Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A novel solution for campus libraries?

The University of Chicago thinks they've figured out how to deal with the problem of too many books in too little space: dig down. They've built a 50-foot deep Batcave that can hold 3.5 million books, and they've created an automated retrieval system by which robots bring you your requested book within five minutes. No, this still doesn't help faculty who like to browse the stacks, but at least it's not moving the books miles away.

(h/t: Monkey Cage)


Jeff said...

I don't know anything about library science (I'm a law student at UChi), but the school claims that the books were deliberately selected to be those least likely to accessed through browsing (maybe niche subject matter or records?).

Seth Masket said...

Did a group of librarians actually go through the entire catalogue to determine which volumes were unlikely to be selected by browsing? It sounds more like some Charlie Epps-esque computer algorithm. I really wonder how one assesses the likelihood that someone will stumble across a book.