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Old May 17, 11, 2:40 pm   #1
 
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Cool new library at UofC

The Mansueto Library has opened. Already being called "the egg" by the students, as in "the Reg and the Egg".

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/...mated-library/

Last edited by milepig; May 18, 11 at 12:13 pm.
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Old May 17, 11, 7:37 pm   #2
 
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Originally Posted by milepig View Post
The Mansueto Library has opened. Already being called "the egg" by the students, as in "the Reg and the Egg".

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/...mated-library/
It looks cool, but the first comment on the article is right. I've often found books I need by browsing through the shelves. Without that, I'd probably miss out of lots of interesting or relevant books.
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Old May 17, 11, 10:02 pm   #3
 
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Very neat. I have a library card by virtue of being a faculty spouse. Must go check it out soon.
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Old May 18, 11, 8:54 am   #4
 
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I love that the 2nd comment comes from toomanybooks, very appropriate, since that is the problem that UofC and every major library faces - stacks that are groaning with "too many books", and hundreds more coming in the door every day. I completely agree with the browsing and sependitify issue, and did some rooting around and found this article from Inside Higher Education:

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2...d_using_robots

(I also love the title "A Hole Lot of Books)

This paragraph addresses the browsing concerns:

While the new library puts some works out of sight, the university has thoroughly considered which works will go underground. They include serial works that have already been digitized, special collections that were not able to be browsed in the first place, and large collections of state documents. Plus, there will still be more than 4 million books in the Regenstein library to be browsed in stacks.

I think of this as my spice cabinet - if it is filled to overflowing I can never find the Chili Powder when I need it. If I carefully weed out those things that I seldom use and put them someplace else, I have a much easier job finding the spices I DO use (and avoid buying 5 bottles of the same thing since I can't find it when I need it!). When I need that red food coloring at Christmastime I can get it out of dark storage.

I guess the plan is to make browsing a better experience by taking out all the extraneous stuff that you can't really browse anyway - all those journals are online, and people access journals by the individual article anyway. The things people do browse will be right where they always were, in those bookish-smelling stacks.
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Old May 18, 11, 6:41 pm   #5
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The building itself looks like one of those where the architect forgot one little detail- the building will be outdoors. Weather conditions don't seem to have been considered:

How will they clean the windows? It looks like the process will be very inefficient and difficult, possibly dangerous. Horizontal window surfaces get very dirty very fast in Chicago.

How will they deal with snow? How will 14" of snow affect the interior lighting and temperature conditions? How will blazing summer sun affect the interior temperature and humidity conditions? (Crown Hall, van der Rohe's "masterpiece" at IIT, is absolutely miserable in the summer- glass boxes create huge HVAC problems.)

If if serves as a reading room, and not just a giant circulation center, lighting conditions are critical; with that much natural light (a very inconsistent and fickle light source), interior lighting could be a very complicated and awkward issue.

I'm sure the architect will win lots of prizes; they usually do for buildings that don't take the inhabitants comfort into consideration.
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Old Jun 9, 11, 3:43 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlbcard View Post
It looks cool, but the first comment on the article is right. I've often found books I need by browsing through the shelves. Without that, I'd probably miss out of lots of interesting or relevant books.
The books inside the automated storage system include digitized serials (already browsable via JSTOR, LexisNexis, ProQuest, etc.), special collections (already closed stack, and mostly fragile items which will benefit from fewer human hands, less movement, and stronger climate control), archived legal volumes, and unpublished dissertations. Moving these lesser-used items into Mansueto will open up shelf space within Regenstein, which has 4.5M volumes in open stacks.

As for the glass dome, I visited on Tuesday afternoon during the (thankfully past) heat wave. It was a bit toasty and very bright inside, but almost every seat was taken with laptop-toting students. Most other library study spaces around campus are dim and soft-surfaced; this is quite a welcome contrast, and I'm sure that it will be very welcome on clear and cold winter days, an insulating blanket of snow coating the semi-opaque upper panels.
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