Thursday, 11 October 2012


On Sunday, 7 October 2012, at Tunbridge Wells Reference Library I was told that I could not login to the Internet for an unknown reason. Although others could do so, my card details were not accepted by any of the three PCs I tried that day.

I was told that this might be because of my use of a lower-case D when I login, but I have been using lower-case letters for a long time, so this was not the issue.

I logged in to the Library Catalogue to demonstrate that my card still worked to be told that this was likely to be because the library uses two completely separate software systems. Yet, this is as unlikely as it would be a computational waste of time. Having two separate user databases would increase search times, error-rates and duplication, as well as being a direct violation of the very concept of relational databases: The reduction of data-storage redundancy. In any case, I was not told this before logging-on to make my point.

The same problem occurred the following day – Monday, 8 October 2012.

In the end, the real problem here is that whenever you revise the library computer systems, three things happen:

  1. The system is harder to use;
  2. it is less effective; &/or,
  3. the system fails altogether.

Why does this happen?

Copyright © 2012 Frank TALKER. Permission granted to reproduce and distribute it in any format; provided that mention of the author’s Weblog ( is included: E-mail notification requested. All other rights reserved.

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