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Kunstbibliothek
Kunstbibliothek

In the Art Library in the Sitterwerk, the books have RFID tags rather than conventional call number labels. It is possible to activate these radio frequency tags in a targeted manner by means of an antenna and radio waves so that the tags send out specific signals. This means that the tags, and with them also the books, can be identified by the antenna. An automatic mechanism regularly leads the antenna past the bookshelves so that it can determine the current location of every book and feed it into the digital library catalogue. This spatial indexing of the book inventory by means of the RFID reading device facilitates taking inventory of the library at such short intervals that one might speak of a continuous taking of inventory. This is what makes the dynamic organization of the books possible. In contrast to libraries conventionally accessed by means of call number labels, the books in the Art Library in the Sitterwerk do not have a fixed location. One can instead place them arbitrarily anywhere on the shelf: thanks to the continuous inventory, each individual book can always be found even without a permanently defined location, since the current location is always noted in the digital catalogue.

Thanks to these prerequisites, the organizational structure can be changed on an ongoing basis and adapted to users as a result of use and management. Individuals who work on a topic in the Library are able to bring books on it together and then place this compilation in the shelves. What is currently taking place can be illustrated by the selection of books—for example artists having their work realized in the Kunstgiesserei or the Photo Lab, newly developed production and restoration techniques, or novel library access systems. Individuals can also be invited to give expression to their interests through bringing together a personal selection of books. This dynamic organizational structure gives the diverse users of the Library new options to search for and find books. The way in which books are grouped and brought together on the shelves at a given moment allow for so-called serendipitous discoveries: when people search for specific books, they find other books that they had not been looking for but, nevertheless, lie within the scope of their interest.

The principle of serendipitous discoveries is depicted and broadened on the level of the digital catalogue: groups of books that have been brought together are documented in the database and represented graphically as a virtual shelf. This also results in the creation of new search options in the digital catalogue: in addition to conventional searches according to author, keywords, etc., it has recently also become possible to search in the Sitterwerk according to the context of a book. Which books are standing nearby it at the moment, or with which books has it already been brought together? Through saving and graphically representing all the ways in which books have been brought together in the virtual shelves, the possibility of unexpected and yet specific discoveries extends along a time axis. The digital catalogue in the Sitterwerk also includes the Material Archive, so that material samples can also be components of such compilations. A sensitive table equipped with RFID antennas recognizes the materials and books lying on it, which can be depicted and saved as a compilation in the database. This gives rise in a natural way to digital linkages between the Material Archive and the Art Library. (um)