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Use of the Kunstbibliothek

The holdings of around 30,000 books are available to users during the opening hours of the reference library. Currently, 21,000 books are included in the catalogue of the St.Galler Bibliotheksnetzes and can be accessed at any time via the Sitterwerk-Katalog. A mobile RFID reading device documented the position of the books on the shelves in a pilot project in 2006. It facilitates a continuous inventory and thus a dynamic order, in which the books have no fixed location: the arrangement of the library can be adapted to users, who are able to bring books together on the shelves in a topic-specific or associative manner. Hence, the order does not lead to chaos, but instead to a collection of personal, topically organized volumes. A search in the Sitterwerk catalogue informs users of the current location of a title, and when they look at the shelves, unexpected, but also interesting, serendipitous discoveries are made. Dealing with alternative systems or ideologies of order is central in the Sitterwerk and is again and again questioned and developed further.

The principle of dynamic order is expanded as well in the digital catalogue: a table equipped with RFID antennas, the Werkbank, recognizes the materials and books lying on it, and the compilations can thus be depicted digitally and saved. This results in important interconnections between the Werkstoffarchiv and the Kunstbibliothek The research compiled with the Werkbank is documented in the database, depicted as a virtual shelf, and can be found via a search in the Sitterwerk catalogue. In addition to a conventional search based on authors, keywords, and so on, research can also be done based on the context of a book in the Sitterwerk: What books are currently found in the surroundings of the title sought? In which compilations have other users already made use of a book? As a result of saving and visually depicting compilations from both collections, the Werkstoffarchiv and the Kunstbibliothek, the possibility of unexpected and yet specific discoveries is expanded to include a timeline.