One of the most impressive aspects of the development of library automation has been the way that those involved at early stages had the vision to see possibilities far beyond the capacity of existing and planned technology. 1996 marks the 30th anniversary of some of the earliest major experiments in the libraries of the Universities of both Newcastle and Southampton. The pioneers of circulation systems — introducing batch mode, punched card‐based behemoths which almost certainly were less efficient than the manual systems they replaced — deserve credit, at least in retrospect, for their ability to see beyond immediate problems to a more promising future.
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