The Battle for Shelf Order

For whatever reason this turned out to be the week for bothering co-workers.  The biggest battle that ensued is worth a bit of discussion here.  We’ve been trying to break up a few of our special collections in the hopes of simplifying searches for patrons.  One of the bigger projects within this was to combine our vital records collections (separate by state + Frech Canadian records) into a single collection sorted naturally by call #.  Don’t ask me why this wasn’t done in the first place.

So this left us with a decent amount of reshelving to be done, which then led to the debate.  My view was that they should be shelved in order to make all items equally findable.  The other side was to leave them where they were, which had been optimized over the last few years such that more frequently used collections were in more accessible locations (i.e. ends of aisles).

Now that’s a fair point, and for a smaller collection (say my personal one) I’d be all for that.  But this doesn’t scale at all, and definitely feel that everytime you make an exception to how the collection is organized it becomes just a little bit more confusing and the entire system that’s in place becomes a little bit more meaningless.  Make too many exceptions and you reach a tipping point and none of the organization of the collection will appear to make any sense.

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