As a culture, we don't like to talk about how much things cost. We don't want to brag about bargains and seem too frugal. We don't want to talk about cost, if we think we've spent too much. In fact, it is the fear of finding out that we've spent too much that probably keeps us from talking about the costs of things. What if someone else spent less or got a better deal?
We are also inhibited from talking openly about prices sometimes by our vendors. If their clients are prohibited to talk about the contracts they sign, then future clients don't know if they are paying more than current clients. Prices can stay high (and go higher).
When can we talk about costs? When we're dealing with commodities. Commodities are those things -- like oil, oranges, and hogs -- that are bought and sold based on price, with the assumption that the quality across vendors (producers) is the same. Digitization is not yet a commodity business. It is not like buying an orange.
From what I can see, there are very few article written about the cost -- the real cost -- of digitization. Here are three that I have come across:
- Puglia, Steven. “The Costs of Digital Imaging Projects.” RLG DigiNews, October 15, 1999, www.rlg.org/preserv/diginews/diginews3-5.html#feature (~6 pp.)
- The Price of Digitization: New Cost Models for Cultural and Educational Institutions, http://www.ninch.org/forum/price.report.html
- Benchmarking Conversion Costs: A Report from the Making of America IV Project, http://www.rlg.org/preserv/diginews/diginews5-5.html#feature2
Technorati tag: Digitization