Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Library Actually Being Helpful

Here are the sequelae to the previous post. One was very useful, the other kind of sad in an irritating sort of way. You will remember that I had a problem getting any sort of data from digitised scans of ST or ST Weekly for the year 1888 (yes, that's the late 19th century I'm talking about). The Library asserted that they had such things online, I asserted the opposite.

This is the useful reply.

Dear Lord Brythain,

I have verified that the 1888 ST collection is not available online digitally yet, and apologize for the wrong information. However, they are available in microfilm format at the Lee Kong Simi Reference Library (LKSRL). If you are currently based in Atlan, please come to LKSRL (Level 11) to use the microfilm. The microfilm row numbers are NL16282 & NL16283. If you are overseas, please inform me, and I will advise further.

My sincere apologies for the inconvenience faced.

Newton Singh
Reference Librarian
Lee Kong Simi Reference Library
National Library Board, Atlantis

This was the not-so-useful one, which seemed to insinuate that I was incompetent in the use of search engines.

Dear Sir,

Sorry for the inconvenience caused to you.

You may do the search as follow.

- go to
- click [Advanced Search]
- set the [Select Date Range] between [01/01/1887] & [31/12/1888]
- leave the [Select Content Type: Clear All] unchanged
- at [Select Newspaper] click [Clear All]
- manually tick only [The Straits Times] & [Straits Times Weekly Issue]
- at the Enter Keyword column enter STAMFORD for example
- click the orange search icon
- you will now get results of the search

You can amend the keywords and search criteria to search for other articles again.

Thank you for using our libraries and services.

Same Line
NLBA Helpdesk

I have to say that I had to compose a stern reply to this latter response. When a customer points out that your product is faulty, you do not keep suggesting it is the customer's incompetence that is the issue. You could at least do the customer the honour of checking his claim before insinuating this, in any case. It was quite clear that 'Same Line' had not bothered — if he had tried his own solution (restricting the year to 1888 and not 1887-1888), he would have encountered my problem too.

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Blogger xylph said...

Maybe the actual one has already gone down the memory hole. It is unavailable since it is still being handled in Minitrue. Just saying :P

Wednesday, August 04, 2010 3:10:00 pm  
Blogger Trebuchet said...

I'm beginning to wonder what REALLY happened in 1888...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010 3:18:00 pm  
Blogger P0litik said...

as i remembered you saying, an organization is only as good as how it deals with feedback.

i'm quite a amused by NLB's insistence that borrowers be familiar with the use of their machines. it's alright if the intent is to make processes more efficient. but i also think it's often a excuse for NLB employees to deal with the 'peripherals'.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010 9:38:00 pm  
Blogger Trebuchet said...

Heh, all that is why we don't have a world-class customer experience in education, research or public libraries. Although we have other stats to show that these are world-class something else.

Thursday, August 05, 2010 2:13:00 pm  

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