Request for Library Catalogue

Hugh Barnard made this Freedom of Information request to Newham Borough Council

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The request was refused by Newham Borough Council.

Dear Newham Borough Council,

This is part one of a two part request following:
REQUESTER REFERENCE: C17937
ENQUIRY REFERENCE: E34089

The principal purpose is not adversarial, it is to try and ensure that the library contains books other than YA, 'best sellers' and X for Dummies.

I'm now formally requesting a CSV (comma separated variable) file of the Newham part, rather than the complete multi-borough, book catalogue. The mandatory fields are

1.1 Title (about 20 characters, see: https://towardsdatascience.com/book-titl... )
1.2 Author (about 15 characters)
1.3 Subject category (either numeric classification or as 'words' or both) (about 10 characters)
1.4 Publication date (about 8 characters)

Total: 60 characters (let's say)

Given the informal exchange between myself and the library about the difficulties of this, I've made the following rough calculation:

350K books x 60 = 21 megabytes, zipped up probably about 10 megabytes

I'd also like the part of the database schema (qv) that deals with the catalogue.

So this can be provided as an email attachment or USB stick, it isn't big or 'private' (since taxpayer money pays for it).

Yours faithfully,

Hugh Barnard

London Borough of Newham, Newham Borough Council

 
Information request
Our reference: 817228

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London Borough of Newham, Newham Borough Council

1 Attachment

Freedom of Information request
Our reference: 817228

show quoted sections

Dear London Borough of Newham,

1. I've marked this currently as 'refused' since, with my 40 years of IT behind me, it is certainly feasible. So, if we were to change library system, the catalogue could, apparently, not be extracted, the borough libraries are, in fact, prisoners of an American for-profit collection.hq? This is a direct consequence of your answer.

2. The second part of the request the database schema has not been answered, shall I put in another request? I'd like that to be formally refused, rather than be subject to the 'public domain' sophistry ( a search facility is not the catalogue) etc. in this answer.

3. Here is sql-server: https://solutioncenter.apexsql.com/how-t... and here is some example command line sql:
SELECT title, author, date, classification FROM books WHERE
status = 'live' INTO OUTFILE 'C:/tmp/catalogue.csv'
FIELDS ENCLOSED BY '"' TERMINATED BY ',' ESCAPED BY '"' LINES TERMINATED BY '\r\n';
Not that hard, was it?

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Barnard

Dear London Borough of Newham,

1. First of all, correction, the catalogue is held in software provided by yet another American company: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SirsiDynix not CollectionHQ which uses 'algorithms' for 'performance management'.

2. Let's note that SirsiDynix has pretty negative views about open source (misrepresented in their position paper or brochure, in my opinion) too: https://file.wikileaks.org/file/sirsidyn... this suggests a taste for lock-in.

3. If someone gives me read-only access to the catalogue, documentation for the LMS and the schema, I'll attempt to extract the Newham section of the catalogue at no charge., so the £450 is not a problem.

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Barnard

London Borough of Newham, Newham Borough Council

 
Freedom of Information request - Internal Review
Our reference: 817228

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Dear Newham Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Newham Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Request for Library Catalogue'.

I've offered to do the technical work on this, to avoid time and cost for the borough. I believe that if the borough has (frankly) no way of reviewing the complete 'shelve-able' catalogue and (as in the other FOI) has a selection process that is a black box, this is not a library that is under the control of the people of the borough.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

Yours faithfully,

Hugh Barnard

Dear London Borough of Newham,

Given the national emergency, I've given this a lot of extra time. However, I'm now prepared to send it towards the ICO:

1. No answer to my offer of doing technical work to get the Newham shelved and promoted catalogue.
2. No answer to the actual procedure for 'Evidence Based Selection' just a constant repetition that the library uses it.

This series of requests are part of an effort to provide books that provoke thought, political education and critical thinking as, for example, the Newham libraries contribution to the work of the Democracy Commission.

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Barnard

London Borough of Newham, Newham Borough Council

1 Attachment

 
Freedom of Information request - Internal Review
Our reference: 817228

show quoted sections