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13 1 BUSINESS PLANNING FOR DIGITAL LIBRARIES Mel Collier Introduction: the aim of this book It has become almost conventional to trace the history of the digital library back to Vannevar Bush, or even to notables in the origins of computing such as Charles Babbage or Ada Lovelace. That is not our intention, nor indeed is it our intention to record the history of digital libraries in any detail, but it is appropriate to explain why we present this book on business planning for digital libraries and why at this time. Librarians of a certain age, like the present editor, now nearing the end of their careers, and some already retired, have spent their entire professional lives working on the application of computers to libraries, from the early days of indexing and the creation of inventories through the development of library automation applications, then integrated library management systems, networking, mini-computer, micro-computer and PC applications, and in due time the digital library. From those origins until now is a period of fifty years at most, which in the history of libraries is perhaps a mere minute. It is a minute, however in which libraries have changed more than during any other period in library history, and within that minute digital libraries as strictly defined have occupied maybe the last fifteen seconds. Those fifteen seconds however represent fundamental change: so much so that even the continuance of the library as we know it is called into question. Libraries have changed forever during that time, or are in the process, yet only now are we getting to grips with planning that change. Those fifteen seconds have been a time of frantic development and great professional excitement, but mostly occupied with applying the white heat of technology. The literature of digital libraries is already vast, but the overwhelming majority concerns technical development, followed perhaps by issues concerned with property rights or metadata. Business planning for digital libraries is not prominent in the literature, certainly not as treated in an integrated way in which the various elements are brought together so that sustainability for the future is assured, or, put another way, so as to move from experiment or fixed term project to dependable service. This book tries to fill that gap by integrating the many issues that are required for successful business planning for digital libraries, but which are usually treated separately in the literature, and we do so by drawing on the management experience of people active in the field. On the other hand we are not starting from scratch because some important integrating works have gone before. We refer for example to Lesk (2005) whose comprehensive work approaches digital libraries primarily from a technical point of view, but also includes substantial chapters on economics and property rights. Andrews and Law (2004) provided a very useful early focus on policy and practice from a mostly, but not entirely, Anglo-American BPDG_opmaak_12072010.indd 13 13/07/10 11:51 14 Mel Collier 14 perspective. Most recently Baker and Evans (2009) made an important contribution by expanding and integrating the previously scattered literature on digital library economics, primarily in the field of higher education and national libraries. This book looks at the whole process of planning the digital library from the point of view of business planning: that is planning it as if it were an enterprise that is meant to fulfil specific goals and from the outset designed to be sustainable and to provide value to those who invest in it and those who use it. Furthermore this book addresses the current trends which see digital libraries as belonging not only to the library world, but also to the broader cultural sector, and to do so from as international a perspective as possible, as exemplified by the European flagship project: Europeana.1 Business planning for digital libraries: definitions When the present writer started working on the business planning workpackage for The European Library2 in 2001 there were only a few published works relating to business planning for digital libraries. The term business planning itself was indeed only just coming into use in this context. Perhaps the first published usage occurred in Barton and Walker (2003), followed by Bishoff, L. and Allen, N. (2004). The first literature review from this project appeared in Collier (2004) followed by a more comprehensive one in Collier (2005). By then it was possible to produce a definition of the term, which we continue to use as the...


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