The Library is a place of superlatives–the biggest this, the first that–and now we’ve added another one to the list that will be a great benefit to patrons in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room (and off-site).
This week Mark Sweeney, chief of the Serial and Government Publications Division, along with assistant chief Teri Sierra, showed me a cool new scanner that is available for use by readers. According to book2net, the company that makes the scanner, it is the first and only one of its kind in the United States (and so far the only one here at the Library). There are others in Canada at two other locations.
The machine, originally designed for use in the reading rooms of the British Library, was manufactured in Germany. It can capture a JPEG image of an entire newspaper page (or comic book, folio, book, bound volume, etc.) in 0.3 seconds, and it needs only 1.9 seconds of cycling time to scan another page.
The scanner has a touchscreen that allows a person to view details close-up, and all it takes to scan a page is a touch of a single button. Full-color images can then be easily saved to a USB flash drive. Teri said it’s so simple that it would take only a couple of minutes to show a patron how to use it, but in my opinion, it was so intuitive that it might require only a few seconds!
The equipment also fills a gap for our off-site researchers: Upon request, staff can scan images on-site and then simply email them.
Says Teri: “It is a pretty exciting piece of equipment that will move our reading room and services to our readers into a new dimension. So far, only the staff have used it, but they are all very excited about it. I am sure once readers catch on, it will be heavily used.”
Teri also says an added benefit is that it easily captures text on creases in pages or in places where tight binding prevents traditional copying. Of course, the machine isn’t suitable for fragile or crumbling materials.
More photos are below.