Monday, June 29, 2009

Non-print equipment & services: Telefacsimile

  • Oldest office automation technology (1800’s)
  • mid 1960’s Carterfone court decision, no longer illegal to connect equipment not owned by telephone company to phone system
  • Fax appeared in 1842, four years after Morse Code
  • Fax is used for document delivery/interlibrary loan, especially with acquisition requirements and periodicals. This speeds up the process in receiving articles. The machine has a built-in scanner to scan information. There should be library policies regarding who is able to use the machine, and whether there will be fees. Faxing takes longer, which added to its unpopularity.
  • 1980: Group 3 fax standard set by Consultative Committee for International Telephone and Telegraphy (CCITT ) now International Telecommunications Union-Telecommunications Standard Sector (ITU-T), an advisory organization that is part of the United Nations
  • Group 3 is the current standard, all fax machines currently on the market are Group 3 compatible
  • Group 1 and 2 are both now obsolete; it would take 6 and 3 minutes respectively to fax a page, whereas the Group 3 standard is 1 minute
  • 1984 Group 4 fax standard set
  • Applies only to fax machines that operate over digital phone lines
  • For co-operations, some interface with computer or phone. Depending on the speed of the machine, a page takes 30-40 seconds to transmit.
  • A document suitable for faxing may be either paper or electronic
  • If paper, a scanner needed to convert document to digital form. The scanner is built into the fax for the electronic signal to be sent over the lines. If the electronic form is on a computer, a fax can be sent via that. It should be noted that the use of a fax machine has not been replaced.

Basic fax features
When purchasing a fax machine, some features to consider are:

  • automatic step-down
    If a fax is stopped, the machine slows down and connects again.
  • automatic send and receive
    This allows the machine to operate without supervision.
  • delayed dialing
    Automatic redialing can be programmed for later in the day, or programmed to send a fax at a later time.
  • one-touch dialing
  • coded dialing
    These two features are similar to speed dialing.
  • automatic re-dial
    Use this feature if unable to send a fax.
  • document feeder
    Allows document to feed through sequentially
  • management reports
    Reports details of faxes sent and received.
  • memory
    Stores images to send or receive at a later time.
  • broadcasting
    Saves time by sending faxes to more than one number at a time.

Types of fax machines

  • Thermal paper (disappearing from market)
    This was the earliest machine back in the 1980s. They were virtually indestructible with paper coated with heat reacting chemicals. There was no need for ink. The image, however, would disappear over time, or with heat exposure. The machine would be accompanied by a telephone receiver.
  • Thermal film
    Uses page width film ribbon, thermal in roll.
  • Inkjet
    Similar to an inkjet printer.
  • Laser
    Common in combination, has most archival potential
    Variety of configurations
    o Stand alone
    o Combination


  • Dry process photocopying invented 1938 (xerography)
  • 1st Xerox copier 1959
  • Xerox patents in force until mid-1970s
  • 1960s liquid toner copiers inferior to Xerox but cheaper. Competition was available after mid-1970s.

Most combination photocopiers are now in use. Anything a photocopier can do, the internet and/or printer can do just as well. Photocopiers are still largely used in libraries, all using the dry process.

Selected features
It should be noted that photocopiers are not usually sold for public use.

  • automatic document feeder
  • recirculating document feeder
    creates double sided documents
  • bypassfeeds in a single page
  • duplex
    automatically copies and prints double-sided
  • enlargement/reduction
  • exposure control
    accounts for colour pages, photo light, differences
  • sorter
    Trays sorting individual copies.
  • finisher
    Staples and/or hole punches documents

Be aware of a photocopier’s durability. Predict how much use it will receive. Have a basic machine for public use - this will see less problems. Have visual instructions to make it fool and idiot proof. Some libraries have machines with coin boxes for use – but this costs extra.

Classes of copiers

  • Personal copiers (Occasional use)
    o up to 750 copies per month
    o 8-10 copies per minute
  • Low volume
    o 2,000-20,000 copies per month
    o less than 20 copies per minute
  • Medium volume
    o 20,000-50,000 copies per month
    o 20-50 copies per minute
  • High volume
    o 50,000-150,000+per month
    o 50-120 copies per minute
    As a rule, the larger the institute, the higher the volume copier purchased.

Choice factors

  • Machine reliability
  • Dependability of vendor service
  • Volume of copying
  • Special features required
  • Special features useful enough to be worth the cost
  • Durability
  • Buttons
  • What will the copier be primarily used for?
  • Will the features be worth the money?

Rent, lease, purchase, copy service
o no long term investment or financial commitment
o full service responsibility on vendor
o machine may not be new
o PCs and low volume not usually available
o medium volume annual or 2 year contracts with early termination policy
o like renting but locks in for longer term
o imposes penalties for early termination
o costs less than renting

Do you rent (1-2 years), lease (2+ years) or purchase a photocopier? They don’t last forever. Service can be included in rent or lease charges.
o usually only for medium and high volume
o consider only if very reliable maintenance and service and can pay it off in no more than 4 years
Copier service
o copier provided at no cost in return for proceeds or a percentage of proceeds
Institutions generally purchase machines as they receive the money made from its use.

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