About New England School of Law
Located in downtown Boston, New England School of Law was founded in 1908 as the only law school exclusively for the education of women. Co-educational since 1938, it is a founding member of the Consortium for Innovative Legal Education, which allows students learn about foreign law while studying abroad. With just over 1,000 students and 157 faculty, this private, independent law school emphasizes extensive practical preparation in legal writing and clinical work, and a strong foundation in ethics.
The Law Library is home to over 320,000 bound volumes, including both works on legal topics of interest and general interdisciplinary material. It also offers students access to all standard legal research and reference materials, including Federal Statutes and Regulations as well as a Massachusetts Collection containing all basic Massachusetts practice materials, laws and statutes, and court reports. All of the reference librarians possess a J.D., MLS, or both.
Why BookScan Station?
The law library has extensive access to digital materials, but wanted a scanner to allow patrons to convert traditional resources into digital formats.
“We’ve been kind of watching the technology,” said Anne Acton, Director of the Law Library. “The New England Law Library consortium we belong to was looking at an overhead scanner, but it was $20,000 and I just can’t afford something like that.” Then she saw the BookScan Station at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston in January 2010.
“When I saw how easy it was to use, and how affordable, I came back and budgeted for it. My IT staff was initially nervous. They though they were going to get a million and one questions and have to deal with formatting issues. They were thinking ‘Oh no! OCR software!’ But we got it last summer and we haven’t had any problems.”
In fact, she said, in a recent focus group survey, asking what students like best about the library, “the BookScan Station was one of the things that came up. So students love it.” Best of all, said Acton, “it’s easy for the public to use. Our printers and photocopiers all have ongoing problems. We have to load paper or change the toner. This – nothing. It’s the one piece of equipment that works.”
With their legal training, librarians at New England School of Law are particularly aware of copyright issues, and have signs posted near all their copiers reminding patrons to abide by copyright restrictions. BookScan Station’s step-by-step touch screen process includes a copyright agreement that patrons must accept before scanning.
“I like the fact that the agreement is built right into the software,” said Acton. “It puts the onus on the user to comply.”
Acton’s main goal in purchasing the BookScan Station was to get scanning capability for students. But she’s found the unit is as popular with staff as well.
“We did have some scanning capability for library staff via a multi-functional copier in the administration area,” she said. “But the BookScan Station is so easy to use that my inter-library loan staff uses it more than the equipment we have in the staff area. I didn’t expect that.”
In addition, students have been using the scanners in unexpected ways. Originally, said Acton, she expected them to scan books and reference materials for their own use. But students are also using the BookScan Station to copy their outlines and notes and class materials and e-mail them to the members of their study groups.
“Law students tend to study in groups, so that facility to share has been great for them,” said Acton. Recently, she learned that the BookScan Station can be configured to scan directly to Google Docs, and she plans to have that feature installed. “It’s another avenue of sharing that the students might like.”
“I like (BookScan Station) because what it does, it does well. It hasn’t got a lot of features that confuse people and make them go to the IT desk for help.”
Anne M. Acton
Director of the Law Library & Professor of Law
New England School of Law, Boston