University of Chicago Shows off its Automated Library

May 16th, 2011 8 Comments

This has me weirded out a bit.

University of Chicago Shows Off its Automated Library | Geekosystem

Check it out in action.

Where to begin. It’s definitely an intelligent and economical use of space, like vertical or condensed bike parking. So, I admire the design.

Still, it feels like someone set out to create Wikipedia IRL. It’s a weird mash of old and new school methods. Plus, the concept of browsing is completely lost. I can’t be the only one who wandered through library stacks, pulling random books just because their spines looked interesting.

Thoughts?


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8 Responses to “University of Chicago Shows off its Automated Library”

  1. esjewett Says:

    Agree on browsing. Of course, what everyone forgets to mention is that browsing is not lost. My understanding is that section of the library is going to house books that were mostly in off-site warehouse storage before now, so they were not browsable. The Reg’s impressive stacks will remain intact and browsable :-)

  2. Jake Says:

    Ah, that makes more sense. If combined with a classic library of stacks, this rocks! 

  3. Gary Myers Says:

    Did a tour of the State Library of NSW once. Most of the building is underground, with the vast majority of books in the underground stacks. Apparently libraries (especially academic ones) often had a problem with people purposefully mis-filing books in the wrong place on the shelves. Mostly it was so that the individual became the only one who could use the book as only they knew where it was, but it also occurred when an academic didn’t want a rival’s book to be used.

  4. Joonas Says:

    This reminded me of the University of Amsterdam’s new library, although that one is less automated I think: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1662561/a-library-designed-for-the-post-print-era

  5. Jake Says:

    Nice factoid and yet another reason the internets has succeeded, although one could argue that information isn’t hiding online, it’s just impossible to find, or hiding in plain sight. 

  6. Jake Says:

    Very cool stuff. In college, I worked at the medical library, and they had rows and rows of movable stacks that compressed into place to save floor space. Each stack had a wheel at the end that you turned to open the space between. Seems like library design is a budding area for industrial design. stacks that compressed into place to save floor space. Each stack had a wheel at the end that you turned to open the space between. Seems like library design is a budding area for industrial design.

  7. Joonas Says:

    Ah yes, seen those at some archives and storage rooms. Always scared of getting trapped between the shelves!

  8. Jake Says:

    With the automated ones, for sure, but the manual ones had enough give to avoid crushing anyone. Although you might have an avalanche of books falling on your head if the person operating the wheel didn’t stop :)

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