Bodleian Libraries' Book Storage Facility Update: 15 months serving the libraries

7 March 2012

The Bodleian Librariesí Book Storage Facility (BSF) in Swindon opened in November 2010. Between that time and December 2011, 7 million items were barcoded, moved to Swindon, receipted on the BSF retrieval system and shelved. Another million maps were moved to the BSF into special cabinets. Many rare, delicate or unbound items were also boxed.

Items now located in the BSF include books, manuscripts, ephemera, journals, maps, music scores, microfilms and microfiches. These had been previously held in a wide variety of locations in Oxford and outside: the New Bodleian stack, the Underground Bookstore (now the Gladstone Link), the Law Library basement, the Radcliffe Science Library, the University store at Nuneham Courtenay, and two commercial companies, DeepStore and Iron Mountain. From its opening, the BSF continued to deliver items to readers: during the period November 2010 to January 2012, 166,715 items in total.


Now that all the major moves are over, some analysis on the rates of retrieval was carried out.
Between May 2011 and January 2012, 99.6% of the items requested by readers were successfully retrieved and delivered. Deliveries occur twice daily Monday to Friday, at 7am and 12.30pm, and the shortest average time between requesting and delivery is 5.5 hours on the same day. 
As the figures demonstrate, a small percentage of requested items are not delivered to the reader immediately. There are various reasons why a request cannot be processed: a mistake in barcoding, a difficulty in matching the book from the catalogue, or delivery to the wrong reading room. These problems are being identified and fixed, some as they occur, and some through systematic projects or changes to procedures. 

As a result of the effort to inventory the Bodleian Librariesí collections in preparation for the move, over 1.8 million records were added to the catalogue, improving access for readers and speeding retrieval to the spectrum of the Bodleian Librariesí collections.  Additional projects are underway to add online records for holdings in Arabic, Chinese, Maps, and Music as well as other portions of the Bodleianís resources.

Back to top