Publication Date01 Jan 1985
AuthorPG Peacock
[This article and the following one, (both coincidentally from the same
institution) illustrate a growing trend in libraries' use of computers,
away from the traditional core housekeeping areas. The ready availability
of microcomputers is a major factor, but developments towards desk-top
tools for the library manager need not all be micro-based as the first
article on the management of shelf space shows. Readers may be interested
to note that a similar system using a BBC micro and the Ultracalc
spreadsheet program is briefly described by A. Peasgood and P. Stone in
Library Micromation
No. 5, July 1984.
The second article appeared in response to the description in VINE 57 of
the Biblio-Guide software. I will still be interested in hearing from other
libraries developing management and "peripheral" applications: any accounts
sent may variously find a home in either VINE or Library Micromation
and will certainly be of benefit in maintaining up-to-date information -
A recurrent problem in library administration is that libraries do not
expand evenly. In a small library (of, say, less than 100,000 volumes) the
daily reports of staff responsible for shelving are probably sufficient to
inform the librarian of the progress of expansion. Such reports are
valuable in all libraries; but in larger libraries it is difficult to
obtain from these reports alone a clear view of the general pattern of
shelf occupancy. The larger the library, the more important it becomes to
assess ad hoc reports on tactical shelving difficulties in the context of a
broader strategy. To this end many libraries prepare annually systematic
tabulations of available capacity and occupied shelf space. This paper
suggests a way in which information gathered for this purpose may be
exploited to greater advantage.
At Stirling University Library shelf occupancy data for each class or
section are held as a computer file in the form:
(a) reference number
(b) main class letter or letters or some other brief description
(c) space allocated in metres
(d) space occupied in metres
The file includes data for non-public areas of the library, and an estimate
for the space that would be occupied if all books on loan were returned, on
the assumption that each book would occupy 30mm of shelf space.
The system is run on the University's Dec Vax 11/780 computer from any of
the library's terminals. The data file is created and amended using the
* Mr P G Peacock is University Librarian, University of Stirling

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