6 thoughts on “Serendipity in stacks, racks and online sytems”

  1. Re serendipity in the stacks:

    John Naughton, – like Lorcan, a distinguished Irishman –
    once devoted one of his weekly columns in the Observer (a London Sunday paper with a great history and an even greater tradition of quality writing) to the joys of browsing amongst the open stacks of Cambridge University Library, the largest such collection in the UK. As our Reader’s Newsletter put it at the time:

    In an article in The Observer of 19 November 1995, John Naughton told of a morning spent in blissful exploration of the Library’s open-access bookstacks, describing the Library as ‘the most accessible collection of literary treasure on this side of the Atlantic’. Although noting the hazards of being ‘ambushed’ by books whose existence he had never suspected while on the trail of the one he was seeking, he comes down firmly in favour of the delights of serendipity – ‘the nearest thing to Paradise that this world has to offer’!

  2. The campaign to save Broomhill Pool in Ipswich will move into its sixth year this September (2007). This is a Grade II listed, Olympic sized lido built in 1938 and closed in the autumn of 2002.
    Interested researchers can google “broomhill pool” or “broomhill lido” and come up with a wide range of background information. The Twentieth Century Society were successful in getting the lido spot-listed in August 2001 and without a doubt this has helped enormously to keep the bulldozers at bay. A full scale Feasibility Study was carried out in 2006 headed by WPP Architects, on behalf of the Broomhill Pool Trust. Ipswich Borough Council have accepted the findings of this study,but have not increased their 2005 offer of £1million towards the estimated restoration figure of £3.9million. (Their current preferred option is to build a £24million indoor pool near to Portman Road Football Stadium)
    The Waterfront area of Ipswich has seen something like £800 million of investment pouring in, in recent years, along with the establishment of a new university, so it does not seem unreasonable to hope for just £2.9million to see our lido back on the map and fully operational once more. If you would like to see Broomhill in action there is a clip on You Tube called “The Pool”. The lido site will be open to the public on the Heritage Open Days 8th and 9th September 2007 (10am-5pm)

  3. Serendipity, yes, but some organization has already taken place. You likely found this book because you were interested in the subject and the books were grouped that way. Elaine Svenonius in “The Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization” makes a similar point that browsing the library stacks is not strictly serendipitous, because librarians have already put like subjects together. The organizational work that librarians/booksellers/etc. do makes this kind of serendipity possible.

  4. Serendipity, yes, but some organization has already taken place. You likely found this book because you were interested in the subject and the books were grouped that way. Elaine Svenonius in “The Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization” makes a similar point that browsing the library stacks is not strictly serendipitous, because librarians have already put like subjects together. The organizational work that librarians/booksellers/etc. do makes this kind of serendipity possible.

  5. Philip – yes, this is part of what I was trying to say. We need to think about how to deploy organizational techniques more effectively in our online services to support richer serendipitous opportunity!

  6. The campaign to see Broomhill Pool in Ipswich restored and re-opened, will move into its seventh year this autumn. The Broomhill Pool Trust submitted a Heritage Lottery Fund bid in March this year (2008) and the outcome should be known in Sept/October.
    Just to recap, this is a Grade II Listed, Olympic-sized lido built in 1938 and closed in 2002 by Ipswich Borough Council. It features in Janet Smith’s book “Liquid Assets – the lidos and open air swimming pools of Britain” in several places, including the Case Studies and the chapters on Design and The Future.
    The Feasibility Study showed it could be re-opened as a heated, outdoor, 50 metre pool, with diving boards, for approx £3.9million. This is the only Olympic-sized lido in Suffolk and I hope, with all my heart, that this seven year effort comes to a successful conclusion!

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