Final lecture in "Publishing, Knowledge Institutions, and Society: E-Revolutions?" course.
WHERES THE MONEY?Dorothea Salo
How does humanity fund culture? Popular publishing: crowdfunding Library/archive crowdsourcing Scholarly publishing Library as publisher
FIRST... SOMETHING WEVE LEARNED Money (especially post-creation sales) is an absolutely
TERRIBLE proxy for cultural value. Just wretched.We saw that with monographs (undervalued), serials (many
overvalued), news (undervalued and getting worse)...
At this historical moment... were relying on will sell = good much more than we probably should be.
But its such an easy heuristic to use that its critically hard to walk away from. Including in librarianship.The Open Web vs. The Library, anyone?
I think we have to figure out how, though. You may disagree.
TAKE A MOMENT... You want to make your living writing popular fiction.
What are your options? You want to make a documentary, but you dont have the
money. What are your options? You want to start a community choir. What are your
expenses, and what are your options? You want to build an archive and mini-museum for a local
celebrity. How do you keep it afloat financially?
YOU WILL FACE THESE QUESTIONS,AND OTHERS LIKE THEM.
WE DONT GET TO SKATE ANY MORE,IF WE EVER DID.
And we owe it to the people whose stuff we work withto consider these questions on their behalf as well!
OPTION: SELL SOMETHING The most obvious one, right? ... right?
At this moment in time, yes... but it has not always been so. Hold that thought!
The what changes as technologies do.Late 19th/early 20th c.: sheet music was a big seller!Then along came the phonograph...... and after that various other generations of recording and
playback devices...... and now the Internet. Yes, people buy mp3s!
Weve spent most of the course talking about how this plays out for various text-based artifacts.
RELATED OPTION: SELL SOMETHING ON THE SIDE
Advertising, anyone?!Its not what journalism is for exactly, but its a saleable thing that has
allowed journalism that wouldnt otherwise pay for itself to be done at all.
Comic books ran on this in the 1980s.The variant-cover thing was absolutely a bubble, but the point remains.
Ive seen a pretty convincing argument that a LOT of trade/popular nonfiction exists to advertise its authors for lucrative speaking engagements.
OPTION: SELL AN EVENT
Music, post-Napster: theyll make money touring.Well. Maybe. Harsh life, though.
How movie theatres stay in business?
OPTION: SOLICIT DONATIONSOR INVESTORS
The public-radio, public-television modelWhich is starting to emerge in indie form, e.g. Patreon, Gittip
The stock market! (Going public)Which brings its own set of constraints and issues, e.g. short-
term thinking, heavy reporting responsibilities, problematic governance structures, ethics failures, looty management
Part of what killed major newspapers? Homogenized broadcast media? Homogenizing publishing?
OPTION: COLLECTIVE CULTURE We dont just consume culture; we make it, too! And this doesnt have to cost a lot; in fact, its historically been
self-supporting to an extent.Think about all those music scenes in movies set in the Regency era. There
was a reason music and art were considered accomplishments for ladies!Craft (of many kinds), storytelling, visual art, dance, ritual, poetry slams...Digitally: fanfic/fan art, supercuts, .gifs, blogging, Twitter fiction, etc.
Libraryish things, too. Little Free Libraries? The Occupy libraries?But do libraries proper support collective culture? How? What about
archives?And I dont need to say anything else about the current copyright regimes
opinion of collective culture, do I?
OPTION: PATRONAGE Rich people or organizations fund culture, for an audience
of those like them, or for othersClassic (heh) example: Western European art musicLibrary example: Andrew Carnegie!
Governments, churches, individual philanthropists...Newspapers: classically family-owned in the US!
Always assume theres an agenda!And the agenda affects the culture produced.True in libraries and archives too. Like Wikipedia, we are not and
have never been politically or socially neutral organizations!Supposedly charitable or progressive agendas can hide a lot
of condescension, misunderstanding, and oppression.
Tell a man what he may not sing, and he is still half free; even all free, if he never wanted to sing it. But tell him what he must sing, take up his time with it so that his true voice cannot sound even in secretthere, I have seen, is slavery.
Mary Renault, The Praise Singer (Take a moment: examples?)
GOVERNMENT PATRONAGE: RELYING ON THE TAXPAYER
How a lot of libraries and archives survive! One of the only remaining ways to achieve ongoing support if youre not selling things.Though crowdfunding may gradually be changing this...
Salutary for us to ask ourselves what does it mean to be a civic institution?
But also has its issues (e.g. community standards) and conflicts (law vs. ethics)
BIG QUESTION FOR LIBRARIES:
DO WE OFFER PATRONAGE TOO?SHOULD WE? IN WHAT FORMS?
LIBRARY PATRONAGE WEVE SEEN Author talks (yes, really! think about it; its usually
indirect support, but it counts) Open access
Support here usually in-kind, but occasionally straight-up $$$. If you ask me, I think that balance needs to tilt quite a bit more in favor of straight-up $$$.
Open textbooks/OER Library-as-publisher/self-publishing support Supporting community organizations in publishing and
SOMETHING TO NOTICE:WHERE MONEY FOR PATRONAGE COMES FROM
Its almost NEVER the collections/acquisitions budget.Events/programs, IT, gift funds, whatever.But ask a collection developer for money for the cultural commons
and hear talk to the hand.
What is this? Billions of dollars for Big Deals, not one cent for open access?Well, yes. Lots of reasons. One is that our patrons are selfish, also
stuck in library-as-wallet thinking. Scary and hard to budge them!Another is that for all the talk of change, the library that dies with
the biggest collection STILL wins.
Go ye forth into the library world and FIX THIS, please.Leslie Chan: 1% solution
OPTION: GRANTS FROM PHILANTHROPIC ORGANIZATIONS
Extending patronage beyond the grave Or a governance mechanism for those with money
uninterested in doing the governing themselves Notorious problems: time-finite, high-overhead,
sometimes low-accountability, sometimes too-high or misaimed accountability
THERES MORE THAN ONE WAY TO DO IT.
WHAT IS CROWDFUNDING? Asking for up-front donations from many people toward
a defined project, product, or purpose.The Internet makes this a lot easier than it used to be, especially
for individuals.Until recently, similar to grants in that its one-time-only funding.
Many crowdfunded projects involve some kind of cultural production that never could have been funded this way before!Issue brief coming; I wont stomp on it.
WHAT IS CROWDFUNDING NOT?
A magic bullet Easy money
Just keeping track of all the premiums is tough!
An automatic democratization of culture fundingIt helps, sure. The rich arent calling the whole tune!Doesnt fix that some people just plain have more disposable
income than others, and therefore have disproportionate impact on what gets funded.
COULD LIBRARIES BE CROWDFUNDED? CROWDFUND OTHER THINGS?
Maybe.A lot would depend on whether legal and policy structures permit it. I dont
have any insight on this point; I dont know libraries that have tried this!Also, theres a danger: they dont need taxes; The Crowd will fund them!
Remember, this is usually project money, not ongoing money.You cant easily fund (e.g.) permanent staff this way! Its just like cobbling
Could we use library money on crowdfunded projects?Wed have to check policy, again... but theres that cultural issue, too.Librarians think of acquisitions as things bought for their specific patron
base. Many crowdfunded projects (not all, as some produce saleable objects, but many) wind up with open results.
So, are librarians ready/willing to fund open? Under what circumstances? With what consultation with patrons?
PAYING FOR SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WITH MONEY IN THIS SYSTEM?
Individual purchasers of books and journalsScholarly-society wrinkle: society journal as membership perq
Libraries Universities themselves (distinct from their libraries) Research funders
HOW WEVE BEEN DOING IT
We buy physical things.This used to be the entirety of what we did in this system!
We lease access to electronic things. Note that theres a huge implicit subsidy of the system
here! Theres money! We, yes WE, have money! We could theoretically use this money to shift the
system. As discussed... we largely havent.
HOW CAN OA BE PAID FOR? Depends on color, to an extent. Green OA
Running repositories, institutional or disciplinary (arXiv is run by Cornell University Library, with money from many libraries). Funders can do this, too, and have (e.g. PubMed Central).
Remember the university-press trap! Depending solely on your host institution for subsidies means you die if they yank funding.
DO NOT BE AN IDIOT ABOUT COSTS. Running a repository