Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bits On Browsing

The Right To Browse: A Library Puts Books Into Storage And Readers Cry Foul
To make room, librarians removed tens of thousands of books and other materials that hadn't been checked out in years. The items were put into storage — some across town, some a few hours away. Students can still request them; it just might take a few days to get them back to the library. 
Jeffrey Chipps Smith, a professor of art history, isn't happy. He says those books were still being used, even if they weren't being checked out. 
"A lot of the time, when I use the library, you're not necessarily checking something out," Smith says. "You're going upstairs to look at an article in a periodical, you're going to check a reference for something and so you may open a few books and find what you need and put them back." 
Their argument boils down to this: In research, you don't always know what you're looking for, and it's difficult to browse and discover a new, helpful source if the books are only accessible via a search engine. NPR

Visual browsing in a virtual world
Browsing is one of the primary pleasures of all book-lovers. Finding that precise book you were looking for is great, but discovering something unexpected is often better. Whether for pleasure or research, browsing is one of the best methods by which to find new reading material. As books are moved out of sight in favor of computer stations and as users become more and more reliant upon online searching, it becomes increasingly necessary to recreate this real world experience of browsing in digital land. Libraries are moving progressively toward visual searches and virtual shelf browsing in the ongoing crusade of bringing readers and books together. Indiana University Bloomington

The mysterious Cambridge library tower opens to the public
...now in a new free exhibition, Tall Tales: Secrets of the tower, we reveal some of the truth about what the great skyscraper really holds.

It’s a marker of how little was thought of the books that no thought was given to future browsing by author or subject, and they appear to have been placed in the sequence simply in the order in which they arrived in any one year.

Today, this makes for quite surreal bedfellows with, say, an edition of War and Peace elbowing for position next to a Dull Thud (a long-and-probably-best-forgotten murder mystery). But in terms of social history, it’s fantastic.

You can literally stand in front of a given year and see exactly what was published. This must be the academic equivalent of being a child in a sweet shop; an experience the exhibition tries to recreate for visitors with a towering pillar of 1,950 books with the serious and the quirky side by side. Independent & University of Cambridge

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