In the 1990s, when the Ouachita Parish Public Library (OPPL) in north Louisiana began setting up public computing stations using grants provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the staff quickly noticed an expensive problem.
“We would literally go through reams of paper on a daily basis,” recalls Eileen R. Kontrovitz, head of the IT department for OPPL. “People would just hit that print button, not understanding how Internet printing works, and instead of getting the one page they wanted, they’d print out 50 pages…. We just knew we couldn’t afford to throw that much paper away.”
It was a common issue. Waste was expensive, especially for libraries that wanted to offer printing for free, and if a library charged patrons in an effort to limit waste or recoup expenses, staff could end up handling dozens of tiny financial transactions every day.
With a background in university libraries, Kontrovitz was familiar with the emerging field of print management software, which solved both problems—letting patrons know how many pages are about to be sent to a printer and employing stored value cards, coin vending, or other solutions to streamline those financial transactions.
The field has evolved considerably during the past two decades, with several vendors now offering solutions, often as one component of broader integrated revenue management or self-service software suites. Each has its own strengths.
For example, Kontrovitz says that she initially selected print management software developed by ITC Systems in Toronto because it was one of the only systems that could work with the Citrix-based server environment that supported the computer terminals at OPPL’s six branches at the time. When Megan Newell and Mike Browne left ITC to found iTeam Resources in Orlando in 2001, Ouachita’s business went with them, and OPPL has used iTeam’s PrintQuest software ever since.
The library has since grown to ten branches and has transitioned from PC computing to a thin client server environment using a mix of Citrix and Windows Terminal Services.
“It was really an easy transition for us, because the software was so stable,” Kontrovitz says.
Source:the digital shift
By July 16, 2012on