Genus is proud to report on the installation of a book2net Spirit book scanner for self-service use at one of the leading higher education institutions in the UK and Ireland.
After evaluating a number of different public use book scanners, The McClay Library at Queen’s University Belfast have selected the Spirit Book Scanner as their digitisation system of choice.
With proven exceptional ease of use and the lowest power consumption of any book scanner in the market the book2net Spirit will help the Library in provide a dual benefit of promoting ease of access to information and reducing its carbon footprint.
The evaluation book2net Spirit was set up with the device offering walk-up capture with default output to USB memory stick, but such was the success of the trial unit and the realisation of additional benefit to staff, the decision was taken to purchase a Spirit with dual use functionality to provide a separate password controlled access area for staff that offered additional flexibility.
12 Months on from when Genus installed the book2net Spirit at the McClay Library we caught up with Deirdre Wildy, Head of Collections and Archives, to discuss the Spirit book scanner and how they have chosen to configure it.
What were your initial thoughts on the book2net Spirit book scanner and how did it perform?
The Spirit is designed as a straightforward, easy to use and non-expert machine. During the trial this was placed on Floor 1 in a public area and promoted via social networks. Users were offered free scanning to USB memory sticks. During the trial the machine performed with absolutely no problems and didn’t require any resetting by staff. It is worth noting that the scanner was not switched off during the entire time. Users were encouraged to give their comments (see Appendix) which were all positive. It is worth noting that usage was, according to staff, much higher than the number of comments would indicate. Staff have reported that verbal feedback was also universally positive and that users found the machine easy to use. We have received several verbal complaints since the removal of the scanner from the Library.
My personal thoughts, on the basis of this trial, are that the book2net scanners are robust and reliable. All of the other scanners we have looked at to date have either crashed or thrown up issues that required staff intervention. A significant factor in favour of Genus is they already have machines installed in high use institutions (British Library, National Library of Scotland etc. etc.) and were not afraid to have their machine exposed to our users. I don’t think any of the competition made such a convincing argument in terms of ease of use and robustness.
Why you decided to go for a dedicated book scanner rather than a multifunctional print/scan machine?
We wanted to have a facility which would scan materials (books) and manuscripts from Special Collections & Archives without impact on the materials themselves. A book-page scanner is perfect for fragile books. It reduces the need for SC & A staff to arrange copying etc … of materials which are not permitted to go for regular photocopying. We wanted a machine which required as little manpower support as possible.
Why you chose the Spirit rather than one of the other models on the market?
We tested a few. We don’t have to do anything with the machine – once it was configured to our requirements we haven’t bothered with it – except to use it ourselves! We have a watermark which is applied to all images captured – this is handy for anyone scanning manuscript materials especially – it means less intervention for our staff
How much use does it get?
Quite a bit, we haven’t promoted it. When the trial ended we got complaints! It’s used during non-staffed hours, prior to exams/holidays. As it’s self-service we don’t have to do anything with it, it’s switched on 24/7. The most we do is check the Mailbox to clear messages as QUB has a Mailbox size limit, this is the only house-keeping task.
What options do customers have – is it just print or scan to USB?
USB or email. Email can cause problem for a user is their email supplier imposes limits on the size of images they can receive – USB is best in this case. Images can be saved in a variety of formats including PDF.
Do you charge?
Yes, 1p per scan (which could include a double page spread). It’s cheaper than photocopying rates here.
Have you had any feedback from customers?
Yes, they like it.
The Spirit is the most appropriate machine for general public use, as it is entirely stand alone and requires no human intervention or peripherals (printers, paper, toner) to support operation. Evidence supports its Green credentials in reducing both power and paper consumption, and promoting electronic management of information.
This model is also of interest to ILL in Borrower Services as it could also be used to supply inter library loan of theses, in particular the easy and efficient production of full colour images when required.
Special Collections would certainly make good use of access to such a machine as it would enable:
- Scanning of vulnerable materials for researchers
- Prompt and easy supply of scans to satisfy queries
- Efficient scanning and upload of images to support online exhibition
Our thanks go to Deirdre Wildy and her team at McClay Library for their assistance in producing this case study.