The True Cost of the DPLA

The biggest problem with the DPLA will be its funding.  Having a project as big as this is going to cost some serious amount of money.  Darton says, “It would be the digital equivalent of the Library of Congress…”  Let’s take a look at what that would actually mean for a minute.  According to Kevin Kelly’s article the cost to scan a book at Stanford would cost about $30 and if we outsourced it to China it would cost $10, but that would not include the cost of sending the Library of Congress to China.  The LoC has about 152 million items in its collection though not all of them books, but for this purpose let’s say all of them must be digitized.  That would mean the cost of digitizing the LoC would be between $1.5 billion and $4.6 billion.  This isn’t an absurd amount of money for a project this size, but the problem is that no one has that kind of money lying around.  There are many different paths that we could go down to get that money, but we really can’t proceed with the true idea of the DPLA without raising that money first (and this is just the start up, I haven’t even touched on the funding of running it after it’s live).

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