Monetize and Fund Future Development?

monopolyThe file types of digital images in the libraries (Lossy & Lossless).  After understanding all kinds of the digital images, how do you think that librarians could benefit from them?   Can you think about the other services in the libraries that could use other types of images with smaller size? How do librarians choose between lossy and lossless types?

Brian already alluded to this potential in his excellent post about the MN Historical Society, but I wanted to return to the topic of how libraries could benefit financially from differentiating their materials between lossy and lossless offerings.   I see not only a sound way to prevent copyright infringement, but also a way for archives to generate financial resources by selling TIFF files of selected items.  So many photo archives are bound by constraints (personnel and funding) that make them unable to fully digitize their collections.  I know from experience that the MN Historical Society hasn’t come close to digitizing their entire collection of photos.  They are browsable within an index, but not all offer even a simple reference JPG, certainly not the high-quality TIFF one might desire.  If museums can obtain copyright, they could market their collections, and create financial resources that could be returned to their ongoing efforts to digitize even more of their collection.  I guess I wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts on this potential.

One final question… As many academic and public libraries offer flatbed scanners to their patrons, are they simply turning a blind eye to potential copyright infringement by users digitizing their collections?  I know they post warnings near the scanners, but do you think these work?  Just wondering if this ever come up with anyone professionally.  I have an friend who is an Assistant Art Professor here at the University and I was a bit uneasy when he described spending his break visiting a photo archive with a portable scanner appropriating photos for his “research”.


3 responses to “Monetize and Fund Future Development?

  1. Great suggestion, Peter! The Wisconsin Historical Society offers this service; we have a print of the Orpheum Theater in Madison from the ’40s that we bought through there.

  2. Many museums already have sold replicas as souvenir. The same practice I think can be applied to digital assets as long as no violation of copyrights.

  3. When I purchased rights to photos from MNHS (and from the Wisconsin Historical Society too actually) they were all delivered as digital files and I believe a digital file is an option for anyone that is interested in purchasing for personal use – I could be wrong about that.
    The process of buying a high quality tiff could be made easier (I had to fill out a paper form, send it in and wait for a CDR with the files) so that the buyer could do it right on the site. Delivery might still have to go through an FTP site though as the files are so large. It does seem like a potential revenue stream that could be improved. Anyone I know that finds out about the wonderful digital photo collection at MNHS is very interested in owning a photo. Many businesses around MN sport historical photos on their walls and I wonder if the digital collection has increased purchase of historical photos statewide.

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