The independent London newspaper

Our library software is not fir for purpose

07 March, 2019

• YOUR report on West Hampstead library, (Library users want to exercise shelf control, February 28), highlights the ridiculous position on the choosing of books by a machine, presumably a pretence at Artificial Intelligence, but omits the absurd “nannying” software which prevents access by computer users to certain websites, undoubtedly a venture into the world of Artificial Foolishness. (All we need is a suggestions book, clearly on display at all libraries).

In the past this software banned the European Convention on Human Rights, a firm which sells cheap toner cartridges, spares for miniature steam engines and a site selling vitamin tablets.

Currently, among many others, it maintains a ban on a site describing how to build an interesting development, the Klingberg wing, almost certainly because the parent site has a title including the letters C, U, L, and T. in that order. If library users wish to research cults they should be able to do so. This software is not fit for purpose.

Other issues not brought up at that meeting were the replacement of comfortable chairs with nasty plastic ones, about £1,000 spent on swapping out good computer chairs with inferior ones and a failure to move books around the libraries to give change to everyone.

Having shut down the entire public access computer system for two days, we find that Internet Explorer, previously useless, continues to be so.

Nothing has changed and Firefox, which should be version 54, continues as version 38, causing problems with certain websites. A Freedom of Information request revealed that a third of all Camden library expenditure goes on the libraries’ central management office.

Our new chief executive, Jennifer Rowlands, should be advised that she may save a lot of money by either throwing it off a cliff or knocking it into shape.



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