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The LAC, Extremist Websites, and book Classification

Recently, on Twitter, Asher_Wolf</a> commented on what happened to the Daniel Domscheit-Berg book “Inside Wikileaks” and how it was classified as an extremist website. First, it was about Australia classifying it as an extremist book. I mostly ignored it because it’s Australia, a country that I don’t live in. Then I saw a screenshot of Amicus, and saw that Canadian Libraries, maybe even LAC, classified it this way. I sent a question/complaint, and got this response in my e-mail:

Dear Mr. Bowser: We thank you for your feedback regarding the use of the subject heading "extremist web sites" in the AMICUS national union catalogue. May I ask if you are referring to this publication by German author, Daniel Domscheit-Berg? 1. English version and electronic resource: NAME(S):*Domscheit-Berg, Daniel Ebooks Corporation TITLE(S): Inside WikiLeaks : my time with Julian Assange at the world's most dangerous website PUBLISHER: Carlton North : Scribe Publications Pty Ltd, 2011. 2. The French translation : NAME/TITLE:*Domscheit-Berg, Daniel. WikiLeaks : meine zeit bei der gefahrlichsten Website der Welt. Français NAME(S): Klopp, Tina TITLE(S): Inside WikiLeaks : dans les coulisses du site Internet le plus dangereux du monde / Daniel Domscheit-Berg ; propos recueillis par Tina Klopp ; traduit de l'allemand par Stéphanie Alglave, Cybèle Bouteiller, Myriam Gallot et Mathilde Régent PUBLISHER: Paris : B. Grasset, 2011 DESCRIPTION: 329 p. : ill. ; 21 cm. 3. and the original German version: NAME(S):*Domscheit-Berg, Daniel Klopp, Tina TITLE(S): Inside WikiLeaks : meine Zeit bei der gefährlichsten Website der Welt / Daniel Domscheit-Berg ; aufgeschrieben von Tina Klopp PUBLISHER: Berlin : Econ, 2011. DESCRIPTION: 302 p. ; 21 cm. These titles were not catalogued by Library and Archives Canada (LAC) staff nor are they held in the LAC collection. These bibliographic records, which are part of the AMICUS National Union Catalogue, originate from other Canadian libraries who have acquired these items for their local collections. Hundreds of Canadian libraries contribute their library records into the AMICUS national union catalogue as a way of sharing Canadian library resources. It is common practice among Canadian libraries to share cataloguing data and source bibliographic data from data suppliers such as the publisher CIP metadata, Library of Congress, etc. You have probably already noted that the same subject heading has been applied to the publication in other sites such as amazon.com and OCLC's worldcat.org Given that we don't have the publications in question, we are not able to assess if the use of "extremist web sites" is, as you suggest, "an unjust classification". However, we can certainly alert the contributing Canadian libraries to this concern that you've expressed. Kind regards, Eileen Lim Gestionnaire intérimaire, Réseaux de bases de données | Acting Manager, Database Networks Direction générale Société et expression culturelle | Society and Cultural Expression Branch Bibliothèque et Archives Canada | Library and Archives Canada Gatineau, Canada K1A 0N4 eileen.lim@bac-la </blockquote> So, it seems that the heading comes from the Library of Congress, and that Canadian Libraries put the classification. It should be noted that I didn't realize that this was a cross-canada search when I sent this complaint/question. I then looked at who the hell classified it in Canada, and lo and behold, it's VPL. The Vancouver Public Library and the Burnaby Public Library are the only libraries that have the WikiLeaks book in the first place. What's interesting is that they also have David Leigh's book about WikiLeaks and it doesn't share the same classification (although so far it's more interesting that DDB's whining about Julian being his best friend who stabbed him in the back). I'll ask around about the classification at VPL and what caused them to classify it like this. It seems strange that VPL would do this, but I have no idea. That's basically where this ended up. Side note: Having to provide your address and name through an unencrypted form is FAIL! I wish govt. institutions use SSL. It's 2011 for crying out loud!