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1967. An unusual use for the telephone in a library

02/10/2011 - 09:30 AM

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In 1967, the University of Delft in Holland came up with an unusual system for speeding up the delivery of books in its library.
Using one of the six telephones installed in the card catalogue room, students would dial in the number of the book they wanted, and, apparently, the book would then be delivered to them in less than 30 seconds.
This is how it worked: a light display connected to the telephones would give the librarian the exact coordinates for where the book was shelved. If the book was available, an automated cart would carry it to the reading room. If the book was out on loan, a signal to this effect would be sent back to the student in the catalogue room.
The apparatus used was the "Ericfon", made by the Swedish company Ericsson from 1954 and introduced into Italy in 1958 by Fatme-Ericsson.
The Dutch system was not tried out in Italy.

 

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