From the archive, 13 August 1966: A new chapter begins as libraries welcome technology
Oh the wonder! This from The Guardian newspaper archives :
A book to be published on Monday claims that library work involving records of stock can be automated, and some of it should be. “The Computer and the Library” by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne says computers would speed processing, reduce costs, and increase exposure of books to readers in some cases.
The authors are two research workers and a librarian at the university, who have been studying in their spare time the problems of computers in library work.
The most expensive and time-consuming task in operating a computer, they say, is preparing information to feed into it. Once this is done, the more it is used, the more efficient the system becomes. Once a main catalogue is in a form to read by the computer the maintenance of the catalogue file will probably not require much more cost or effort than do card catalogues at present.
Computer files can be rearranged in different order and copied quickly by using the computer as a printing machine. The most startling change the computer is likely to bring to the university librarian is the return of the printed book catalogue.
With a computer, one could print very quickly, for example, a list of all books printed in Spain before 1800, or all books on mathematics published in England since 1955, in answer to requests for bibliographies.
House of Commons library plans axed
Two plans to provide new library accommodation in the House of Commons have come under the Government’s economy axe.
A report from the Select Committee on the House of Commons (services) says that instead of two possible schemes which would have cost £150,000 and £70,000, it now recommends that the present Speaker’s library should be made part of the library suite of rooms.
The Speaker agreed to this and it was decided to add the Serjeant-at-Arms’ state reception room to the Speaker’s house. The Serjeant-at-Arms agreed, provided that reasonable access to the room was provided for him.
The committee is recommending that two doors, at a cost of £1,000 each, are provided to give access for the Serjeant-of-Arms to the present reception room.
The two schemes which were dropped proposed a three-storey building over the present members’ tea rooms and reading room, costing £150,000, or a mezzanine floor over the whole length of the corridor from the Speaker’s house to the lower waiting hall, providing about 2,500 square feet of floor space at a cost of £70,000.