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Publication Announcement

For Immediate Release

Special report on digital image distribution study now available

Contact: Howard Besser
E-mail: howard@sims.berkeley.edu
WWW: http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/~howard
or see http://sunsite.Berkeley.EDU/Imaging/Databases/1998mellon for the full report

Berkeley, CA, February 8, 1999

A special report examining the costs of distributing digital images to the university community has just been released. The Cost of Digital Image Distribution: The Social and Economic Implications of the Production, Distribution, and Usage of Image Data is the result of a 22-month UC Berkeley study of the Museum Educational Site Licensing Project (MESL), supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The MESL Project, sponsored by the Getty Information Institute, was the first attempt to create a collection of images and descriptive information from a variety of museums and deliver it digitally to university users of campus networks. The two-year experimental collaboration among seven museums and seven universities succeeded in distributing approximately 10,000 images for classroom use and individual research, primarily in the areas of cultural studies, art history, history, and photography.

The Cost of Digital Image Distribution identifies, defines, and explores MESL's primary cost centers in the digital network distribution of images and accompanying text. It examines the processes and costs of analog slide libraries, and compares the analog and digital distribution systems. It also considers the intangible factors that can lead to the success or failure of digital distribution schemes, such as learning curve, ease or difficulty of maintenance, and faculty attitudes towards teaching with digital images.

The findings presented in this report should be of interest to anyone contemplating image digitization or distribution, particularly to a scholarly audience. It should be of particular interest to those involved in funding and/or planning activities involving either analog or digital image distribution.

Major findings include:

The Cost of Digital Image Distribution: The Social and Economic Implications of the Production, Distribution, and Usage of Image Data

Howard Besser, Principal Investigator;  Robert Yamashita, Project Manager

A report to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation A Study of the Economics of Network Access to Visual Information: The Museum Educational Site Licensing Project
Published by the School of Information Management and Systems, U.C. Berkeley, 1998
Available online at http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/Imaging/Databases/1998mellon in both html and PDF format

Paper copies of this report may also be ordered c/o Howard Besser, School of Information Management & Systems, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California, 94720-4600, or by using this order form.