Interlibrary loan practitioners are always asking for recommendations on good scanners to use with Ariel and Odyssey for electronic article delivery.We would like to share our positive experience with the overhead Bookeye II scanner with its accompanying BSCAN software.In April of 2010, as the 3 year lease agreement for a Minolta PS-5000C overhead scanner was coming to an end at the University of St.Thomas Library in St.Paul, MN, we were at a decision point.Should we continue to lease this scanner, pay the purchase buyout price, or look for another solution?
Even though we wanted to love the scanner we had, we always thought it should yield a better quality product than we were getting for the price we were paying.We were frustrated with wavy lines of text because of inadequate page curve correction.We spent a considerable amount of time editing out the fingers we had to use to hold the book relatively flat.Additionally, the scanner had a nasty habit of shifting its idea of where the center margin should be on a 2 page spread, causing many annoying rescans.
After a casual mention of our dream scanner to a member of our Library Management Team (LMT), we were asked to present a proposal showing how the purchase of the Bookeye II Scanner and BSCAN software would benefit the ILL department.A fortunate bit of “budget dust,” and the unwavering support of LMT who wanted to make sure we had the tools to do our jobs efficiently, combined in the surprise approval of this purchase.
The scanner’s arrival on campus caused something of a ruckus.It came in a huge wooden box with dire warnings not to tip it.We invited staff from the physical plant to help us un-crate the scanner and get it set up on its table.Our IT staff person had the much easier job of installing the scanner and software on the computer, with phone/ WebEx support from the vendor, Digital Library Systems Group (DLSG), headquartered in Florida.Our initial training in the use of the scanner and software was done with the same phone/WebEx setup with DLSG.One of our student assistants wrote up detailed instructions that we now use in training our new student workers.
The BSCAN software automates many of the steps of scanning, sending, and updating of the lending article requests that we fill.First, it can read the pick slip, and choose the correct method of transmission, grabbing needed ILL and transaction numbers for OCLC and ILLiad.It can also read and enter Ariel, Odyssey, and email addresses, and patron names.After we scan the article, the software can automatically de-skew crooked pages, correct for book curvature, and clean up the margins, so there are no black borders and fingers in the scan.It scans two pages at a time, but separates the one scan into two images.Additionally, by means of ILLiad’s Odyssey Helper, BSCAN can update the requests in ILLiad/OCLC to “shipped,” as it sends the article via Ariel, Odyssey, or email.
We have been very pleased with this scanner and software, both with the quality of the scans and with the workflow efficiencies it offers.Support for the product by the vendor has also been very satisfactory.One thing that the ILL supervisors have noticed is that we no longer need to help out with the scanning in order to keep up with the work load.We definitely attribute part of that to the efficiency of the new scanner, while also realizing that we are filling a larger number of journal article requests from full-text online databases when our licenses allow.
-Faith Bonitz, University of St. Thomas Libraries, Interlibrary Loan Coordinator