DLand - Checks and Balances

It's tax day in the United States. A family tradition for my folks. I'm helping this year by calculating Daddy's mileage and copying forms for Mom. If I can hold out I might make the midnight run to the post office downtown too. Ah, just like old times. I had to generate a report today for one of our sites. It was a pretty simple list - one of all articles received over the last year within the "copyright guidelines" (publication date within last five years of which they received more than five articles that calendar year). That's not important. What's important is why I had to make this report.

This site (who we'll call University X to protect the clueless) decided that they didn't want to process copyright within our system like it was designed. They didn't claim to have time to spend 30 seconds on each request as it came in to fill out the CCC information (per page fee, royalty costs, etc.). University X said that normally they wait until the end of the year and process copyright all at once. Ooooookay. If you say so.

We're smart and we've designed a very flexible and dynamic piece of software that let's people shoot themselves in the foot. We route the requests past copyright processing automatically and let them all merrily roll along in the interlibrary loan process. Today, however, is when I got to thumb my nose at them.

They had no ISSNs recorded for their requests. They never recorded the number of pages for each article. And they certainly didn't look up any copyright fees yet. So, they will have to do that for all the articles now. All 3921 of them (that's what my report returned). So let's say they're fast and they can look up the information for each of these requests in 30 seconds. Anyone who's actually been to the Copyright Clearance Center website would know that's a joke (yes, I know, all three of you). If you do the math, that's over 32 hours of looking up copyright info. And the report is due at the end of the month. Did I mention that they've only been using our software since the middle of 2001 so they have to import their old database as well? Ah yes, University X - you guys are soooo smart. This is muuuuuuch better than our way of doing it.

Then again, I'm calculating mileage for the entire calendar year of 1998 in Excel for my parents tonight. Never put off what you can do today.