I recently emailed Shetland Museum and Archives seeking a copy of a document. The response received was interesting to say the least … interesting in that trying to obtain a copy of a document is nearly impossible or so expensive it’s not worth trying.
Basically I wanted a document scanned and emailed and was prepared to pay whatever the cost is because in this digital age it shouldn’t take too long or require much effort. How wrong could I be.
The answer back from the most helpful assistant was: “We do not email these documents as they have not been scanned.” However, the archives did offer to send photocopies. “There are four pages in the document which would cost £0.80 with £1.50 postage … total of £2.30.” Fair enough.
The last time I looked a “photocopier” and a “scanner” work much the same way and require about the same amount of button pressing. However, the outcome in this digital age was to burn fuel and waste paper and who knows how much time, sending four pieces of paper halfway around the world.
The method of payment is either by “cheque” (payable to Shetland Amenity Trust or in person).
Note there are no credit card facilities, astounding in the year 2010 no credit card facilities. I haven’t had a cheque book in 10 years, a money order cost more to obtain than the £2.30 amount. Or I could pay in person. Sure, I’ll just hop in a plane for 30 hours and present myself to the museum shop.
Seriously, how much did this new museum cost to build? In this age of the internet it is impossible to obtain an emailed copy of a scanned document, yet I can get a photocopy. It’s bizarre in the extreme, and no wonder people leave Shetland in droves.
I strongly urge Alistair Buchan to suspend the council and its subsidiaries, sack the lot and start again. Nothing less will drag Shetland into reality.
104 Rutledge Street,
New South Wales,