We’ve tried with the information on this page to describe the main cost components of a typical newspaper digitization project, as well as the different options available and how they affect costs. Figures are intended to give a ballpark indication of the likely costs of a typical project. They are by no means fixed — every project is unique and costs can vary greatly from one to the next. Prices given are in US dollars.
If you’re considering a digitization project please contact us for more detailed information.
Factors influencing digitization costs
This is not an exhaustive list, but some of the factors influencing the cost of a newspaper digitization project are as follows.
- Paper, microfilm, or born digital? In general it’s more difficult and expensive to scan from original paper than from microfilm. And of course, for “born digital” (PDF) newspapers there is no scanning cost at all. See The Process of Scanning Newspapers for more details.
- How big is the project? Typically you can expect per-page costs associated with scanning and the creation of digital objects to be lower for large, high volume projects than for smaller projects. Hosting and preservation of larger projects will of course cost more than for smaller projects however.
- Will you choose to produce digital newspaper objects with article segmentation? Article segmentation adds significantly to the per-page cost.
- Will you do any of the scanning and/or processing work in-house, or will it be outsourced?
- Will you host the completed collection yourself or outsource the hosting to us at Veridian or a third party?
Costs associated with newspaper digitization
Costs associated with a typical newspaper digitization project, assuming most services are outsourced, are as follows.
The short version
There’s a lot more information in the sections below, but the summary is as follows.
The initial cost to digitize and process a newspaper collection is likely to be in the range of $0.20 to $1.20 per page, depending on the decisions you make and the vendors you choose.
In addition to that, for a medium-sized collection of 50,000 newspaper pages you might expect an up-front cost of approximately $12,000 to buy the appropriate Veridian software license and have it customized to suit your institution.
Hosting that same medium-sized collection costs approximately $7,000 per year, or you can choose to host the collection in-house.
So to summarize the above, for a medium-sized project of 50,000 newspaper pages you might expect to need a budget of around $50,000 in year 1, with ongoing costs of approximately $7,000 per year.
Larger projects will of course cost more, and smaller projects will cost less. Please note though that the “total cost per page” is typically lower for larger collections, and can be very significantly lower for very large projects.
If scanning from microfilm expect per-page scanning costs of between $0.05 and $0.30, depending on the vendor chosen, the quality of the microfilm, and the volume of material. Costs to scan from paper are likely to be higher.
Costs for image clean-up and METS/ALTO digital objects
Creating the final digital objects from the initial scanned images is often the most costly part of the project.
To produce digital objects without article segmentation you might expect a per-page cost in the range of $0.10 to $0.50.
To produce digital objects with article segmentation you might expect a per-page cost in the range of $0.70 to $1.00.
Costs associated with the Veridian presentation platform, and hosting
There are two separate pricing models for Veridian, as follows.
- Licensed Veridian. With this option the library purchases a perpetual license to use the software, and may host their collection wherever they choose. License fees start at little more than $10,000 for projects of less than 50,000 pages, more for larger projects.
- Having purchased a license you are free to host your own collection, use Veridian hosting services, or outsource hosting to a third party. Our hosting costs depend on the size of the collection, but start from approximately $400 per month.
- SaaS Veridian. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) pricing is available if you choose to host your collection with us. With this option there is no license fee, just a one-time setup fee of $4,800. Monthly fees for SaaS start from approximately $600.
Over the course of five years the SaaS option and the licensed option (with Veridian hosting services) cost approximately the same. With the licensed option the project cost is “front loaded”, with more cost in year 1 and lower ongoing costs, while the SaaS pricing spreads the cost more evenly over multiple years.
The licensed option is slightly more flexible, as it allows the library to host their collection wherever they choose, or to move the collection to an alternative hosting platform when/if they wish.