Monday, November 23, 2009

Field Trip- Remote Storage

Just about every library has more books than it can store in it's main building. Research libraries often retain their lower use collections in high-density storage buildings where tens of thousands of books can be stored in boxes and retrieved upon request.

Here at UVA, we have Ivy Stacks, a big warehouse off grounds that was built a few years back to house the lower use collections. Each box in this picture is one cubic foot filled with books and each shelf is two boxes deep. The shelves go waaaay up and run the length of the building. You can see L-- walking down the row to get a sense of the scale of this place.

And even though we call these books "low use", there are library staff who work out there full time, retrieving books for return to the main library or scanning articles for digital delivery.

Retrieval is accomplished with a customized lift that has a shelving attachment. The driver can go anywhere along the stacks, find the box they're looking for, retrieve the particular book, and then go on to find the next requested item. It seems a little like finding a needle in a haystack when you first look at the scale of the building, but everything is catalogged, labeled, and organized and findable!

Monday, November 16, 2009

AV field trip

Originally uploaded by dingbatdc
As our lab is in progress, we've been making visits to other conservation facilities. The Library of Congress has a new building just up the road in Culpepper where they catalog, house and conserve all kinds of audio visual materials. It is an amazing facility for all kinds of reasons.

AV materials are not my area of specialty, but I have enough experience from my previous jobs to appreciate the work they do at Culpepper and to be impressed with the layout of the workflows. It is also neat to see equipment I have, used in a different way. This is a fume trunk in their record album (remember those??) cleaning area.