Thursday, June 30, 2005

Publishing makes shift to digital

90% of newly published work will be available digitally by 2020. That's fifteen years.

"The vast majority of UK research material will be available in electronic form by 2020.

According to a study commissioned by the British Library, 90% of newly published work will be available digitally by this time.

Only half of this will also be available in print form, with just 10% of new titles available only in print.

It represents a 'seismic shift' in the world of publishing said British Library chief executive Lynne Brindley.

For its part, the British Library aims to spend the next three years developing the infrastructure necessary to store, manage, preserve and provide access to digital material."
I 'm still working in about a 10 year time frame. I'm betting that in five years, the Google project will be complete, or nearly so, along with a group of other major digitization projects. We've seen what an enormous impact. Within that time period, a major digitization project will be launched that focuses on religious and theological content. Within ten years, I'm guessing most publishers will assume they need to think about publishing online. Some will easily make that transition. It will take others longer, and some will fail. There are likely to be a small group of niche publishers who continue to publish exclusively in print. How long they will continue, I can't predict.

Significant for libraries is what this means for library services. Will we shift from a collection to an access model? What technologies will be required within the library? What are the implications for public service?