From the Orchestra Library

In Love With A Wonderful…..Copier

Posted in Uncategorized by kschnack on June 5, 2009

DSO Library copierI really am completely in love with our copier.  We have recently been extracting excerpts for both an audition and a family concert coming up, because, of course, when it rains it pours (especially in May and June in Dallas!).  So, I have had the opportunity during the past few weeks to renew my vows with our fantastic copier and thank it for being there in sickness and in health.  It took many years for the right one to come along.

Since I started at the Dallas Symphony 19 seasons ago we’ve obviously been through several copiers, and it was only relatively recently that we leapt into the 21st century and got a unit that can keep us from tearing our hair out during the crunch music preparation times like now.  The players probably never understood why we were so frustrated making practice copies or extra performance parts on a moment’s notice for all those earlier years – don’t you just press a button and voila?  If only.

Standing there hand-feeding individual pieces of paper back and forth through the machine to make a double-sided part of more than 3 pages was excruciating.  It took forever.  And, even after it took forever, it wasn’t always successful.  So it took even more forever. The weight and size of the paper would jam the machine on a regular and frequent basis.  The toner wouldn’t always adhere properly to the page, and then if we marked and erased bowings, well…….there went the notes.  We had to use the bypass tray because the regular paper trays wouldn’t work with the “non-standard” size.  It was hard to manipulate the original for a centered image.  Getting margins right was a guessing game.

And copying a full score?  Fuggedaboutit.

We did become very skilled at making do with what we had and what the technology of the times would allow, as all generations of librarians have had to before us.  I still often think of my predecessor, Mike Glass, who was the DSO librarian for 35 years, and what he had to go through to make a copy or write out a part.  So I really shouldn’t have complained.  But we all know only what we know, and this process was a huge pain.  Did the relationship have to be this difficult?  Surely there was something better out there.  However, we persevered, learned the “work-arounds”, figured out some tricks, and kept going.

Finally, when it came time for the organization to renegotiate its copier/printer leases, we got the opportunity we had longed for – going to the distributors armed with music paper and three simple requirements:  the library copier would have to be able to duplex our music-sized paper automatically, print from our computers directly to that paper, and make my breakfast.

Okay, I gave up that last part.  But it was amazing how many sales people would promise eternal happiness only to be stumped by not being able to deliver on what we considered the basics.  When we finally found a company that was willing to bring in its engineer to customize the settings on their machine to meet our needs – in other words, work on the relationship— we made a match.  We even got a double scanner in the doc feed as part of the deal.  And I am still in love with our copier to this day.


8 Responses to 'In Love With A Wonderful…..Copier'

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  1. Jess Slais said,

    Delighted to read your love letter, Karen, both because I am glad you are in such a healthy, productive relationship and because most people don’t understand my affection for my copier! But do tell, what is the gentleman’s name? We should all be so lucky to seek out this model.

    • kschnack said,

      Yes, it’s entirely geeky isn’t it, Jessica? Most people truly do not get it when I do a happy dance about my double scanner, or, even more amazing, smile when making a practice copy! (My theory is that unless someone has actually had to make a set of performance parts or copy a full score, they will never understand why this is is crucial — they really have no idea how much time it takes or the steps that are involved.) And, there is a whole separate component to our unit I have yet to write about (but will) that puts the icing on the cake in this partnership.

      We’ve got a Ricoh 2060, which by now is not a new model, and certainly doesn’t have all the fancy bells and whistles, but I’m happy with a sensible, reliable, experienced partner…… Seriously, we did have to customize the settings to make it perform properly with our paper, and it’s my understanding from the Ricoh reps that as each new model is introduced, the ability to customize is going to be lessened. So I am sticking with this relationship through thick and then until death do us part.

  2. Jane said,

    How familiar we are with the promises during courtship that turn to confusion and irritation when we start using the nearly useless demo machine to make parts and scores. We get told we should change our work process to suit the machine. Yeah, right. I just shake my head and move on to the next brand/model to start the dance all over. I think it’s out there somewhere, our perfect copier. If you believe in true love….

    • kschnack said,

      Jane, LOL……It would be so nice if eternal and everlasting love didn’t take so much work!

  3. Esc-ola said,

    Local Xerox dealer came by a while ago. Wanted to see if they could sell their copiers to us. When we talked about the features, the copying, the paper sizes, the scanning, the e-mailing, they all of a sudden got a revelation: your whole music collection needs to be digitized and we have just the solution: ePaper, paper one can download “stuff” to.

    We threw them out and never heard of them since.

    • kschnack said,

      Oh my, they really don’t have a clue, do they, Jari?? We have tried to tell the various copier reps we’ve met with that if they would make their machines to be able to do the kind of stuff we need, they might not have captured the largest business niche, but they would certainly have repeat business — all over the world! Because we all need basically the same features. I don’t know what we are going to do when everything becomes completely standardized for traditional “business” standards.

  4. archivnoten said,

    My heart still burns for my true love, the ones I left behind… the Ricoh 8000 Cincinnati twins. I hope that I will find another as promised for the past year, but alas the struggle seems too tenuous, as my dream was ripped from my clenched fists. Still, I remain an optimist. (and, well, kicking it seems to have stopped ‘fixing’ it.)

    • kschnack said,

      I’m so sorry you had to leave your beloved behind, Wendy, I do understand the heartache! But at least you know true love is out there. 😉

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