Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Follow-up on the Google Announcement

A day after the initial flurry of conversation responding to the announcement by Google of partnerships with several major research libraries, it strikes me that one of the most significant issues is that this represents a collaboration between not-for-profit libraries and a commercial partner. I've suggested elsewhere that libraries, particularly theological libraries, need to explore other funding models for their work. Traditionally we have relied almost solely on our parent institutions for library funding. Certainly grants and donations make possible construction, renovation, and special projects in the library, but relatively speaking, these still represent a small part of the Library's overall budget. Additionally, they normally do not represent an alliance with a commercial entity that expects to develop a revenue stream from the gift.

The Google announcement represents a bold and significant departure from that model. Even if it isn't successful, it may prompt us to imagine other potential collaborations with commercial entities that could be mutually beneficial.