Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The glut and lack of digitization vendors

While teaching a graduate class this past spring on digital assets, I learned that some areas of the country have many digitization vendors, while other areas have very, very few or none. Some states (such as Montana) seem to be void of vendors. Why?

It could be that digitization has caught on in areas where there large libraries or cultural heritage organizations who understand the benefit of digitization AND have the resources to do projects. Those large institutions do not tend to be in the Great Plains, but rather near large population centers on each coast.

Vendors will only appear where there is a need. If no organizations are looking to outsource digitization efforts-- either because they can handle their demand in-house OR they do not yet see the need to digitize -- then no vendors will appear since there is no business for them.

Vendors should begin market themselves to areas that are without digitization resources. They might think of themselves as prophets spreading the good news of digitization and showing people what is possible. Selfishly, they may build demand for themselves. Hopefully, they would spark interest...which would eventually create local digitization vendors. (And we all know that competition is a good thing.)

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