Databases for the People

Between the Berg Fashion Library and Oxford Reference Online, we’ve had some great demos over the last two days of all that digital publishing can be.

Berg did a great job of funneling their money into creating a good product– thorough cataloging, effective search, compelling discovery layer– their fashion database is useful to students and fun to use. They sure put that Harry Potter money to good use!

New edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, that we picked up on our visit to Bloomsbury Press

And Oxford cut an interesting deal with the public libraries of Great Britain to make sure that every citizen would have access to their main reference works- the dictionary, the biography and music database.

So Oxford says this isn’t a money-making venture for them, and that makes sense given the discount they offered to the libraries.

But if you build a compelling-enough user-friendly database can you sell enough subscriptions to make it possible for researchers to make money to publish instead of paying to publish?

Inquiring minds wish to know.

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