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Rusbridge comments on this:"Why 3 years? Not because that is the time needed to
make a cultural change or to establish an infant service so that the community will pay for
it.We now know that (ignoring the huge investments of `dotcoms', many of which could
eat the entire eLib programme budget for breakfast) it is nearly impossible to take an idea
through prototype into real implementation to sustainability in just 3 years!" (Rusbridge,
2001)
Therefore, as a rule of thumb, and surely not only for projects that aim at establishing a
sustainable e-service in the library sector: Funding for more then three years is needed!
Competition with commercial aggregators of digital content
A surprising result of the DigiCULT Online Delphi (round 2) is that most experts
expect, that libraries will be challenged by commercial aggregators of digital content and
providers of special features (e.g. for scholars and students). In fact, of the 51 experts that
answered the questionnaire on exploitation and services 32 expect this to happen, while 8
said no and 11 chose not clear.
For examples of such challenges ahead and business models that are used or explored in
providing new digital libraries one must, beside the example Ingenta, look towards America.
Two examples are given here: Ebrary and Questia.
Ebrary Inc.: <http://www.ebrary.com>
Ebrary Inc., based in San Francisco, has conceived a service offered to libraries and
consumers that lets people browse through a large collection of books and other media
online. Charging is not based on access, but based on print-out of pages (15 to 25 cents/
page) or cut and paste of paragraphs. Material cannot be copied indiscriminately, and the
publishers participating in the venture can set limits in how much users can obtain from a
publication. Big publishers, including Random House, Bertlesmann, Pearson PLC and
McGraw-Hill, support the venture.The revenue-split between Ebrary and the publishers is
said to be 40:60 percent. (cf. Buckman, 2001)
Questia Media Inc.: <http://www.questia.com>
Questia, based in Houston, offers an online study service, targeting primarily college
students.The service includes searching through by word, phrase or concept an enormous
database of mostly scholarly books & journals, as well as providing additional features such
as automatic footnoting to selected texts and creation of a bibliography. Students pay a flat
$19.95 monthly fee for unlimited access to the database, and can print parts of books, or cut
and paste segments. In the year 2000, the database was said to contain 50,000 books (with
250.000 expected by 2003).
According to a Redherring report, Questia's raised $130 million from various capital
funds, and has gained subsidiary rights from 200 academic presses, including Oxford,
Harvard,Yale, Cambridge and the University of Chicago, as well as Pearson Education, the
world's largest educational publisher. (<http://www.redherring.com>) Troy Williams
(Founder, President & CEO, Director) of Questia "figures he can recover his costs in two
and a half years if only 5% of the 12.3 million U.S. undergraduates subscribe for six to eight
months." (Cook, 2001)
In the DigiCULT Expert Round Table on exploitation (Edinburgh, July 24, 2001), Bruce
Royan, CEO, SCRAN referred to Questia as one example of a service that is "being placed
specifically on a who is likely to pay and what it is they might want, rather than what might
be worthy to digitise and what might be worthy to build up". (For the latter he pointed
VIII EXPLOITATION