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An automated library is one where a computer system is used to manage one or several of the librarys key functions such as acquisitions serials control cataloging circulation and the public access catalog When exploring the history of library automation it is possible to return to past centuries when visionaries well before the computer age created devices to assist with their book lending systems Even as far back as 1588 the invention of the French Book Wheel allowed scholars to rotate between books by stepping on a pedal that turned a book table Another interesting example was the Book Indicator developed by Albert Cotgreave in 1863 It housed miniature books to represent books in the librarys collection The miniature books were part of a design that made it possible to determine if a book was in out or overdue These and many more examples of early ingenuity in library systems exist however this paper will focus on the more recent computer automation beginning in the early twentieth century The Beginnings of Library Automation 1930-1960 It could be said that library automation development began in the 1930s when punch card equipment was implemented for use in library circulation and acquisitions During the 30s and early 40s progress on computer systems was slow which is not surprising given the Depression and World War II In 1945 Vannevar Bush envisioned an automated system that would store information including books personal records and articles Bush1945 wrote about a hypothetical memex system which he described as a mechanical library that would allow a user to view stored information from several different access points and look at several items simultaneously His ideas are well known as the basis for hypertext and mputers for their operations The first appeared at MIT in 1957 with the development of COMIT managing linguistic computations natural language and the ability to search for a particular string of information Librarians then moved beyond
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