An Enhanced Robotic Library System for an Off-Site Shelving Facility
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This paper describes our continued work of a unique robotics project, Comprehensive Access to Printed Materials (CAPM), within the context of libraries. As libraries provide a growing array of digital library services and resources, they continue to acquire large quantities of printed material. This combined pressure of providing electronic and print-based resources and services has led to severe space constraints for many libraries, especially academic research libraries. Consequently, many libraries have built or plan to build off-site shelving facilities to accommodate printed materials. However, given that these locations are not usually within walking distance of the main library, access to these materials, specifically the ability to browse, is greatly reduced. Libraries with such facilities offer extensive physical delivery options from these facilities, sometimes offering multiple deliveries per day. Even with such delivery options, the ability to browse in real-time remains absent. The goal of the CAPM Project is to build a robotic, on-demand and batch scanning system that will allow for real-time browsing of printed materials through a web interface. We envisage the system will work as follows: an end user will identify that a monograph is located in an off-site facility. The user will engage the CAPM system that, in turn, will initiate a robot that will retrieve the requested item. The robot will deliver this item to another robotic system that will open the item and turn the pages automatically.