The Library Retrieval System

The Library Retrieval System, otherwise known as the LRS, is a state of the art automated underground storage and retrieval system. The LRS has six aisles, each served by a 15m robotic crane on rails.
Objects, including, books and journals are stored in 12,000 galvanised steel bins of four different heights. There is capacity of around 1 million items.

Unlike the Blake Library where objects are classified by the Dewey Decimal system, objects in the LRS are classified according to their spine height. Objects may move around different bins as they are borrowed then returned.

AREA OF INTEREST 1 – Conversations – Audio
Little is known about the inter-relational communication between the objects whilst they are waiting to be requested. Given that they may only have their spine height in common, what do they talk about? How do they “get to know” each other? How do they feel about being where they are? Is their knowledge and perspectives expanded by exposure to objects from other worlds? After they “get to know each other”, how do they feel when they are plucked out and placed in another bin. Do they embrace this opportunity? Will they ever rest with the same books again? What stories would they then share?

Is this all a moot point given that the books, armed with RFID technology and listed in a database can communicate outside the physical realm?

Through additional state of the art technology and innovative research methodology, we are undertaking a study to listen to the conversations and observe the dynamics of the objects residing within the LRS.

Chris Gaul, UTS Library Artist in Residence, 2012, pondered the question “What if books could talk?”, this research is being extended by the question “What do they talk about to each other?”.

AREA OF INTEREST 2 – Data Visualisation
A) Representation of LRS activity mapped to a 3D model of the space in real-time
B) Artistic representation of the LRS activity in real-time
C) Investigation of ePaper / Ink displays to make a link to paper (and because the aesthetic qualities are interesting)

AREA OF INTEREST 3 – Tangible Data Visualisation
Reflection of library activity represented by tangible interfaces such as paint, print outs, led drips… Located in the central stairwell.

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