Economics and Usage of Digital Libraries: Byting the BulletSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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Economies of Scale
The ECO project scanned a larger number of titles and images than the projects at Yale University and Cornell University. The ECO project scanned 3,308 titles compared to the 1,270 titles scanned at Cornell or the 2,000 titles scanned at Yale. Table 15.6 compares fixed, variable, and total cost estimates for the three projects.
|Annual fixed project costs (equipment & salaries)||Per image variable cost estimates||Total Cost Estimate||Extras||Project size|
|Yale University Project Open Book (film to digital, 1994/95, marginal cost estimate)||$142,420||$0.182 (based on 600 volumes timed)||$221,177||432,000 images; 2,000 volumes|
|Cornell University (paper to digital to COM, 1994/96, marginal cost estimate)||$27,931||
$0.288 auto (150 volumes timed)
|$80,417 (COM costs)||
|Early Canadiana Online (fiche to digital, 1998/99, average cost estimate)||$161,239||$0.674 (digitization contract)||$600,787||
The variable cost estimates in Table 15.6 for the ECO project include only the cost of scanning the images. OCR, space, and other salary costs contribute to total costs. For comparison with the Yale and Cornell studies, however, the vendor's cost of providing digital access may be more relevant. If texts were digitized without OCR then the additional cost would be $0.674CD per page. The relative costs and size of the three projects are shown in Table 15.7 and Figure 15.4.
Figures 15.4 illustrates the increase in cost per image and cost per title between the three projects. This may show diseconomies of scale, i.e. an increasing average cost as output increases. Larger projects may require more staff or have a greater complexity of task that results in higher costs per unit. However, much of the difference shown may simply be the result of different methods of estimating costs.
|Number of images||Cost/image||Number of titles||Cost/title|
|Yale University (fiche to digital, 1994/95, marginal cost est.)||432,000||$0.51||2,000||$111|
|Cornell University (paper to digital to COM, 1994/96, marginal cost est.)||450,000||$0.42||1,270||$155|
|CIHM Early Canadiana Online (fiche to digital, 1998/99, average cost est.)||651,742||$0.92||3,308||$182|