in the future.

BA Digital Culture: I Chaired the DDH working group that designed this undergraduate degree. The intellectual rationale of the programme is to explore and understand the production and consumption of culture in a digital context and the emergence of highly influential digital cultures. We interpret ‘culture’ here in an expansive sense, addressing how people are changed by the digital domain and how the digital domain is being changed by people.

Expertise and public engagement

I have written for the Guardian on academic matters, as well as appearing on TV, radio and other media.

I am available to discuss issues of digitisation, value and economics in the digital domain, Open Access/Content, the digital divide and digital cultures. I am particularly proud of a podcast made with the Arts Council England exploring the innovative use of digital technology in the arts and cultural sector and hosted by broadcaster John Wilson.

I have an active blog which gains over 50,000 views per year.

2012 - Chair of the Europeana Impact Taskforce.

2003 – 2011- Independent Member of the Government appointed Legal Deposit Advisory Panel and Chair of its Web Archiving sub-committee. Our recommendations led to establishment of regulations such that, from 6 April 2013, legal deposit covers electronic publications and the web (including websites).

2011 – 2012 - Advisor to the Science as an Open Enterprise policy and to the Roundtable on the Future of Libraries. Roundtable membership, discussing Transparency for Research directly advising the Minister of State for Universities and Science on Open Access.

2003 – 2014 - JISC Digitisation Advisory Group and JISC Content Advisory Group.


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