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Project ARS

One of the less publicized parts of the new J&CSIC (Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center) at Sonoma State University is the ARS (Automated Retrieval System elsewhere called "AS/RS" or "ASRS" for "Automated Storage and Retrieval System" and the new name by HK Systems as ALSS for "Automated Library Storage System" and others as LASS for "Library Automated Storage System".) This is a mechanized system meant to work with the new Online Catalog called Snoopy to serve our patrons.

"We have chosen to use a Linux kernel as the heart of our Operating System controlling the ARS operation for its robustness, fault tolerance, efficiency, aggressive development cycles, detailed documentation, and excellent support."

(More below)

General Overview:

    Sometimes called an AS/RS (Automated Storage / Retrieval System), "Book Robot", "ASR" (Automated Storage Robot), or "ARS" (Automated Retrieval System), the SSU Library ARS is an Automated Retrieval System for patrons to gain access to infrequently used books and documents. The complete system has been constructed for SSU by HK Systems. It uses a central manager system, which is separate from the Snoopy on-line catalog, to keep track of bin contents and direct cranes to pickup bins containing item requests from patrons. Software running on this Manager is used by library employees to tell an aisle crane to retrieve the next bin containing a the next requested item. [Image: Still image of crane with bin] This ARS Manager system is connected to the III Public Access Catalog called Snoopy. As of January 27, 2001, about 240,000 items are stored in the ARS. These items are available with access through Snoopy at http://iii.sonoma.edu/.) Patrons may search for library items through this web-based Snoopy interface much like any other library without an ARS. If an Item is shelved, or stored in a place other than the ARS, the patron may locate the item for examination much like a patron might look for a shelved item in any other library: they would visit the shelf or storage space as noted in the record for the item they looked up in the catalog. However, if an item is stored in the ARS, the patron is informed the location is indeed "ARS" and they have an option to request an item to be pulled from the ARS on that same screen. If the patron chooses to request the item from the ARS, they are requested to fill in a name to use when picking up the item at our service desk. After the item is found in the ARS by a library employee, it is delivered to the appropriate service desk. The patron may then pick up the item they have requested from the specified service desk.

    Our library also has an "ETV" (Electronic Track Vehicle). This miniature truck, runs to 4 different library locations as specified by a library employee at any of the 4 delivery stations. The ETV was not created by HK Systems and was not part of the ARS. TransLogic created the ETV we use in our library. The 4 locations available for ETV delivery include: ARS Chamber, First Floor Circulation Desk, Second Floor Information Desk, and Third Floor Preshelving. Use of the ETV to convey items from the ARS to the First Floor Circulation Desk has been limited as books can more quickly be moved by a library employee with a hand truck.

    I have constructed two example of ARS requests being performed from Snoopy on the Web. One uses a Netscape browser, and the other uses a LYNX browser:

    HK Systems has provided some literature in PDF format to describe their product. This original document is Copyrighted by HK Systems. Permission for me to republish this was granted to me by HK Systems for non-commercial, personal web browsing purposes. If you do not have a PDF viewer, you may need to download one. Adobe makes a PDF reader called Adobe Acrobat Reader and you can download it from them for free for many popular OS such as Linux (x86), as well as MacOS and Windows.

    Have you ever wondered what kinds of errors might be presented to a patron requesting items from the ARS? Have you ever encountered an odd numbered code when using Snoopy at the SSU Library to request an item from the ARS? Have you ever wondered what the errors actually mean and how they can come to be? You may want to consult a lookup table for ARS communication status. Its purpose is to answer these questions and more!

Comments and/or suggestions?: Email me at: dugan@passwall.com

Copyright/Trademark information:
  • HK Systems, Mini-Loader 750, ALSS (Automated Library Storage System) and other documents as specified here are controlled by Trademark and/or Copyright by HK Systems. Permission for my redistribution of these was granted to me from HK Systems for information purposes only. The information provided may not be used for commercial purposes unless you have written permission from HK Systems. If you wish to use any content provided by HK Systems, please contact them as I have no authority to offer authorization for more than non-commercial personal web use.
  • Peanuts, Snoopy, Woodstock, and Charlie Brown are all names controlled by Copyright or Trademark by United Feature Syndicate, Inc. Permission for Sonoma State University to use these names for naming parts of the Jean and Charles Schulz Information center was granted. My references to these names are not to the characters from the comic strip Peanuts, but to the names assigned by the SSU Library and SSU at SSU.
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