Thursday, October 3, 2013

lost in Congress

The obituaries for Tom Clancy have all been reporting his remark that among his motivations to publish his first novel was a desire to be listed in the Library of Congress catalog.

Well, as of a couple of days ago, he wasn't listed there any more, and neither was anybody else. The entire LC website was taken offline because of the government shut down.

However, I've just checked and it's back. I felt a weird sense of dislocation on finding the online catalog available, though with a notice reading " In the event of a temporary shutdown of the federal government, beginning Tuesday, October 1, the LC Online Catalog will be inaccessible." Have I been time-tripped back to before October 1?

(I see also that they've recently installed a - so far only optional - "new version" with a vastly worse interface, which is the way most library online catalogs are going, and I'm powerless to stop this imbecility. Not at all the first really bad change in cataloging practice that I've had to live through, either.)

I hadn't thought that the shutdown would affect me at work, but I was forcibly reminded that it would on Wednesday. We take our cataloging records from LC via a "search and grab" program, and, surprise surprise, it wasn't working, nor on the other catalog databases (which were still up) that we use as backups. I phoned our vendor this morning (they're near Toronto, so they're not available most of the afternoon our time) and they told me of a back-door entrance that still worked. I went in to work and tried it, and it did, but now I'll have to see what else is going on.

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