Papercut: Not just an injury anymore

Melissa Norris, Staff Writer

A paper cut is no longer just the bane of everyone’s college existence. It is now a new printing system on the Wayne State campus.

Network and Technology Services (NATS) is using this new service to create more streamlined printing for WSC students. This is the second collaborative effort between NATS and the Student Senate, the first, bringing students wireless internet throughout the dorms.

“We started testing last spring, demoed to Student Senate, and over summer went from testing mode to pilot mode, getting printers and wiring set up in the library,” John Dunning, Chief Information Officer of NATS, said.

The goal of this new project was to avoid the hassle of waiting to print right before class.

With Papercut, a student can print from anywhere on campus, on any device, at any time and pick up their print job whenever it’s convenient for them. Students off campus will have to convert their files to PDF form to send a print job from home.

The process is simple. Students send the document from their chosen device (including Mac OS, iPads, iPhones and Android based systems) and stop by the library, where it takes seconds to log into a station next to a Papercut compatible printer. They select their job from the queue and it prints.

Sounds simple, but this new system isn’t just to speed up time waiting to print in the library.

“The point is to make sure we’re being good stewards for the fees and money you pay to go to school. What we are hoping is at some point those technologies will be used to find out what our real printing costs are, where the problems are,” Dunning said.

Papercut is typically a pay-to-print model, but NATS has allocated a budget to every student based on the actual cost of print volumes from previous semesters.

“We can break down printing by department to determine its use of resources. Students in each department are now being monitored,” Dunning said. “This information will lead to discussions that will lead to decisions. At this point the data is pretty positive, a number of students are using it. It seems to be working pretty well.”

NATS will be transitioning more printers in the library and monitoring performance. That means putting in newer printers to handle the volume, an average of 500,000 prints per month. Currently, each student’s print job will only stay in the queue for two hours.

Printing on the new Papercut system requires a one-time setup for each device a student would like to print from.

An explanation for this one-time setup, as well as the process needed to print a document, are available on your eCampus under Technology Support, then Network and Technology Services.

“We hope this will become the way we manage printing in the future,” Dunning said.