Both the British Library and the British Museum have set up websites which allow them to licence rights to their digitised images. According to British Museum Images website: “British Museum Images is the on-line digital image website of the British Museum catering primarily for the image-buying professional”. The British Library version says much the same.
Rather then embed the sites within their institutional sites for delivering collections, providing information for visitors etc. etc Both the websites are clean, efficient and aesthetically pleasing. They are easier to navigate than the main institutional site.
I think there are two main reasons for this navigation.
1) The ‘commerical’ sites have one clear purpose rather than sometimes conflicting purposes the main sites have.
2) With a ‘commercial’ site there is a even greater imperative to have a properly usable site – poor usability damages revenue. The same pressures do not exist on the main institutional site. Perhaps they should?