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Presentation Details


Books in Your Face: Optimizing Research Access to Print Materials

Stephen Meckstroth.

During the 2001-2002 academic year, the author received a grant to visit 4 pioneering libraries and 2 very large regional book storage facilities to pursue his thesis that the academic library of the future will utilize automated storage and retrieval technology, much of which already exists, to create and deliver on-demand to the reader/researcher custom-tailored sections of the 'book stacks', in browsable classified arrangement. His research resulted in a 37-page grant report, of which this presentation is a summary. His findings support the possibility of such a library, which would be housed not on open shelves but in a highly compressed closed vault which would be more economical and more accessible, in many ways, than current open-stack academic libraries are. Underlying the author's proposal is the idea that a large percentage of the printed material of the past, present, and future will never be available in digitized format because of cost, volume and intellectual property considerations.


Stephen Meckstroth  (United States)
Humanities and Special Collections Librarian
Milner Library
Illinois State University

Stephen Meckstroth is Humanities/Special Collections Librarian and former Associate Dean of University Libraries at Illinois State University, where he has been employed for nearly three decades. He has been the recipient of a number of research grants and is the principal author of the instructional CD-ROM The African Collection, an interactive introduction to African art history and a guide to the African art housed at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

  • ASRS (Automated Storage and retrieval systems

(30 min Conference Paper, English)