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As depicted in the title, page 1 chapter 1, Conversation with a Commissioner, what is a merc-pool in the context of this passage:

A closely coded tape reeled out of the merc-pool's vitals as the small instrument searched and analyzed its memory for the desired information stored in the tiny vibration patterns of the gleaming mercury surface within.

10

I think your question answers itself (once the typo is fixed). The line you quoted makes it pretty clear that a merc-pool is a form of data storage that uses vibration patterns within a pool of mercury to store data.

9

This is really just a footnote to Ward's answer: early computers used mercury delay lines for storing information and I'm sure Asimov knew of this when writing The Caves of Steel. As it happens, the idea has surfaced again and this is uncannily like Asimov's description of data stored in a mercury surface.

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