University Library of Regensburg Equips Reading Rooms with Modern Scanning Systems

Modern scanners are increasingly used for copying

University Library of Regensburg equips reading rooms with modern scanning systems


For its students, the University Library of Regensburg has 16 zeta Comfort overhead scanners by Zeutschel which may be used for copying purposes free of charge. “The aim”, says Dr. Rafael Ball, director of the library, “is the provision of high-quality and seamless information”.

As a public service provider for research and teaching, the mission of the University Library of Regensburg is to offer a comprehensive supply of literature and information. This also includes early recognition of the technological and the corresponding social trends and designing appropriate solutions. Processing digital information by means of mobile end devices and thereby avoiding the paper-based documentation associated with it, is one such development.

“People, especially when they are young and technologically-minded, desire “seamless connectivity” to access information.” Media disruption between analogue data sources such as books and magazines and the sheer growing numbers of digital data sources must therefore be closed”, says Dr. Rafael Ball emphatically. For public sectors of libraries, this has far-reaching consequences in terms of technical equipment. “Modern scanners will be increasingly used for copying”, Dr. Rafael Ball is certain of this.

This claim is backed up by the many functional advantages. Intelligent image enhancement software delivers crisp, colour prints, something that not only applies to books or periodicals but also to all manner of printed media. “For example, accurate representation of coloured graphics or photos is increasingly essential for students of natural sciences and the same thing also applies to medicine, too”, says Dr. Rafael Ball in explanation.

Plus, there are the ecological considerations. By using overhead scanners for copying purposes, the burden on the environment is relieved as neither paper, ink or toner is necessary.

Know what it is all about
In close cooperation with the University of Regensburg, it was decided in mid-2011 to equip all the library reading rooms with state-of-the-art colour scanners.

The underlying list of requirements was both comprehensive and stringent. Not only was the scanner to be functional but its design should also integrate “acceptably” into the overall structure of the reading rooms, requiring no expensive financial outlay for structural alterations to the building.

“The Zeutschel zeta Comfort was a clear winner”, says Dr. Rafael Ball. The Zeutschel overhead scanner certainly scored points with its brilliant reproduction of colour, the high depth of field, the low noise development and intuitive operation as well as its compact and stylish design.

Under the banner of “Design is art that makes itself useful”, the scanners integrate into the ambience of the light-filled reading rooms perfectly. The lighting system used also provides a high degree of protection against glare so that no other darkening measures are necessary.

I think, therefore I scan
All 13 reading rooms in the University Library of Regensburg, including the philosophical reading room – one of the largest in Germany with 1,000 seats – have been equipped with a total of 16 zeta Comfort overhead scanners since spring 2012. Digital copies can be immediately stored on USB sticks brought along for the purpose. Responsible librarians and university technical staff were provided with training and were on hand during the initial stages to answer any questions and provide help regarding operation.

Around 10,000 students visit the reading rooms every day and from the onset they showed great interest in the offer of digitisation. “Nobody was intimated by the new technology. Of course, the fact that use is free-of-charge is an additional incentive. There has been a sharp decline in demand for the existing, but paid, copiers”, notes the library director.

Use of the scanner not only eases the financial burden on the students, it also eases the university library’s budget. The “life expectation” of books and periodicals in the open stacks area has demonstrably risen owing to the fact that print media is put under considerably less physical stress with an overhead scanner compared to use of a traditional photocopier. “Nowadays, reference books can often cost more than 200 euros. Methods that are gentle to our stock, open up considerable potential for savings”, says Dr. Rafael Ball.

Technologically up-to-date
Data storage is currently offered as a USB option but this could, in future, be expanded by a further convenient method of transfer. All zeta Comfort scanners come pre-fitted with a network connection, so that direct transfer of data via the university’s network is conceivable. This is a practical alternative for many students since everyone has a personal account when they enrol at the university with their own amount of storage space. The necessary IT and security requirements for such network integration are presently being investigated by responsible members of the university’s data centre.

The zeta Comfort scanner has a multi-level security design providing the machine with full protection against unauthorised interference and ensuring operational safety. Potential “attacks” via the operator panel are prevented by appropriate monitoring processes as well as possible attacks via infected USB sticks.

In order for software stored on a USB stick or similar mass storage system to be activated, the data stored on them needs to be read by the system and loaded into the memory of the machine. The zeta software only reads the contents directory of the mass storage system in order to be able to store files on the mass storage system. No existing files are read from there. Zeta uses Windows 7 and the existing autostart functions embedded, which could automatically read data from a mass storage system, have been deactivated.

Back up constructive productivity
In addition to backing-up data, classic operational reliability, i.e. usability, is of enormous importance since the scanners are heavily used. To keep downtimes caused by technical problems down to a minimum, a service and repair concept has been jointly developed with Zeutschel. “We have agreed a five-year “all-inclusive package” with Zeutschel which enables us to calculate running costs”, says Dr. Rafael Ball in explanation.

Should a fault occur, the machine in question will first be inspected by the university’s technical staff and solutions sought through the Zeutschel support hotline. If the fault cannot be remedied, the machine will be packed up and Zeutschel’s express service will pick it up for immediate repair.

Dr. Rafael Ball sums up the first year’s phase of operation in a positive light. “The expectations we placed on the overall scanner concept have been fulfilled. The machines are a source of great satisfaction, not merely for us as operators but also in terms of the very positive feedback we have received from the student body in the reading rooms.

This is also reflected in the increasing usage figures for the machines. We project around 2,500 scans a day are made using all the scanners. Since start of operation, the total number of scans has risen to nearly one million.

“Should new library structures arise which make installation of additional scanners appropriate, we shall not hesitate – providing we have the budget for it – to implement further machines”, says the library director, summarising his experience. He also stresses their satisfaction goes beyond the quality of the zeta Comfort product itself to also incorporate the support and constructive communication with Zeutschel themselves.

University Library of Regensburg

Founded in 1965, the University Library of Regensburg (UB Regensburg) is the largest academic library in the region with a stock of around 3.6 million books and periodicals and a growing range of scientifically relevant ebooks which currently lies at around 500,000. The UB Regensburg also has an exceptionally extensive open stacks section with approximately 1.6 million books. The library considers one of its duties is to actively take part in the transformation of the information environment, which is increasingly becoming digitised, for the benefit of university and non-university users. It is developing new user-friendly services, facilitating access to electronic media. The number of users at the Regensburg University library rose in 2012 to a record level of almost 2.8 million.