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Schaefer makes history at the Bodleian

24 January 2017

The Bodleian Libraries in Oxford has turned to SSI Schaefer to provide specialist storage solutions for valuable, oversized documents.

Customised, specialist, large document and map storage systems can be difficult to find – organisations need safe, secure storage with quick and easy access. When the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford needed to safely accommodate over eight million items including the special storage of hand-drawn maps, some dating back to the 14th and 15th Century, SSI Schaefer was engaged to provide specialist advice and equipment designed to offer maximum protection to these irreplaceable documents.

A high rise, high density narrow aisle shelving structure, standing 11.4 metres high, was designed to house within it a four-level, multi-tier, walk-on racking construction supporting 320 new tailor-made steel cabinets, with room for 280 more that, together, hold over 1.2 million maps and large format items.

Based on SSI Schaefer’s proven cabinet design, a number of key modifications were drafted and built in to produce the enhanced specification which the Library Team required to facilitate item access, storage and retrieval. These included the addition of flip-over bars at the front of each drawer and extended rear cover plates, both of which were designed to stop sheets riding up at the front and rear respectively. The standard inner drawer face lip was extended to the drawer base and drawer handle screw heads were covered internally to prevent papers catching on them, while semi-round drawer handles were used to minimise the risk of trapping knuckles.

Other modifications included a significant reduction in the height of the cabinets’ plinth bases to increase storage capacity and the omission from the specification of the holes normally machined into drawer bases, which were deemed unnecessary, thereby reducing production costs.

Each drawer extends to 85% exposure when opened and the stop height was adjusted to prevent drawers from being completely pulled out.

John Duffy, Bodleian Libraries Assistant Projects Officer, said: “The system is incredibly effective and has proved its worth in keeping our valuable large size reference documents in top condition while providing considerable ease of access.”

Having proven successful, the above cabinet system was also installed in the Bodleian Libraries’ Weston Library in Oxford.

 
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