UKOLN Economic Models of the Digital Library

Terms of reference


The aim of this study is to investigate economic models for the future funding of the digital library business. There is a need to understand how digital libraries can be supported in the long term, since it is recognised that libraries cannot receive experimental research funding forever.

The study

A number of studies have looked at how particular aspects of the digital library may be supported, such as pricing models for digitised texts, however, this exploration needs to be extended to encompass a wider range of library activities.

This study should aim to:

Among the issues that the study should address are:

Appropriate pricing mechanisms for supply and delivery of digitised resources, e.g. 'bundling', usage-based v subscription. Differences in the delivery and storage requirements between text, images, sound and video may dictate different cost and pricing models.


The total cost of the study is expected to be under 10,000 pounds (including VAT if applicable).

Proposal requirements

Proposals should:


Proposals will be evaluated by referees. The following criteria will be used for evaluation purposes:


The final report will be published in conjunction with eLib. Reports should be delivered in an appropriate electronic format, to be agreed with UKOLN. Proposers should be prepared to assign publication rights (including electronic) for the study to JISC, or its nominee.


Proposals should be submitted by midday on Friday, 30 October 1998. Four hard copies of the proposal should be sent to Sally Criddle at UKOLN.

The draft report will be required by 30 April 1999.


Queries should be directed to Sally Criddle at UKOLN.

Information about eLib supporting studies is available at <URL:>