The library at Southern Methodist University has a moving shelf system to increase the space utilization. I used to worry that some one would come along and start cranking the shelves and smash me. Luckily, the shelf system designers knew that I would have this fear and installed floor sensors that keep the shelves from moving while someone is stepping on it.



Mistake-proofing category: Mistake prevention
Setting function: Physical
Regulatory function: Shutdown
Source: Off-the-shelf


Secondary Problems (side effects, weakness or concerns) with this example:

The shelf system may save space, but the books can only be accessed by one person at a time (unless by a stroke of luck everyone wants to browse in the same aisle). A person who wants a book in another aisle must wait in line until the present user is done browsing. Thus it is unusable in a normal public library, where there are a lot of users at once and some of them take their time browsing books on the shelf. This moving shelf system is only practical in a private library, or in a library where only the librarian can access the stacks.


Sources of Supply:

See also:

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