[Esip-preserve] An Interesting Library Concept - The Accumulibrary

Matthew Mayernik via Esip-preserve esip-preserve at lists.esipfed.org
Thu Jul 31 12:42:00 EDT 2014

Thanks Bruce. Definitely an interesting concept. Coming from the library
world, I feel obligated to comment. It seems like this approach tries to do
what libraries do, but deliberately eliminates the efficiencies for the
patrons that libraries provide. The obvious one is that classification
enables browsing by subject (though all classifications are partial,
faulty, etc.). Also, consistent shelving and ordering allows repeat
visitors (which you hope you have many) to learn the collection structure
over time, again hopefully allowing them to make better/fuller use of the

"Algorithm-based" paths through the collection is a nice feature in this
system, but it's not clear to me how it's an advantage over having a set of
classification numbers in a library that a) you already know, or b)
provides clear labeling on their collection.

Finally, some libraries already use barcode-based retrieval systems with
sequential (e.g. non-subject based) ordering. And any high-density storage
facility does this, storing materials by size so that shelves can be packed
as closely together as possible. These typically aren't open for browsing,
but again if the goal is to help patrons to make the best and most
efficient use of the collection, this scheme certainly isn't the way to go
if you want browsing.

So, definitely interesting as a concept library, but the advantages over
the current state aren't quite clear to me.


On Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 6:48 AM, Bruce Barkstrom via Esip-preserve <
esip-preserve at lists.esipfed.org> wrote:

> Another article, articulating the "Everything is Miscellaneous" manifesto:
> http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/07/the_accumulibrary_modern_libraries_should_be_as_big_and_chaotic_as_amazon.html
> The ultimate dream of the "Piler" approach to stuff - although the article
> doesn't
> really deal with interlibrary loan or federated and fully distributed
> "archival"
> sites.  The antithesis of the "Filer" approach to stuff.  Any "Filer" that
> categorizes
> his or her personal library and research notes will feel that this
> approach conducts them
> to the lowest circle of Dante's story and chained there.  Library
> classifiers might fear
> becoming unemployed.
> Before then, readers might make the book from which this
> article is excerpted a minor best-seller.  ["This Book is Overdue" may be
> of some
> interest from a nonfiction point of view, although it doesn't have an
> index so it
> must be nonscholarly nonfiction.  Petroski's "The Book on the Bookshelf"
> provides
> a rather interesting history of the bookshelf and chained books.  For
> readers who
> prefer fiction, see the novel "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" by Robin
> Sloan.]
> Bruce B.
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