Library launches ‘Scan and Deliver’ service

A new service expected by library administrators to soon become “indispensable” to the research process allows researchers to request materials and receive scanned copies by email.

Through the new Scan and Deliver service announced Tuesday, library staff will scan materials requested on Orbis and email them within two days. Sixty-three people used the service on Tuesday, with requests ranging from Time Magazine and Newsweek articles to excerpts from the books “Culture and Politics in Early Stuart England” and “Dictionary of the Middle Ages.” Library administrators said they expect the service to dramatically change the way research is conducted at the University by giving researchers remote access to scanned material.

“Our goal is to really take away a lot of the burden of the tedious process of locating materials, retrieving them and scanning them yourself,” said Tom Bruno, associate director for resource sharing and reserves at Sterling Memorial Library.

Requests are usually limited to one chapter of a book or one journal article, due to copyright restrictions. The system currently includes the catalogs from Sterling, Bass Library, the Medical Library and the Law Library, and it will expand on Oct. 1 to include items held in the Library Shelving Facility. Library administrators also plan to incorporate materials held in the Music, Math and Geology & Geophysics libraries.

The program is an extension of similar services that have been available at the Medical Library and the Law Library for several years. Brad Warren, director of access services for the Sterling Memorial Library and Bass Library, said he expects to see around 30,000 requests over the first year, based on data from University-wide Scan and Deliver programs at Harvard University and the University of Chicago.

Staff library staff already involved with scanning will absorb the workload, Warren said, but the Library may hire additional staff depending on the volume of requests.

Bruno, who was previously involved with the Harvard Scan and Deliver program, noted that Harvard’s program transitioned from being “a novelty to almost an indispensable part of the research process in an astonishingly quick amount of time,” adding that he expects Yale’s Scan and Deliver system to have similar popularity.

Unlike the services at Harvard and the University of Chicago, Yale’s Scan and Deliver program will also allow alumni, who have purchased borrowing privileges, to use the service.

Brian Valencia, a graduate fellow who taught the course “Music in the Theater” last spring, said the service provides a convenient alternative to “incredibly bulky and wieldy and expensive” course packets. He added that the Scan and Deliver service offers the opportunity to use more contemporary resources in the classroom.

“I can’t tell you the number of hours I’ve spent over a Xerox machine finding the book, copying the book, collating the pages, and then distributing in hardcopy or going through the onerous processing of uploading to Classesv2,” he said.

Of eight students interviewed, all said they believe the program will be helpful and that they foresee using Scan and Deliver in the future. Abigail Johnson ’15 said the service will help lighten students’ loads, since “people don’t always want to carry around 5,000 books.” She added that she wants to use Scan and Deliver during shopping periods, so she can keep up with course reading without purchasing the required texts.

Kia Quinlin ’16 said she appreciates the new service because it allows her to access the library’s resources from anywhere.

“When winter comes along and there’s snow on the ground, I don’t plan on walking anywhere ever, so I think I’ll be using [Scan and Deliver] a lot,” said Kia Quinlin ’16.

Eric Li ’13 also said the program will make it less likely that students will damage or lose materials.

But Li and Johnson added that the program does not replace the need for visiting the library, since it is only helpful when students already know exactly what materials they need.

“I like flipping through the books to look for information, when I don’t necessarily know what two pages I want to have,” Johnson said.

Correction: Sept. 18

A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the Geology & Geophysics Library as the Forestry Library.

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