Robots...The New Librarians

The LA Times reports: "It's not often that a librarian is warned to stay away from the bookshelves because of high voltage and that students aren't allowed to roam freely through the stacks - but it's becoming more common.

At Chicago State University only robots are allowed to browse most books and archives. Books are supplied with RFID chips, and to get a particular book, students and faculty must log onto the library's website from home or school and place an order for a title.

Once the order is received, the library's computer system directs a robotic crane - dubbed "Rover" by the librarians - to retrieve one of more than 6,300 bins. Each bin holds the equivalent of four bookshelves.

The crane then brings the bin to a workstation at the front of the warehouse, where a HUMAN BEING--a librarian--picks up the book.


Google must love this story because they want to digitize everything to make it easier for people to access. With ads.
I don't really have a problem with Google digitizing everything; it'll put these poor robots out of a job, but that's progress. I just have a problem with not knowing whether the electronic format is identical to the original. I really need to see the book or microfilm to confirm that I got what I got. So I still need that source material. Which is good news to the robots who can keep their jobs to feed their robot children and not put them on the streets to more efficiently steal my car radio. beedy-beedy.html

This reminds me of a great book that deals with digitization of libraries and emeregent singular technologies called "Rainbow's End" by Vernor Vinge. Alot of the action of the novel revolves around the Library at the university @ San Diego.

Subscribe to Comments for "Robots...The New Librarians"