Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Library Discovery Circa 1974

Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Library Discovery Circa 1974

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Our ongoing project to digitize back issues of Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) and its predecessor, Journal of Library Automation (JOLA), provides frequent reminders of what's changed (and what hasn't) in library technology in the past several decades. The image above is from a 1974 advertisement in JOLA for the "ROM II Book Catalog on Microfilm" from Information Design in Menlo Park, CA. The ad copy speaks for itself:

   All the advantages of a printed book catalog ... None of the
   disadvantages. Your staff and patrons can use the catalog
   simultaneously in many different locations. The user can scan a
   number of related titles on the same page, in contrast to the
   one-at-a-time viewing of catalog cards in trays. Manual filing
   routines and maintenance are eliminated.

   Easy to use ... requires no instruction. An automatic index pointer
   shows your patron his position in the file. At the touch of a
   button he can scan forward or back at high speed. Average look-up
   time is about twelve seconds. A staff member can insert an updated
   catalog totally cumulated on a single reel of microfilm in about
   one minute. Your patrons never touch the film--your complete
   library catalog "Locked-in"!

My favorite bit is the sign on the front of the machine, proudly proclaiming:

THESE ARE ALL THE BOOKS IN THE LIBRARY. …

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