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A more reasonable approach to market digital surrogates of cultural heritage resources
would be to develop shared themes of common interest in which players throughout the
cultural sector (including e.g. publishers and broadcasters) could buy into. Such themes
stimulate the public interest in particular cultural heritage topics and resources,
create new market potential for institutional and commercial players in
the cultural sector, and
provide a basis for a purposeful digitisation of certain special collections.
Cultural heritage institutions should, together with cultural councils, cultural
industry and media partners, strategically develop and heavily market cultural
and historical themes in order to create a basis for the purposeful digitisation
of certain special collections.
Subscription based information services and virtual environments
Information services are a major domain for libraries, with traditional commercial (non-
subscription-based) services being document supply and custom research.With regard to
new online services one can say that commercial success or even sustainability in the world
of scholarly and educational libraries is far from being easily achievable (if it is a declared
target of projects).These libraries stick to their mission as ideally free information hubs and
develop valuable online solutions for special material needed in scholarly research and
education (e.g. digitisation of journals, material for course readings).
Yet, in the digital environment competition is growing for the future face of `the library'
and the question will be whether the established libraries will in the long term be the
places to go for relevant e-material. Mainly because the major commercial players
increasingly control the complete online information chain and, in particular, the
subscription-based services.
Without a complete change in the model of scholarly publishing, libraries will have to
direct users to these commercial services for online access to most current published
In order to play a relevant role on the market for online access to e-material,
institutions should build up their own digital collections from all resources they
can get, e.g. by managing collections for various parties in the publishing cycle
as well as digitising parts of their collections.
The European Commission should commission an in-depth market analysis of
international and European players on the market for subscription-based access
to published works as well as conditions that might lead to market dominance
and control.