3/01 - CeBIT 2001 -The problem of traditional document delivery
The traditional system of document delivery involved lending out the book in question or photocopying the requested publication and sending this by post or fax. Delivering documents by post is a slow and expensive solution but if originals contain photos or graphics, fax transmissions are not a viable alternative. The thin rice paper used in many journals means the back of the original is visible on the copy. And many copiers are not designed to handle thicker books. Older books and journals, in particular, may be damaged by frequent photocopying.
In traditional document delivery systems requests have to be registered, processed and implemented entirely by hand, a labour- and time-intensive process. The associated lack of any management information system means it is impossible to keep track of how many customers are requesting which magazines.
Poor operating conditions are another problem. Copying page after page from a book or journal is a strenuous business. Books and journals are normally copied by putting them on the original plate of the copier and to save time, the copier’s top cover remains open. Trained staff can produce 35-40 copies a minute but since, effectively, all the work is done standing up, there is a limit to how long staff can keep up this pace.
Last but not least, as universities are forced to cover more of their expenditure from their own resources, document delivery services can be an important source of revenue – but only if the service is efficient and fast, and the quality of the documents delivered satisfies customer expectations.
The Minolta-KN solution
Minolta’s all-in solution for document delivery services features the high-end PS7000 book scanner and a sophisticated system software developed by Minolta’s Dutch distributor, KN. This comprehensive solution was originally developed for Delft University of Technology Library from 1995-97 and has since been applied at libraries as far afield as Cadiz in Spain, Zürich in Switzerland and Trondheim in Norway. Known as DocUTrans, this software turns the PS7000 book scanner into a highly automated system for producing and distributing electronic copies of publications.
Requests received by phone, fax, post or e-mail are input into a central computer. If request details are received via a library’s website, the information is transferred onto a standard form. The system then generates a barcode job ticket containing all the necessary information on the document request. The requested publication is then collected for scanning. The barcode on the job ticket is run across a specially developed barcode reader to activate the system and the requested pages are scanned at a PS7000 workplace. The system automatically knows the requested form of delivery – e-mail-attached PDF, TIF or JPEG file, fax or printout for postal delivery – and ensures the documents are sent out as requested. Nowadays, a high proportion of document delivery involves sending out the documents as e-mail attachments. If, however, traditional printouts are still required, a DiALTA digital monochrome copier-printer from Minolta can be used as an output device for the PS7000 to ensure crisp, clear text and high-resolution graphics.
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