Thursday, December 28, 2006

The future is here its just waiting to be introduced

So I was reading this document from the near-future (the January 2007 issue of WIRED magazine to be exact) and the first article is about a new library at Chicago State University that is closed stacks. All book retrieval is done by robot.

My favourite stats from the article:
  • Average time for a robot to retrieve five books: 2.5 minutes
  • Average time for a student to retrieve five books: 2 hours
And then it became oh so readily apparent: academic libraries were going to back to close-stack entities. It just seemed to be the logical conclusion if you consider the following:
  • academic librarians love to buy books and are loath to discard books
  • our present day institutions rarely commission new library buildings
  • Google, Amazon, and other organizations are beginning to scan the out of print books that make up academic library collections and make them available online for browsing
  • consumers are used to having books and DVDs delivered to them
  • the ability to browse the library shelves is largely unappreciated
  • students want quiet places to study
  • people complain about long reference numbers

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