If one expands the notion of a business model into the sphere of people and groups that
support an organisation's goal and activities with voluntary contributions or membership
fees, then some cultural heritage institutions might be giants as for example the National
Trust, UK (<http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk>).
And what also should be thought of are "adoption" programs: In order to be able to
preserve cultural heritage objects, institutions can invite patrons online to help financially to
preserve a book, map, manuscript, poster, or other piece of history.This can take the form of
an exchange of a donation for a symbolic honouring of the demonstrated respect and
support for cultural heritage. Adoption programs might also include "e-adoption", i.e.
support for digitising objects in order to reduce their physical handling and/or make it
available for an educational product.
The Adopt-a-Book, Etc. program of the Library of Virginia Foundation
Donors giving $100 or more will have their name(s) and the name(s) of those to be
honoured recorded on an insert placed in the conserved book or kept with the selected
piece.The contribution will be listed in the Library's catalogue record. Donors giving
$1,000 or more may choose the type of book or other item they wish to adopt.
In autumn 2001, items waiting for "adoption" included e.g. the First World War poster "Oh
Boy,That's the Girl!"; volumes of "Camera Work" edited and published by Alfred Stieglitz
containing photographs from the first decade of the 20th century, or "A Complete System
of Husbandry and Gardening; or,The Gentleman's Companion, in the Business and
Pleasures of a Country Life" (1716).
Pointing to these "models" first does not mean that for some of the subforms Rappa
distinguishes examples from the cultural heritage sector could not be found (e.g. e-retailers
or subscription services) or, more often, imagined.Yet, for the following overview a more
down to earth approach has been chosen that will provide:
A basic set of business models including models that focus on selling:
- user attention & information,
- products (physical & digital products) & tickets for events,
a short description and examples are given, followed by a short or more extended assessment.
furthermore, a sample of illustrative examples is provided for readers who want to have
more detailed information.
The models described are for the most part models actually used or explored by cultural
heritage institutions. Some others were included in order to clearly indicate models that
have become obsolete or are in the meantime known to be not applicable or only under
very specific conditions.
Licensing as an online business model (mainly institution-to-business) will be analysed in
a separate chapter. In addition, commercial library services will be looked into in more