Scanning the Possibilities in the Newspaper Reading Room

The new book2net scanner functionality is demonstrated by Teri Sierra, Assistant Chief of the Serial and Government Publications Division. (Library of Congress/Abby Brack photo)

The new book2net scanner functionality is demonstrated by Teri Sierra, Assistant Chief of the Serial and Government Publications Division. (Library of Congress/Abby Brack photo)

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.

Library of Congress/Abby Brack photo

Library of Congress/Abby Brack photo

Library of Congress/Abby Brack photo

Library of Congress/Abby Brack photo

Users can quickly view details of a page via a touch-screen. (Library of Congress/Abby Brack photo)

Users can quickly view details of a page via a touch-screen. (Library of Congress/Abby Brack photo)


  1. Ron Baker
    April 2, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I found your item re the new scanner in the Newspaper Reading Room very interesting.
    Could you tell me the locations of the two
    scanners in Canada? Thanks! Regards
    Ron Baker, Whitby, Ontario, Canada

  2. genniechan
    April 4, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    very innovative, thanks to the technology for making the progress to make everything so quick and easy to handle with

    April 5, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    loc will still collect microfilm holdings of New York Times?? The u.s. state departmrnt library may be discontinuing this practice…

  4. ALM
    April 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I saw something similar to this at the Boston mid-winter ALA meeting this year. This is the kind of technology that every library needs, I can only imagine the benefits that ILL staff would see by using this technology instead of what is now used, and scanning images for archives, etc. would be a dream. Amazing!

  5. Carlos Eduardo Gianetti
    April 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Very interesting. But, in my country… it’s impossible to pay”

  6. Maya
    April 7, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    As part of a class assignment, I worked in special library where I processed a collection in the archives division. A scanner of this type would be a great asset to that department.

  7. Hilary
    April 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    This is definitely interesting technology, I can see a lot of use being made of it. Along a similar note, I just got an app for my iPhone, pic2shop that actually scans barcodes and if I scan a book it will tell me what local libraries have it and all of its information. Its great to see libraries really utilizing these new technologies.

  8. Larry
    April 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Re:Ron Baker

    In Canada, the Book2Net Kiosk scanners have been placed in the following locations. University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, University of Ottawa, St. Paul University in Ottawa, Carleton University and McGill University. Most are in the Rare Books Libraries.

  9. Garde777
    April 13, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Looks fascinating. I will have to see the scanner in action next time I am up in D.C.

  10. Robb Richardson
    April 23, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    This type of device can be hooked up to a cost recovery system to help libraries fund it through a pay per scan system. This is currently the strategy at the University of Toronto.

  11. John
    May 20, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    This is great technology. Our libraries at North Carolina State University have (5) walk-up patron Bookcopy units from Zeutschel. I love using them and am so happy our Univeristy invested in such technology.

  12. Stewart
    May 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    The British Library also use the Zeutschel system

  13. D. Flowers
    July 15, 2010 at 1:07 am

    I own a newspaper in rural Montana that has been in operation for almost a century.
    I would like to digitize our “morgue”, which is large due to the fact that over those 100 years our newspaper bought about 6 other papers in the region.
    I have concerns about sending our older editions offsite to be scanned, so I would like to do this in-house.
    Being a small operation, cost is a concern.
    Does anyone out there have any suggestions on a economical scanner or other method to do this?

  14. Robb Richardson
    February 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    There is now an entry level device made by the same company using the same technology. It is designed for public libraries and access to collections that may have limited budgets. Its called the book2net “Spirit”.

  15. Yearn Choi
    March 18, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    I plan to visit Reading Room to photocopy of the Korea Times from November 1950 to December 31, 1951. I need scanner, because it is in large volume before photocoping.

    Is it possible?
    Please let me know.

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