About Gannon University and The Nash Library
Founded as Cathedral College by Bishop John Mark Gannon in 1925, Gannon University maintains its heritage as a private Catholic university in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania. Co-educational since 1964, the university has an enrollment of about 4,000 students and prides itself on offering a value-centered education designed to prepare its graduates for leadership roles in their careers, society, and the church. In keeping with its Catholic identity, Gannon students are asked to embrace a promise to make healthy and responsible decisions and a commitment to showing respect for God, themselves, others, and the environment. Gannon is consistently ranked among the top 50 colleges and universities in the northern section of the United States by U.S. News & World Reports.
The Nash Library strives to provide all the resources, services and facilities to support the curricular and research needs of students and faculty. The collection includes 263,600 books, over 39,000 electronic periodicals and 391 print periodicals. In addition, the library provides computers and printers for student use.
Why BookScan Station?
“Our campus is trying to become more green,” said Kenneth Brundage, Director of The Nash Library. “They have done a lot of things, like encouraging all of us to be as paperless as possible.”
So when Brundage got a flyer about the BookScan Station, his first thought was that it would save paper. He also realized it could save students money by letting them scan for free instead of paying 10 cents per page for photocopies. Intrigued, he watched a web demonstration to find out more.
“It appeared to be just what we were looking for,” said Brundage. “It looked like it would be easy & intuitive to use, and I liked how it had the ability to save in different formats and the cropping feature,” which allows users to select only the portion of the page they want to scan. He also appreciated the fact that the scanner and its simple-touch-screen interface created a stand-alone scanning station. “We have had a normal flat bed scanner attached to one of the computers,” he said. “But it always seemed to take awhile for students to figure out how to use it and the staff would have to help. Or, because it wasn’t a dedicated computer, a student would sit down and start to work on a lengthy Word document, which would tie up the scanner.”
Brundage considered other options, but decided to try the BookScan Station. “Our photocopiers are managed by a third party company, and I did ask them if they had any kind of product or all-in-one that would provide scanning capabilities. They did, and in the long run, it probably would not have cost me anything. They could just swap out one of the copiers. But it didn’t appear to have all the functionality that the BookScan Station has.” Besides, he added, his staff already spends a lot of time showing people how to use the copy machines just to make photocopies. He figured adding a scanning function would increase the need to hold people’s hands.
Ultimately, he said, “I really wasn’t interested in this for revenue,” and students would most likely have been charged to scan on the copiers. “What I wanted was to encourage them to be paperless and to save them money,” said Brundage. “I was pretty sure if we went with the BookScan Station and kept it free to scan, students would choose the greener option.”
In October 2010, Nash installed a BookScan Station in the main lobby, right outside one of the library computer labs. “We just got one BookScan Station, with the idea that we would see how it goes, then determine whether other places on campus may want to deploy them,” said Brundage.
Saving Time, Money and Trees
Despite what Brundage calls “a very soft opening”—and an announcement on the library’s Facebook page and a few signs by the photocopy machines that students can ‘save a tree and save a few cents’ by trying the scanner – BookScan Station quickly saw heavy use.
In the first six months, library patrons have scanned almost 13,000 pages to digital PDF, Word or graphics files. Reviewing the unit’s logs, Brundage said the scans are “slightly more skewed toward USB because of the size limit of 5 MB for e-mail, which some students butt up against, but it’s a pretty even split. They are also using the color functionality quite a bit.”
Overall, the unit is doing exactly what Brundage hoped. It’s saving the staff time; it’s saving students money; and it’s saving trees by reducing paper use on campus.
“I would say it’s pretty much played out exactly the way we hoped,” he said. “One, it is so intuitive that students don’t need our staff to do any kind of training or hand holding at all. We say, ‘there’s a scanner over there’ and they go to town and do what they need to do.” Secondly, “if you look at 10 cents per page for black & white copies – more for color – and factor that by 13,000, you are really saving students an awful lot of money.” And, while some students are taking their scans on USB to the library printers, Brundage is convinced that the BookScan Station is helping the campus go greener.
“Students are getting more judicious about when they need a hard copy,” he said. “The biggest thing is that now they have another option where they didn’t before. Certainly, the cost savings is big for them. But I do think students today want to be more environmentally conscious and if you give them options, they will choose the greener option.”
In addition to meeting the library’s primary goals, the BookScan Station has other features that have added value. A good example is the patented beveled edge on the scanning bed that protects the spine of the book from damage and eliminates the black ‘gutter’ and distorted image created by trying to press a book flat on a traditional copier or scanner.
The book edge “makes a huge difference for students trying to make copies out of our bound journals, given how tight the binders have to cut the pages,” said Brundage. “None of our copiers have a book edge, so they’ve always had to just smash it down as tight as they can. I haven’t assessed it exhaustively, but I can only think that is going to preserve our materials.”
In addition, the over-sized scanning bed has been popular with students. “All our photocopiers have 8.5” x 11” paper, so they are limited that way if they use the copiers,” he said. “The BookScan Station has a nice large scanner bed, so they can scan material full size, then manipulate it and do whatever they want once they have the image.”
Finally, Brundage believes the BookScan Station may help The Nash Library staff with in-house projects. “We are just in the planning stages of trying to launch a major initiative to digitize materials in our archives and special collections,” he said. “With such an easy and intuitive way to do it, (the BookScan Station) could speed up production, especially if we have student workers.”
Recently, Brundage learned that the BookScan Station can be configured to also scan to Google Docs, and the library plans to have that feature enabled by the time students return to campus in the fall. Along with the built-in optical character recognition technology that allows scanned documents to be searched and edited, the Google Docs option will make the system even more useful. “More and more students are using Google Docs to save their stuff on the cloud,” he said.
In the longer term, said Brundage, “I do hope that, as more & more students use (the BookScan Station) and more scan stations are deployed over campus, that we really will see even bigger benefits from a green standpoint, and that we will be consuming less paper. I don’t think we’re at a point where we are anywhere near paperless, but it’s one more nudge in that direction.”
“If you want to give your students the option to scan with plenty of functions; something that’s easy to use and ready to use right out of the box, you really can’t go wrong with (The BookScan Station). The best complement I can pay it is that I really have to pay very little attention to it. It’s never had an out of order sign hanging on it, which I can’t say about our copiers or printers. It works exactly as advertised.”
Direction, The Nash Library