According to legends circulating in the 1970s, in the British Library books are searched for by examining each book sequentially in the first shelf, then the next shelf, continuing until the book is found or the entire library has been searched.
The term was referred to in a Dutch coursebook, "Inleiding In De Informatica" (Introduction to Informatics) from a course given by C.H.A. Koster and Th.A. Zoethout. This was based on a course given at the TU Berlin.