Print Task Force Report


Table of Contents

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Executive Summary

The print task force was convened by CIO Joseph Vaughan at the request of the President's cabinet. The charge was to review questions about printing at HMC and make recommendations for changes or improvements.

The task force members were drawn from many departments across campus and were asked to take an institutional point of view when addressing the questions posed in the charge letter. The task force self organized, rotating people into the roles of facilitator, meeting convener, writer, editor etc. We found this to be a rewarding and engaging way of working.

This report sets out our recommendations, broken into key recommendations, which we believe the college should act upon as quickly as possible, and other recommendations, which are important but less pressing. This is followed by a narrative section which attempts to capture some of our discussions and provide a rationale for the recommendations.

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Key Recommendations

  1. CIS should develop a website that contains information about all of the networked printers and copiers on campus, the functionality they provide and whether or not users can have access to them. This site should be well maintained and regular reminders about its existence should be provided to users. The task force referred to this site as a “virtual print center” in discussions.
  2. The Task Force determined that there is neither need or demand for a single print center at one physical location.
  3. The task force recommends that HMC explore the possibility of contracting with a company for printer support for the whole college.
  4. We recommend a more uniform approach to printing, which would allow for better technical support, information sharing between staff about features and functionality and, potentially, lower cost to the college overall. In light of this CIS should, in close consultation with stakeholders from academic and administrative departments
    • define college standards for office personal printers.
    • define college standards for networked printers.
    • All standard printers should be capable of duplex printing and should be set to do so by default.
    • maintain an up-to-date list of standard office personal printers on the college website. The list should be revised regularly.
  5. The task force determined that the college does not need to take any special steps with respect to large format printing (plotting), as current resources can meet current demand. The college should ensure that both the Mathematics Department and the Engineering Department agree with this recommendation.
  6. The task force urges the Cabinet to reconsider its decision to mandate use of 100% recycled paper.
  7. The college should pay close attention to the CUC initiative for document management. Until it becomes clear what the service will be and how it will work, the college should not authorize purchases of document management software. And initiatives that make use of the Feith document management system should proceed with caution.
  8. In consultation with students, CIS should explore the possibility of placing an additional printer in the Platt living room, to relieve some of the pressure on the printer on the ground floor in LAC (known as “clifford”).
  9. Lack of confidence in the file storage servers (“alice” and “charlie”) are obstacles in the path toward a more paperless environment. CIS should address this issue as soon as possible.
  10. If it decides to urge people toward a more paperless environment, the college should address the fact that some employees do not have easy access to email.

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Other Recommendations

  1. The task force recommends that some educational materials be developed with a view to highlighting work habits that lead to less printing and less paper use. This will need to be an ongoing educational effort.
  2. CIS should explore, in consultation with students, the possibility of placing additional printers in the dorms. This exploration should take careful account of the additional resources needed to maintain these printers, particularly if the college does not decide to contract a vendor for printer maintenance.
  3. To reduce unintentional waste on networked printers, we recommend that CIS investigate and install some print queue management software. It is important that this be done in consultation with students (for example, via ASHMC and the LAC supervisors).
  4. CIS should occasionally review large format printing needs, and be on the look out for companies willing to provide the college with a discount.
  5. CIS should conduct a full review of its printing policies and communicate the results to the college community.
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Report

The print task force had wide ranging and productive discussions regarding all of the questions laid out in our original charge letter (Appendix 1). We met on a regular basis during late spring, summer and fall. We conducted several surveys of the campus community regarding printing issues.

For the purposes of this report, we will follow these topics through the lens of the questions from the charge letter.

1)What are the printing needs of the departments in your area or your department? Approximately how many pages are printed per month by each department within your area (if applicable)? Are there times of the year when there are bigger print jobs to be done? How big are those jobs and during which months do these bigger jobs occur? What kinds of finishing needs (sorting, stapling, binding...) are there?

The task force conducted three surveys to get a sense of printing needs across the college. The surveys, and the details of the results, are included in Appendices 2 and 3.

All respondents do single sided paper copies. 19 out of the 27 respondents have a need for double sided copies and the ability to collate. In the second Category of response 32% were interested in color and scanning capabilities and in the area of a central web based copying system it was a split decision. In the third category we have responses of 7% for the questions of staples, punch, comb punch needs large format printing, use of outside vendors, queuing, recycle, paperless pro/con, burning issues, what really works and fix what. So when one looks at the results of the two surveys the real issue was copy related matters and not large format printing. If one assumes that 11x17 is what most people assume is large format printing then there was no real issue.

The third survey was designed to better define the printing requirements and what were the copy machines and where they were. There were 9 categories and there was a 100% reply from all departments. The response to Printers shows a large amount of printers in the 10 departments. 75 black/white and 16 colors. Only 7 are capable of doing 11x17. There are 9 Canon copiers of which 8 are network capable. Seven out of the ten were willing to be part of the web based network. Two departments have large format printing capabilities and three more stated they wanted that capability. Seven departments have some sort of scanning capability. Some departments stated an interest in better color printers.

Recommendations.

CIS should develop a website that contains information about all of the networked printers and copiers on campus, the functionality they provide and whether or not users can have access to them. This site should be well maintained and regular reminders about its existence should be provided to users. The task force referred to this site as a “virtual print center” in discussions.

The Task Force determined that there is neither need or demand for a single print center at one physical location.

2) What are the large format printing needs, some of which are being met by the Engineering and Math departments? What advice do those departments have regarding the demand for this kind of printing?

The task force defined "large format" as anything larger than 11"x17", sometimes referred to as "plotting." (Note: The task force discovered no issues with respect to printing up to 11" x 17", although a centralized guide to available printers and their functionality would be useful.)

The task force discussed large format printing extensively. Although our surveys did not indicate any unmet demand, there is some anecdotal evidence about the potential for greater demand were large format printing more readily available (see emails from Prof. de Pillis and Van Rsywck in Appendix ).

Up to now, demand has been met locally by the Departments of Engineering and Mathematics as both own the type of plotters that can do large format printing. Some departments have sent large format jobs to the CUC copy center and received satisfactory service.

The Engineering department owns a HP5000 and charges $60 per job for large format printing. The Mathematics department owns a HP7500 and charges $100 per job.

Neither department determines its charges based on a full cost recovery model. In the case of Engineering, charges are sometimes waived for academic requests and for some research projects, at the discretion of the Clinic Director.

Mathematics and Engineering provided starkly different reports about the amount of labor involved in producing a large format print job. Mathematics reported that dedicated effort is required to monitor the print job and ensure quality of the output. Engineering, on the other hand, reported that they simply queue the job and leave the printer to do the work. The task force hypothesized that the best explanation for this discrepancy between the two departments is that the Mathematics department printer is much older than the one owned by Engineering.

There are seasonal "queuing" problems at certain times of the year, in particular the period leading up to presentation days and project days. The task force noted that a contributing factor to queuing issues is the last minute nature of some requests, although even perfect planning would not resolve all the queuing problems during the season of peak demand.

The task force noted that significant costs can be incurred if large format printers remain idle for an extended period, as the ink can dry up or the print heads can be damaged; both of these are expensive to replace.

We reviewed a number of options for outsourcing large format jobs, including online services.

The Honnold Copy Center is a local option, and it is already used by some departments. We also noted that Kinko's and Staples will print large format jobs. Their prices are higher than those charged by Engineering and Math, but not unreasonable. They are “quick, close and good quality.”

Engineering is definitely available for campus use, and the Copy Center is a safe choice as an outside service. Timing and preference will be key factors for choice.

The task force looked at sample large format print jobs that Kim Young had brought, one of which was printed at Honnold Copy Center and one through the online company uprinting.com. We agreed that the quality of the uprinting.com job was good, perhaps even better than the copy center job, but that Kim's experience with regard to turn around time (24 hrs for proof, 48 hrs for printing to start, then delivery times, which added up to a week) means that we should not send time-sensitive jobs to uprinting.com. Joseph Vaughan contacted the company and found them uninterested in contracting for an annual set of jobs.

Lulu.com is an on demand print service that provides on demand printing of books and other materials. They print 24'' x 36'' posters for $39.95. We did not test the Lulu.com service, although we note that its on-demand approach means that one could store posters to be printed in the future (e.g. on an annual basis).

Recommendations.

The task force agreed that if demand stays even, it can continue to be met in the ways it has been met to date. Therefore, we do not recommend any changes in the college's approach to large format printing at the moment. We recommend that the college ensure that the Dept of Engineering and the Dept of Mathematics are willing to continue providing in-house large format printing services.

In the event of increased demand, the first port of call will probably be the Copy Center, which provides good quality work at a reasonable price. We recommend that information about outsourcing for large format printing be maintained on the Virtual Print Center page. We recommend that CIS occasionally review large format printing needs, and be on the look out for companies willing to provide the college with a discount.

3) What are our needs with respect to public printing (e.g. in computer labs). There is apparently a good deal of unintentional waste. One set of observations (from Tony Hutain '08) showed 800-1,000 pages per week being wasted on one of the public printers. What can we do about this? There are a number of students who have some good ideas about managing print queues. It would be good if the task force connected with them.

The task force conducted a survey of students on two occasions. A number of suggestions and proposals came from the surveys.

Recommendations.

Another printer should be installed, possibly in the Platt living room, to relieve some of the pressure on the printer on the ground floor in LAC (known as “clifford”).

CIS should explore, in consultation with students, the possibility of placing additional printers in the dorms. This exploration should take careful account of the additional resources needed to maintain these printers, particularly if the college does not decide to contract a vendor for printer maintenance. And the task force noted the tension between the desire to move toward using less paper and the proposal to install more printers.

With regard to the unintentional waste issue, we recommend that CIS investigate and install some print queue management software. It is important that this be done in consultation with students (for example, via ASHMC and the LAC supervisors).

4) What print related services are currently provided by CIS? What are the limits and constraints on this service? What changes do you suggest?

The current CIS guidelines and expectations (“policies”) around printing are listed in Appendix 4. The task force noted that there is a lack of understanding on campus about what the current policies are and what procedures are in place to implement the policies. And there were a number of “gray areas,” for example, whether or not CIS would purchase toner for desktop printers, or the level of support that departments can expect. We recommend that CIS conduct a thorough review of policies and communicate the results of this review to the campus.

The increase in the number and variety of desktop printers (printers connected to a single computer and not visible on the network), along with unclear expectations about support, would pose a challenge for any IT organization. And, from an institutional point of view, it is unclear why printer support is provided by CIS for some departments (those in the administration) and not for others (academic departments). It is not as if the printers themselves were “academic” or “administrative,” nor even as if printing needs were really different between the two constituencies. It is also not clear that the best solution is to provide across-the-board printer support “in-house”. We recommend, therefore, that the college consider contracting with a vendor for printing support for the whole campus. There are already two such vendors (one working with CIS and one working with Engineering) that deliver service to campus.

Recommendations.

We recommend that HMC explore the possibility of contracting with a company for printer support for the whole college.

We recommend a more uniform approach to printing, which would allow for better technical support, information sharing between staff about features and functionality and, potentially, lower cost to the college overall. In light of this CIS should, in close consultation with stakeholders from academic and administrative departments

CIS should conduct a full review of its printing policies and communicate the results to the college community.

5) What are the options for a centralized printing unit on campus?

Members of the Print Task Force distributed several surveys within functional areas of the HMC community on the issue of Centralized Printing.

The two areas addressed in the surveys on Centralized Printing were

Of Interest - Several of the other Claremont colleges have Mail and Duplicating Centers that support their institution to various degrees. The overall cost of maintaining these centers is not known. HMC established a Mail Department in 2007. This department processes incoming and outgoing mail, but does not provide duplicating services.

The Duplicating Departments throughout The Claremont colleges (including Honnold Library) all vary in their lead time for processing jobs, their charges, and the services they provide. The services range from copying, collating, stapling, various types of binding, printing business cards, etc. Some of the duplicating departments accept printing jobs outside of their institution, but these jobs are processed after home campus jobs. Honnold Copy Center states that they exist to provide printing services for students, faculty, and staff of The Claremont colleges.

HMC used to have a Copy Center. It was phased out and officially disbanded in 2003 due to lack of space as well as lack of use with the onset of desktop printers and electronic commuications.

HMC Print Task Force Survey Summary on Centralized Printing

Convenience vs. Inconvenience - There was concern over the staffing of a central duplication center so that it could support the constant needs of the institution in a timely fashion. Location was a concern - there would be a need to sufficiently staff the center to pick up and deliver jobs or there would be time away from the office for each department staff member to deliver and retrieve their jobs. If the center was properly staffed it would allow department staff to focus more on other tasks in their office. A central center would be convenient if the equipment could professionally produce large jobs.

Control – There was a high concern over a central copy center’s ability to manage a protocol for prioritizing orders. In general there was a high concern in this area. Confidentiality was also a concern. There were also additional concerns such as lost jobs, crunch jobs, meeting time constraints, and incorrectly produced jobs.

Costs - The cost of establishing and maintaining a center so that it was not only staffed, but also equipped to constantly and technically support the college’s needs was a concern. In general it was felt that the college could not or should not financially support the need. Although there might be benefits such as professional appearance of jobs, technical support for the equipment, equipment that was in-line with current technology – cost to properly support the effort seemed extravagant. Some departments send their large jobs outside and although there is a cost for the service, it’s not as expensive as maintaining a central duplicating center.

Recommendations.

The Task Force does not believe there is either need or demand for a single print center at one physical location. The nature of distributed computing and printing make it unlikely that such a physical location would be well used.

A Virtual Printing Center should be made available on the HMC Web that is maintained and managed by the CIS Department. The Virtual Center would describe those printers available to the campus for general use, equipment functionality, times available, cost for use, process for submitting and picking up jobs, etc. The Virtual Printing Center would also list or link to services available to HMC from other Claremont campuses, Honnold Library, and outside vendors who could offer us competitive prices.

6) What are the options for outsourcing large scale and/or large format printing jobs? For example, sending jobs to the Claremont copy center or finding a vendor that would run a print shop on campus. Under this rubric, please take a careful look at services such as those provided by lulu.com. Provide a clear account of the pros and cons of these options.

The task force discussed this question in combination with question 2. See discussion and recommendations above.

7) What are emerging trends in printer use? For example, are people seeing a need for more color printers, scanning or print job queuing? Or, as another example, is there a trend toward using desktop printers versus networked printers?

The task force noted an increase in the presence and demand for desktop printers, as well as networked printers. Side by side with this is an increase in the use of scanners.

For example, in some administrative offices, there is a high density of printers (both personal and networked) per square foot. Or, as another example, in the Engineering department there is a personal printer on every faculty member's desk, as well as several networked printers.

Color Printers
Various pieces of equipment are available on campus for color printing. These units are networked and faculty, staff and students have access to color printing. It does not appear to be an issue that holds up an individual or department from producing documents that are 11'' x 17'' or smaller.

Color and black and white printers for normal size (less than 11'' x 17'') are readily available on the campus for use by faculty, staff, and students. Each department is capable of purchasing units for their needs. Each department produces its own printed and copied pages as needed in the 11” x 17” or smaller sizes.

Scanners
The large volume printers on campus have options. Some have the option for scanning with special drivers or software installed at individual computers. The engineering department has a large volume printer/copier/scanner that is networked to their department. Platt Campus Center has a copier/scanner available to students and staff.

The business affairs office has a small non-networked scanner with a 40-page document feeder. While it is capable of large volume scanning, it is time consuming due to the limited size of the document feeder. Many offices have small, personal-sized scanners for document imaging. Departments are able to purchase scanners as the need arises.

The demand for scanning for document imaging, document preservation and archival purposes is growing. Large capacity and program-specific requirements are particular to various departments. Student Accounts, Admission, Registrar and academic departments are beginning to use electronic document storage for convenience, safety and space. These departments have had to work around the volume issue and document size by scanning a few sheets at a time, which extends the time for the task.

Scanning is defined as scan to images and scan to editable documents. The documents received by the Admission Office need to be managed in a tracking or editable way. This is necessary for their department to limit paperwork and increase accessibility to documents. The Admission Office shared information with the task force members about various companies that are available, specifically those that work in the academic arena, for archival document storage.

The task force considered recommending the creation of another group to look at scanning needs. But after hearing about the major CUC initiative in the arena of document scanning and archiving, we recommend that the college proceed slowly and with caution in this arena. It is especially important to think carefully before making use of the currently available Feith system.

The task force noted the possibility of increasing the use of networked printers, especially for high volume jobs. We also noted a general lack of knowledge of the functionality of networked printers, especially the ability to enforce privacy settings. There is a need for educational efforts in this area. CIS, in defining standards for networked printers (Key Recommendation # 4), should consider the basis on which networked printers are installed. Should it be on a per-department basis, per-FTE or by geographical/physical location?

Recommendations.

Increase the opportunity for high-volume printer use with networked equipment.

Notice of available equipment could be posted to the HMC website. This site could be a “virtual copy center” with information about the printers available, the costs for requesting service from the departments with plotter ability; the way to request help from other departments and other information similar to entering a “real” print and copy center location.

The college should pay close attention to the CUC initiative for document management. Until it becomes clear what the service will be and how it will work, the college should not authorize purchases of document management software. And initiatives that make use of the Feith document management system should proceed with caution.

8) How do other small colleges, both within the Consortium and elsewhere, deal with these printing issues?

The task force conducted some informal surveys both within the Consortium and elsewhere. It is safe to say that many colleges are struggling with the issues around printing. One respondent called it a “pandora's box.”

The Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges (CLAC) conducts regular ad-hoc surveys, some of which have dealt with printing issues. Many colleges, and hence many of the surveys, deal with issues around charging students for printing, which HMC does not do.

We did not find any really useful information from our informal surveys.

Recommendations.

CIS should lead a CLAC survey on emerging trends in printing (question 7) and use the results when reviewing printing policies,

9) How can we take account of the college’s strategic principles, and the concern for recycling and sustainability? What are the barriers to moving toward an almost paperless office?

Although the task force had discussed aspects of this topic throughout, we also dedicated a special meeting to the topic. We brainstormed about the topic and collected the following observations.

During the special meeting and during several other meetings, the topic of 100% recycled paper came up. We noted the experiment that is currently being conducted with 35% recycled paper for some printers. Initial reports are of increased user satisfaction, fewer printer and copier jams to be dealt with locally (by CIS or other staff) and fewer calls to the outside vendor for maintenance. Thus the task force decided to advise the Cabinet to reconsider the 100% recycled paper mandate.

We also discussed scanning and archiving of electronic materials. We noted that CUC has announced that they will shortly be acquiring a system that will allow them to scan and archive large amounts of materials. They plan to offer a document management service to the colleges. With that in mind, the task force recommends that the college not do anything independently until the nature and value of the service are understood.

Recommendations.

The task force urges the Cabinet to reconsider its decision to mandate use of 100% recycled paper. The task force noted the initial success of the experiment with 35% recycled paper (far fewer print support calls, far fewer copier jams and happier customers).

We recommend that some educational materials be developed with a view to highlighting work habits that lead to less printing and less paper use. This will need to be an ongoing educational effort.

Appendices

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Appendix 1. Original Charge Letter

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Appendix 2. Survey Questions

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Appendix 3. Survey Results

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Appendix 4. CIS policies

The substantial growth of personal desktop printers in administrative offices over the last four years prompted the need to define comprehensible support guidelines.

I) CIS will provide and support at least one networked high volume printer or multifunction printer for each administrative department. Larger departments may require two or more medium to high volume printers. For office printers, CIS

II) CIS provides two large format Canon Image Runner (IR) color copiers available for administrative and academic use.

III) CIS provides one high-volume black & white printer for each of our student labs

IV) In addition, CIS maintains two dedicated scanners in our miscellaneous lab for student, staff, and faculty use.

V) The demand for color and an increase in volume prompted two administrative departments to purchase their own Xerox color printers. Because of budget limitations, CIS was unable to bare these expenses. CIS has agreed to the following:

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Appendix 5. Canon Image Runner Printers/Copiers on campus

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Appendix 6. Engineering and Honnold Mudd Copy Center

Both Engineering and the Copy Center will accept email files and charge to an HMC account.

Any department using Engineering should prepare in advance (when possible) to avoid last minute demands and congestion, and be aware that Engineering's busiest time is two weeks prior to Projects/Presentations Days.

Contact Daniel Pereira with any questions at 18792.

Engineering:
daniel-pereira@hmc.edu
Size
Account #
Phone

Honnold Mudd Copy Center

If any user has questions, speak directly with the manager, Gaby Flores at 7-7739. We strongly suggest that any file sent to the Copy Center be submitted in PC format; the Copy Center does NOT check mac-pc conversion. Perhaps this would be a good practice for any submission to Engineering as well? Anyone using the Copy Center should pick up a business hour schedule (I believe it comes out three times a year fall/spring/summer).

Copy Center at Honnold/Mudd Library
copycenter@libraries.claremont.edu ($5 per sq ft)
Name
Account #
what you need and the paper you want
Phone

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Appendix 7. On-line print services

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Appendix 8. Student surveys

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Appendix 9. People consulted