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No Dogs Allowed

October 1, 2013

The government shutdown wasn’t disturbing my day until I discovered They shut down the Library of Congress.

What is the purpose of this, exactly? I am intimately familiar with website management and I can tell you that it takes a bit of work to do what they did. Not a lot of work, but it’s not like you’re just turning off the power. You have to write a message, post it, and redirect the URL to take users to the new page. It’s easier to leave the site running than to do what they did. So why do it?

It’s possible they were concerned about getting emails through the site while there was no one there to answer them. Although I can tell you that not replying to emails is a longstanding problem for the LOC. I don’t mean this in a disparaging way. The several LOC librarians I’ve worked with over the years have all been wonderful. But they’re overworked and just don’t have the bandwidth to handle everything.

More likely they are doing it to make a point. But I’m finding it hard not to see it as a metaphor — the ultra-right once again denying access to research, denying free access to information to the taxpayers who fund it.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. crankygirl permalink
    October 2, 2013 1:32 pm

    That’s odd–Pubmed is still functional.

  2. October 2, 2013 9:34 pm

    Dr. Geek pointed me toward this post about the arbitrariness of it all: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/shutdown-of-us-government-websites-appears-bafflingly-arbitrary/

  3. October 4, 2013 7:39 am

    I like the snarky tone of this article: http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/library-babel-fish/why-you-cant-have-nice-things

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