Today in our faculty reading group we read the Report of The Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. In that report there are many comments along the lines that we need more data on the costs of various library functions, and there’s a whole section on the Web as Infrastructure. And that made me think: how much does it cost to develop resources collaboratively? If you could monetize contributors’ time, what has the creation of Wikipedia cost? Compared to, say, the EB? What does the development of an open-source app cost, compared to an analogous proprietary app? How much has it cost to develop LibraryThing, compared to centralized development of cataloging records? I know there are no studies like this in LIS, but do any exist in software? Someone please do these studies.
I’m not quite sure how to break down the costs of LibraryThing in this context. Members are paying to catalogue as a leisure activity, like players paying membership dues to the village cricket team.
Talking about LibraryThing… Abby Blanchy will be speaking at LAUNC-CH on March 10th