Sunday, May 07, 2006

If you're going to use databases, make sure they work - or why I hate the EU

Although the school year is over, and many of my friends are gone, I am sitting in the law school library on a Sunday afternoon, slaving away on my research papers.

I wouldn't say "slaving" normally to describe working on research papers - I find writing papers fun. However, I have come to feel such hatred and resentment towards the EU that this has become akin to slave labor.

Why do I hate the EU? No, it's not because of its over-ambitious integration goals. No, it's not because it diminishes national sovereignty, and in my heart I'm a nationalist. No, it's not because harmonization of various areas undermines the very being of the precautionary principle. It's because the EU's database for case law sucks.

It's very nice of the EU to make everything available for free to people around the world - I commend them for their efforts at transparency. But if you're going to make such material available, how about having a database that functions most of the time and doesn't return clearly bogus errors? Transparency isn't transparency unless you can actually get to the necessary cases.

Sometimes I have to search for a single case in many different ways until I get what I'm looking for. Sometimes I just can't find it at a given moment - but 15 minutes later, the exact same search that landed me with no results gets me what I want.

The EU websites are abominable. They are designed to be user-friendly and appeal to the lowest common denominator, but in so doing, they are made nearly unmanageable. If you're going to make something user-friendly, please keep a non-user-friendly version for dorks like me, who find it much more intuitive to navigate un-user-friendly websites.

I'm done bitching. A few minutes have elapsed. Maybe finally that elusive Pfizer case will be within my grasp...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what do you expect from a manifestation of corporatiosm that aims to replace the united states in its grey room ness?
one of the more amusing things about reading people who are bright but nevertheless imprisoned by rightism, like the british police blogger "copperfield," is their cultish conviction that bureaucracy (see india, rome or china, ~imperial, or france, ~royal) is somehow a socialist invention and marxist to its marrow. these are people who perhaps by being brits have never wrestled with a corporate delphi-powered encysting machine, as in a complaints department, or even trying to get a human to give a simple answer. they certainly have never dealt with the pleasures (in the cenobite sense) of private health care. the worst of self-perpetuating bureaucracy was decidedly antisocialist long before henry miller decribed the cosmodemonic telephone and telegraph agency.
will the eu become a worse or better version of the states?
the nationalist question is a historical amusement -- nobody would be assaulting ethnic character if it were not part of the present apparent victory of taylor and ford over everyone else, if there were no money in it, just for its own sake. the enemy is the same as in carnegie's time, but now has the good sense to transfer his treasure to euros and his lair to the alps.

by the way, negroponte might say as well as von rummsfeldt, you go to iraq with the death squads you have.

4:04 PM  

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