Durham University Library installed its first Spirit book scanner in February 2013. With an extremely high scan count accumulated in a very short time, the Spirit is already proving to be a successful installation.
Durham University was first introduced to the Spirit at the Green Libraries Conference held at Coventry University, and then took advantage of a free on-site demonstration, where the unit was evaluated for use within the Library. We asked staff from the University Library about their reasons for choosing the Spirit and how it has enhanced their services.
Durham University Library offers a fantastic range of resources and study facilities across our four libraries in Durham City and Queen’s Campus at Stockton. The Bill Bryson Library, where our Spirit scanner is located, is the largest of our libraries and holds materials for all subjects studied at Durham. It houses the busiest IT facilities on campus, with two recently refurbished computer suites, a range of open access PC areas and full WiFi access throughout the building.
The majority of our customers are Durham University students and staff, who scan books, journals and documents for private study and educational use.
What was the nature of the scanning service (pre-Spirit)
The scanning service (pre-Spirit) included several comparatively inexpensive flatbed scanners, and a scan-to-USB facility through a single multi-functional device (MFD). The flatbed scanners are attached to desktop computers within the Library’s IT suites. These computers are not limited to scanning and were often unavailable to users during busy periods. Scan quality is high, but the scanning operation is slow and cumbersome.
Flatbed scanning is an established technical support burden: its software is not as intuitive as the Spirit scanner, and power and data cables are routinely disconnected for other purposes. The Library’s scan-to-USB facility is very popular, but not without its own technical difficulties, often related to drive formatting and its operating interface. Both facilities are conducive to book damage and not as heavily used as the Spirit scanner.
Who do you usually scan for?
We operate a scanning service for University teaching staff. Staff can specify which journal articles and book chapters they would like to be scanned for particular courses. The scans are then made available to the students enrolled on those courses. All other scanning for personal use is selfservice.
How did you come across the Spirit?
A member of staff from Durham attended the Green Libraries Conference held at Coventry University in June 2012, where the scanner was demonstrated. The fact that it uses far less energy than an equivalent photocopier, allowed us to apply successfully for funding from Durham University Carbon Ring-Fenced Budget.
What do you like about the scanner?
- It is easy to use, and easy to install.
- Users can choose between scanning to USB or to email.
- It’s less likely to damage the spines of books.
- It is very cheap to run compared to a photocopier – no paper, no toner, very little maintenance.
- Comments from students include:- “I luurv this new scanner!” and “Fantastic! Buy more of them, they’re great.”
How has the scanner enhanced your efficiency/productivity/handling of materials?
- Books are less likely to be damaged by repeated photocopying.
- Students wishing to scan from books, can do so, after accepting the limits imposed by copyright law, without occupying a PC to use a flatbed scanner.
- The book scanner averages 500 scans per day, equivalent to saving two trees’ worth of paper since it was installed 2 months ago.
- The book scanner is used twice as much as the most heavily used photocopier.
Who uses the scanner now?
It’s available on open access to all University staff and students. They are required to accept a copyright notice before scanning can start.
Has the Spirit changed the service you offer in any way?
It has allowed us to offer a no charge scanning option and helped to reduce the number of complaints about access to scanners.
If you would like to contact the University Library regarding their Spirit installation or their operations you can email them at email@example.com
Genus would like to thank Anne Farrow and Durham University Library for their commitment to this project.