Optical Character Recognition Software Helps University Libraries Navigate Interlibrary Loans

University students and professors lean heavily on their library’s resources for their research projects. But sometimes the university library in question doesn't have direct access to key documents. That’s where Interlibrary Loans between Universities and other libraries often come to the rescue. Unfortunately, that research rescue can sometimes lag, creating delays that bump too close to deadlines for comfort. When libraries have access to ScanPro®’s Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, however, this speeds up the process and helps researchers access the documentation they need through interlibrary loans faster than ever. In addition, ScanPro's OCR engine, powered by ABBYY FineReader, has the ability to search and recognize 184 languages, providing the broadest language support combining European, a range of Asian, African and Middle East languages.

Benefits of PowerScan Productivity Suite (PPS) OCR software for University Libraries

If you’ve ever tried to use ILLiad or any other Interlibrary Loan system to access hard-to-find documents from other libraries, you know that it can take days—sometimes weeks—for a response, if they have it at all. Each query through your library goes out to 15 libraries at a time, at least one of which may (or may not) have a copy of your documents. If you’re lucky, the documentation is on microfilm or microfiche, and if you are even luckier, the responding library is using ScanPro OCR to quickly find the piece you need and have it sent back to your university library. ScanPro OCR is part of the PowerScan Productivity Suite and provides some incredible, time-saving research boosters that make it so much faster for Interlibrary loan requests to fly through the system and land in the hands of anxious researchers. Some of these convenient, must-have features include:


While scanning a microfilm image for data you need, you can simply enter a word that you’re looking for into the search field. If that word is present in the microfilm image, the OCR software will highlight every instance of that word in the image so you can quickly home in on the data you need without having to read the entire page. This saves lending libraries and researchers enormous amounts of time.


The INFO-Link feature helps librarians and researchers expand their understanding of a microfilm image or words. Older documentation often has terminology that requires a little extra digging for context and understanding. Simply click on a word or phrase and then choose a reliable internet source such as a dictionary, encyclopedia or thesaurus for more details about the usage and meaning within a microfilm image. This can help ensure that you are requesting the right document and helps the loaning library zero in on the document you need.

Create a Multi-Page Word-Searchable PDF

This ScanPro OCR feature is especially helpful in speeding the process of Interlibrary loans. Any microfilm image can be converted into a searchable PDF file with just one click. Again, this is useful at both ends of the Interlibrary loan process and can help researchers access even more critical data faster than ever before.


When the researcher receives the needed documents through the Interlibrary loan process, even if there is a time limit on the documentation, the copy-to-clipboard helps you just select your target text from the microfilm image and copy it to the clipboard so it can be pasted to your document or presentation. Just remember to include proper copyright and source attribution. This can also easily be copied and pasted from the microfilm image with this feature, making it faster and easier than ever before to assemble the needed data and source materials for your bibliography as well.

ScanPro’s OCR Technology Speeds up the Interlibrary Loan Process

University libraries and their library partners around the world are able to use these ScanPro OCR features to help researchers around the world access important documentation for their projects much faster than ever before. And the PowerScan Productivity Suite with this technology is available to university libraries through our ScanPro Advantage Membership. Contact us for more information, and happy researching!

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