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My message somehow didn't make it on this list.  So I'm sending it again
(with some edits).

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A couple years ago the NASA Headquarters Library was directed to
consider becoming a virtual library.   We worked with vendors to try to
get the best
deals, but found that:

-Most of the books in the collection were not available in digital
collections because they were government publications, scientific &
-technical, or were out-of-print (yet still frequently used). 
-Agency management was oblivious of the copyright cost of scanning the
collection.
-The books that were online cost more than print editions and would
likely have to be repurchased every few years as the technology changes
(just as the book-on-tape collection was being replaced by book-on-cd).
-Many of the journals were not online, including some of those most
important to the patrons.
-Those journals that were online, were not complete online.
-The cost of purchasing the journals online for 1000 users greatly
exceeded the cost saved from reducing space and staffing.
-The cost of purchasing databases for 1000 users was also several times
the current budget.
 

I should probably note that there were two motives to this effort. One
was to save money. The other was to reduce the library space by 75% to
make room for a tiny NASA museum (a few blocks from the Air & Space
Museum).  We were also supposed to consider the huge increase in
patronage (in the future smaller space) due to all the school children
that would come to the new tiny museum (instead of the Air & Space
Museum) and would want to physically visit what would then be a "virtual
library".  



 
Andrew Pedrick