03 November, 2010

unsubscribing from OZTL_NET : a complex 37 part process?

It must be weeks since I have offended anyone on the oztl_net list by trying to be funny in a format without subtlety or a sarcasm font, so when I sent this email off I prefaced it with "please remember I am trying to be funny but, that many a true word has been said in jest".

I am scared,
scared about what those of us working in school libraries seem incapable of doing and this constant inability to unsubscribe from a basic e-list is one of the things which scares me. We are working in a field chock full of technological bells and whistles. We are the gatekeepers (or perhaps keymasters) of information retrieval. We should be guiding young people in strategies to help them find information hidden in the deep web.

Yet some of us can't manage to type oztl_net unsubscribe into Google?
Hell, this isn't the deep web, nor the hidden web. oztl_net is not hidden behind a pay wall. And as people on the list were discussing just a week or so ago, it is using very old (in web terms) technology.

Why is it then, that people who are supposed to be able to find information for a living are unable, or unwilling, to type 20 characters into a google search box? Seriously, that is 120 characters less than a tweet. Some of you (judging by an earlier topic) are keying in call numbers longer than that.

So, those of you thinking of unsubscribing from this list plese note, it isn't hard BUT if you can't work out how to do it for yourself, then you probably need the people on this list because I doubt your ability to deal with the IT component of a school library without the regular contributors here to help you.
I mean, you obviously need help not just in web searching, but also some help in managing that complex new technology 'email'.
(how difficult is it to set up a separate folder for all your oztl_net emails to drop into? Not very - really. Want to know how? Then use Google and do a search. If you can't work out how to find that information on Google then, please consider another career path because if the year three kids in your school are better at one of your key competencies that you are... well (do I need to finish that thought?)

So, the last person who emailed "please unsubscribe me from the list" to EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE LIST! Well, I unsubscribed them. No, I am not a mod, or an admin (nor even a modmin). I am just; capable of using Google, capable of reading comprehension and then capable of following a 2 step process. And before I berated people for their inability to do such a simple task, I wanted to make sure it was really as simple as I had imagined every time I have read identical requests.

you go to;
(where the email address at the end is yours rather than one I invented in order to mock you).
then you press 'unsubscribe'

That is it.

You shouldn't need 2 degrees and a grad cert to be able to manage this.
And, if you are working in a school library and the process of finding this out is too hard for you, please, do me a favour. Don't ever accept a job at my kids' schools.


Andrew said...

I fail to see the funny part of this post...

But really, my concern would be that people will just assume that you're being facetious, when, in fact, you are earnestly raising some good points.

heyjude said...

I can see the funny side...really I can. But I can also see that many people would not have giggled like I did. What you meant to point out is that information professionals...should be able to deal with information.. :-)

David Linke said...

I laughed out loud!!!!

The funniest thing I have ever read from OZTL, and absolutely educational at the same time.

I think this post should inform the interview questions for TL positions into the future.

Thank you :-)

Andrew said...

There's a subtle difference between comedy and tragedy. I feel that this falls into the latter... ;)

18 Channels said...


The problem is absolutely not that information professionals should be able to deal with information, it's that they should simply not make it so effing hard to unsubscribe from a list. Period. The problem is not librarians, the problem is inefficient programming. Yeah...that's right, let's start a librarian's vs. programmers war, right here and now, but I'm not joking...inefficient, clunky interfaces are an unforgivable obstacle to information access. As a librarian, that bothers me!

18 Channels said...

I would just like to clarify that I DO in fact know how to create a separate folder, and I DO in fact know how to follow a 37,000 step process to unsubscribe from a list...it just irks me that it has to go there, and by irks, I mean it's so irksome that it's hilarious...

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled in here but it seems to be you're poking at people for slight technical infractions when your heading has a typo: THE RANTS AND HOWLS OF A LIBRARIAN, BLESSED BY BY BACCHUS WITH THE GIFT OF ADHD.

(Two by's)

saoghalbeag said...

I agree with the other issues mentioned here - every time I check my Inbox I want to scream. How is it that a profession supposedly at the 'forefront' of technology persists in using such a clunky, user UNfriendly format??

And it's not just OZTL: I belong to international, state and regional TL lists, Ozteachers, Shanghai Librarians, Bookmark support and a few others and can't understand why they persist with the listserv. If ESL teachers in China, learners of Scottish Gaelic and the poorly paid backpacker hostel managers of the world can put their heads together and create proper forums, why the hell can't the librarians do it????

I was guilted by your post into finally setting up extra folders to receive all the list emails - I'd put it off due to slow connection and lack of time rather than technophobia but glad for the prod as it has made life a whole lot easier.

rajiv said...

I don't find anything funny, this post was never intended to be funny, come on this guy has written the stuff so seriously, and you guys here are trying to make it funny.

Terry said...

I just delete them its not a big deal to me.

Mrs. Stewart said...

Ah you gatekeepers with your hidden html code. Clicking on "unsubscribe" just "agrees" that you will continue to receive them and that you've agreed to several other obscure listserves as well.