I am trying to gauge potential interest that silver collectors or anyone interested in silver might have in the establishment of a digital silver reference library. My employer has an extensive collection of books (some dating back to the mid-1700s), trade/exhibition catalogues, and other material related to silver. The collection features works by notable writers such as E. A. Jones, John Culme, Arthur Grimwade, and many more. Many items are limited editions or extremely rare/unique publications. At present the collection includes some 1500-2000 titles, with the possibility of other reference collections being acquired. It is our hope to scan these materials into an online digital library and charge a small subscription fee to access the library or fee for each download. Is this something that you would be interested in seeing happen? Any suggestions?
I suspect that there would be a fairly small market for such a resource - especially if a fee were charged; I’m pretty sure it would not pay for itself.
I suspect that some of the older books may be found in the Google Books collection and that you might run into copyright issues for the more recent (and probably more useful) books.
True, the cost of scanning and obtaining copyright licenses for many of the books make this an expensive proposition, and the market for this kind of service does appear to be minimal. It may be possible to obtain some support from insitutions with a strong interest in the subject matter, i.e. Goldsmiths’ Company, V&A Museum, Birmingham and Sheffield Assay Offices.