Sometimes considered institutional begging [AYR 13], crowdfunding is indeed a form of crowdsourcing that calls not on the work of Internet users, but on their financial resources. In libraries, it can be used to acquire documents or to finance digitization.
On-demand digitization allows libraries to offer digital reproduction services by having Internet users support the costs, outsourcing part of the costly, thankless task of selecting documents that still deserve to be digitized and obviously completing their digitization programs. The user thus finds himself placed at the center of library policy [GST 11], whereas in the past, libraries sometimes tended to neglect them by principally focusing on their collections. The documentary policy of the digital library thereby becomes a co-construction between the librarians and the general public since the acquisition policy is from then on shared. For Internet users, on-demand digitization gives them access to a digital reproduction service. For potential patrons and investors, on-demand digitization could be the chance to finance the digitization of books that may interest such and such audience, and eventually to collect a return on investments through web traffic created by these books on the advertisement model Google Adwords.
This economic model could allow public funds, which have become more rare, to be concentrated on the digitization of documents with patrimonial, historic and scientific interest but not interesting private sector and allow private funds from individuals or patrons to finance the digitization of works interesting the general public or communities of scholars. In doing this, libraries would have a chance to better refocus on their own areas of expertise and better value the skills of curators in the patrimonial, historic and scientific domain.
On-demand digitization by crowdfunding is a new form of public subscription allowing new life to be given to a work. It is particularly well adapted to the current situation, where only leftovers still need to be digitized after large mass-digitization programs pass through.
The main difficulty of on-demand digitization projects consists of automatically evaluating the costs of document digitization. In fact, it is claimed that for these projects, a cost estimate is necessary for each demand. This estimate serves to evaluate the cost of digitization. Producing this estimate requires verifying the presence of the document, its state, its actual page count, its format and how wide it opens, all of which will determine how many pages must be digitized and the type of scanner to be used, thus the cost of digitization. Unfortunately, after the Internet user receives the estimate, he only very rarely proceeds with his demand through an order, as his desire to purchase has been surpassed and he may be surprised by the cost to be paid. At the end of the day, the time spent producing estimates costs as much as the money collected from Internet users, and in the absence of an automatic calculation for digitization costs or a subsidy through public funds, on-demand digitization projects are hardly ever viable [AND 14b].