Development of a computerised library system in the construction industry
This thesis examines the ways that libraries have employed computers to assist with housekeeping operations. It considers the relevance of such applications to company libraries in the construction industry, and describes more specifically the development of an integrated cataloguing and loan system. A review of the main features in the development of computerised ordering, cataloguing and circulation control systems shows that fully integrated packages are beginning to be completed, and that some libraries are introducing second generation programs. Cataloguing is the most common activity to be computerised, both at national and company level. Results from a sample of libraries in the construction industry suggest that the only computerised housekeeping system is at Taylor Woodrow. Most of the firms have access to an in-house computer, and some of the libraries, particularly those in firms of consulting engineers, might benefit from computerisation, but there are differing attitudes amongst the librarians towards the computer. A detailed study of the library at Taylor Woodrow resulted in a feasibility report covering all the areas of its activities. One of the main suggestions was the possible use of a computerised loans and cataloguing system. An integrated system to cover these two areas was programmed in Fortran and implemented. This new system provides certain benefits and saves staff time, but at the cost of time on the computer. Some improvements could be made by reprogramming, but it provides a general system for small technical libraries. A general equation comparing costs for manual and computerised operations is progressively simplified to a form where the annual saving from the computerised system is expressed in terms of staff and computer costs and the size of the library. This equation gives any library an indication of the savings or extra cost which would result from using the computerised system.
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