DE Conferentie 2007 Nick Poole

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  • 1. What Audience?The death of Mass-Digitisation and the Rise of theMarket Economy Nick Poole Chief Executive MDA
  • 2. We used to say that an infinite number of monkeys,given an infinite amount of time, would re-create theworks of Shakespeare.Now, thanks to the Internet, we know that isn’t true. Anonymous
  • 3. A lesson from history… Print Woodblock (220BC) Movable type (1040AD) Lithography (1796AD) Harry Potter (2001AD) The Internet
  • 4. The Mass Digitisation equation… n×g×e=∞€Where:n = number of poorly-documented pieces of pot in storageg = how guilty we feel about the bits of pote = the amount of time until the next election
  • 5. The principle…The philosophy of mass-digitisation is based on the principle ofthe right to accessThe right to access is based on a socialist view of publicownership of cultureThe public own it, therefore, the public should have an automaticright to access it freelyWhich is true, except…
  • 6. Some unfortunate truths…It will never be possible to document every object in everycollectionThere is never going to be enough public investment to pay forevery object to be digitisedA very small number of digitised objects are economicallysustainable in their own rightThere is not enough value in the high-value items to pay for thetotal-cost-of-ownership of all the low-value onesNot all objects are created equal…
  • 7. Value chain Digitisation Creates… Resources Used in… Projects Leading to… Products Delivered as… Services Which create… Value
  • 8. Overhead & staff costs +Cost of equipment/service +Cost of acquiring skills +Software costs +Rights clearance (time + license fees) +Adding value (metadata/content creation) =Total cost of ownership
  • 9. General public Family historians Specialist researchers? Richly-described objects Inventory-level records Uncatalogued material
  • 10. The NOF Digitise Example£70m Government-funded digitisation programme2,000 projects to digitise cultural assetsHundreds of thousands of resources digitisedIntended to demonstrate sustainability for 3 yearsThe majority of projects were inaccessible after 2 yearsThe sector could not afford the infrastructure to sustain theservices
  • 11. The Google Print ModelGoogle enters into partnership with large libraryGoogle pays for mass-digitisation of booksLibrary users have access to millions of digitised booksGoogle has access to content for its Google Print initiativeGoogle recoups its costs by building its brand and increasingmarket shareEverybody wins…
  • 12. Except…The incidental costs of book digitisation are lower than forobjectsThe model depends on a small number of large organisations – itdoesn’t work for the large number of small onesThe library has to pay for the long-term implications of digitalpreservationBecause it involves a separate partner, the model doesn’t allowfor future acquisitions
  • 13. ImplicationsThe economics of mass-digitisation are inherently unsustainablefor cultural organisationsThe culture sector doesn’t have the capacity to create theservices necessary to make sense of large datasetsArtefacts, books and manuscripts are different things – anddifferent types of collection have different requirementsA large amount of money and effort is being expended to meetthe needs of a small part of the market (the academicresearcher)
  • 14. The solution? De-risk digitisation by Reduce the cost of supply moving to digitisation by aggregating services on demand De-regulate the market Accept that not all content is and enable market forces equal, or equally valuable to apply
  • 15. The advantages of the Digitisation on Demand modelScalable – grows and shrinks with the marketAccessible to large and small organisationsEnables the museum to balance cost, value and priceFlexible enough to recognise the difference between collectionsEnables us to build our fund of publicly-accessible digitalmaterial over time, instead of trying to do it all at onceStill allows Governments to ‘commission’ and subsidisedigitisation
  • 16. Making the supply chain work for usAggregating demand into simple services – reducing the numberof ‘points of entry’Reducing costs of participationReducing costs of digital preservation by aggregating demandfor preservation servicesMigrating towards eCommerce/microtransactionsUsing licensing to control permitted usageUsing transactions to develop market intelligence
  • 17. Moving from ‘access’ to ‘value’Access is passive and unrealisticAccess de-emphasises the role of the curatorAccess is not sufficient to grow audiencesOur ability to add value to cultural content by selection andinterpretation is what makes us unique in the marketplaceThe future sustainability of our online services depends onmaking the transition from universal access to sustainable andvaluable service.
  • 18. ConclusionsMass-digitisation may not be ‘dead’, but it is only applicable incertain situations, for certain types of collectionCreating, maintaining and storing a digital asset is expensive andit is irresponsible to ignore the long-term cost implicationsSelective digitisation, based on known market need is the onlyway of sustaining digitisation for the culture sector in the long-termAccess does not automatically lead to value
  • 19. Nick PooleChief ExecutiveMDAhttp://www.mda.org.ukhttp://www.collectionslink.org.ukhttp://ww.culturalpropertyadvice.gov.uknick@mda.org.uk01223 415 760