Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national public research university with over 70,000 students on three campuses in New Brunswick/Piscataway, Newark, and Camden. With 11 different libraries as well as an extensive a digital library, Rutgers University Libraries rank among the nation’s top research library systems, and is open to the general public as well as to members of the university community.
Founded in 1766, the University has amassed an exceptional collection of materials from every discipline. The Sinclair New Jersey Collection houses 67,000 monographs, pamphlets, periodical and serials on the history of New Jersey. The East Asian Collection has more than 150,000 volumes, in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, including some rare block-printed books. From medical journals to musical scores; genealogical resources to classical Greek texts, Rutgers University boasts that their libraries are “the place to go when you need to know.
Why BookScan Station?
Rutgers University regularly surveys library users, and students kept saying the same thing. “They want to be able to take their research and put it on their laptops,” said Darryl Voorhees, library supervisor of imaging services. “A lot of what they’re researching is already digital with on-line resources. So when they mix that with photocopies it’s just not as convenient for them.” So Voorhees started looking at different scanning technologies. When he found BookScan Station (www.bookscanstation.com), he stopped looking and ordered five units, sight unseen.
“We wanted a scanner that would be easy to use for a user and also accessible as far as price point. This seemed to be roughly equivalent to the cost of a copier so it seemed to be a viable alternative. I also liked that the scanners had a book edge, which is something we’ve been asking for on our photocopiers for a long time. They look like scanners people are familiar with instead of the planetary or overhead types, which can be intimidating pieces of equipment. And the touchscreen is very intuitive to work with. It’s exactly what we wanted.”
Perhaps most important, however, was iVina’s willingness to work with Rutgers to integrate BookScan Station into the existing coin and card system the university uses for photocopiers and printers. That meant using Jamex card readers for the first time. It also meant adding an LDAP authentication system to the software. The result was a custom dual portal that allows the library to set different options for students and for walk-in guests. “The consensus was that the scanning service for students should be free of charge, but for people who aren’t affiliated, we thought it would be fair to charge. So we charge 10 cents per scan for guest users.”
The five BookScan Stations arrived in March 2010. They were not fully introduced until the beginning of Fall Semester, but by then the system at Alexander Library – the University’s flagship library on the New Brunswick campus – had already registered almost 30,000 scans. The other four units were installed at the Art Library in New Brunswick; the Library of Science and Medicine in Piscataway; the Kilmer (Business) Library in Piscataway; and Dana Library, the main library on the Newark campus.
Each library has different needs and different types of users, said Voorheese, but he has received good feedback from all locations. The most heavily used BookScan Station is at Alexander, where students often stand in line. Patrons of the Art Library appreciate being able to scan at higher resolutions for a high-quality digital copy of the library’s many non-circulating art folios. And at the Library of Science and Medicine, patrons are pleased to be able to scan a high resolution color image of medical diagrams and copy charts that can easily be inserted into a paper or presentation.
Currently, students are primarily scanning to USB drives, but that may soon change. Rutgers University is one of a pioneering group of universities testing Google Applications for Educational Environments. This year, about 500 to 1,000 Rutgers students are participating in the test phase, but the university expects to roll out Google Apps for Education in the Fall of 2011. And when they do, the BookScan Station can seamlessly integrate, scanning to Google Docs.
“Student e-mail accounts are going to be hosted by Google, and that’s going to be tied into other Rutgers services, so the scanners will now fold neatly into that,” said Voorheese. “Whatever they scan to the library will going to go to their g-mail account. They’ll have a remote storage option of something like 7 gigs – plenty of space – for however long they want. Students are going to be able to highlight a chart or something they want to quote and drop it into their paper.” And with BookScan Stations character recognition software, Voorheese says the integration with Google has the potential to transform the way students do research, take notes, and use the library.
Voorheese foresees adding more BookScan Stations in the future, including another unit at Alexander, to alleviate the lines. In addition, he would like to place one near Special Collections at Alexander. “We’ve got a lot of rare books there – New Jersey historical material and Revolutionary War material. Things we have to be very particular about preserving,” he said. The BookScan Station’s beveled edge allows the page being scanned to lie flat while the rest of the book hangs over, protecting the delicate spine. He has also been recommending the BookScan Station to other librarians at Rutgers and beyond. “I can see this eventually being a new type of photocopier,” he said. “The fact that it’s free for students might encourage them to use older materials more now.”
“Rutgers is going to be rolling out Google Apps for education. Student e-mail accounts are going to be hosted by Google, and that’s going to be tied into other Rutgers services, so the (BookScan Stations) will now fold neatly into that. I can see this eventually being a new type of photo copier. The fact that it’s free for students might encourage them to use older materials more now.”
Darryl Voorhees, library supervisor of imaging services, Rutgers University