Last week Andy Meadows of the American Numismatic Society wrote:
We are now in the planning stage of a large project to digitize items in our Rare Book Room and to make them available for a fee in a digital format to those unable to visit the library itself.
Andy asked for input from E-Sylum readers on how to prioritize the digitization effort. Jonathan Brecher writes:
I'd suggest that the best way to start is not to start. Google is doing a good job. Why fight? I can't imagine that a for-fee service like that would ever be cost-effective to an organization like the ANS. Better not to spend any money on the project, not charge anyone for the result, and probably get done a whole lot faster to boot...
Jonathan provided this link to the Google Books site:
We may expand our program to include special collections from libraries both in the U.S. and other countries. If you want to let us know about your library's special collection, please feel free to contact us and include the size of your collection, specialization or unique content, how much of your content is already digital, and what languages it includes. You can also visit this page to learn more about who we're working with, what we're digitizing, and how library books appear in the program.
For more information about Google's Special Collections program, see: How can I get my library involved? (books.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=43741)
It would be nice if the ANA also contacted Google about having their library digitized as well.
What's the general feel about the coverage of the ANS and ANA libraries (aside from a platitude that each has some of the same things and some items that the other is lacking)?
Jonathan has a great point. This is well worth investigating, and I would urge both institutions to look into it. As magnificent as Google's contributing libraries are, they cannot match the breadth and depth of the numismatic literature holdings of specialized libraries like those of the ANS and ANA. I don't know what financial arrangements Google has with libraries, but the organizations may well be able to earn more by lending their collections for scanning than digitizing their collections themselves for a subscription service. With Google the literature would become available to all. -Editor
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