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Dawn of the machines (in the library stacks)

The robots are coming! The online B.C. magazine The Tyee reports on the University of British Columbia library’s plan to launch “a new storage system that uses robotic cranes to fetch books.” Once the system’s up and running, the UBC library’s main location will store books in stainless steel bins accessible to the, er, robots. Patrons will be able to search for books online, but may not be able to physically browse the books — a change that has some worried. Says Max Cameron, one professor and library adviser: “That is a major cost to research. We’re now going to have to invent other ways of getting around if we want to be able to do that kind of exploratory work.”

Related links:
The Tyee‘s piece on the UBC library’s new automated retrieval plans