n. (also compact storage, mobile aisle shelving, movable shelving)high-density storage consisting of mobile rows of shelvingMoss 1982, 401In one of the stack areas we were shown some new compact shelving on tracks, moved by hand cranks on the ends of the stacks. They worked very smoothly and the staff reported having no trouble with them.Gietschier 1989, 45The reader-printer proved to be a strange innovation, even to members of the editorial staff (college graduates all) and second in wonder only to the compact shelving that more than one visitor has misidentified as “a row of little safes.”Cunha 1990, 197The benefits of compact shelving for storage are undeniable but that innovation has not been without cost. The compacted bulk of the shelves and the closely packed materials on them restrict the movement of air. In some instances that has been identified as a cause of mold problems, and it also may demand more smoke detection devices and sprinklers for protection.Morrow 1990, 426The Maryland State Archives mistakenly allocated records to shelves that did not exist, because it was so difficult to visualize from the plans the way the shelving would look. They did not realize that a portion of the compact shelving was stationary, and that some shelf space was actually taken up by columns.Carmicheal 2005, 15The vaults in the building were designed to be flexible as well. Two of the four vaults were built to accommodate compact mobile shelving immediately; a third was built with tracks in the floor for eventual conversion to compact shelving.Lowe 2020, 148Shelving is another crucial factor that can either interrupt or enhance the circulation of air. Stehkämper argues that archives should stop using Kompaktus shelving, which many of us know as compact shelving. Though space saving, the design can trap heat and moisture, and inhibit air circulation. . . . According to Saïe-Belaïsch, manufacturers are designing compact shelving so that it allows for the passage of air throughout its structure. Lisbit Bailey, archivist at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, shared that a common practice with compact shelving has been to leave the shelves slightly spaced overnight to allow for ventilation when not in use.
By moving rows together, it is possible to eliminate aisles. An aisle can be created between two any rows as needed. Generally rows are parallel to each other, although they may be on a central pivot. Depending on the system, compact shelving may be moved using a manual crank or an electric motor.