Hamlet’s “violent” content was blocked by a London library’s Wi-Fi. A patron of the library was trying to research a line from Shakespeare’s play. When he performed the search, the library’s filters deemed the content too violent to display.
M.H. Forsyth is in the process of writing a book. He thought the London library was the perfect place to write, and do research for his book. As detailed in his blog, Forsyth wanted to look up a particular line from Hamlet.
Forsyth knew that The Massachusetts Institute of Technology provided Shakespeare’s entire catalog online, He Googled Hamlet MIT.
His search resulted in a message from the London library. Forsyth was denied access to the site due to Hamlet’s violent content.
Forsyth needed to access the content, and could not understand why an MIT site would be blocked. When he tried to access the website again, he was warned that his searches were being logged.
He approached the information desk about the issue. He explained the entire situation to the library staff.
The library’s IT staff explained that the Wi-Fi provider was blocking the content, not the library. They said there was nothing they could do.
Forsyth was even more frustrated as he noticed other library patrons using You Tube, Facebook, and other social networking sites.
Forsyth shard the incident on his blog for several reasons. He notes that in recent years the British libraries’ Wi-Fi filters have made research difficult at times.
The Wi-Fi is often “broken, slow, or filtered,” forcing researchers to use books. Ordering a book can take more than an hour, Forsyth says.
He also points out “the amusing absurdity of the greatest work of British literature being blocked by the British library.”
Following media attention, and an angry letter from Forsyth, the British library eventually fixed the problem. Hamlet’s violent content is no longer blocked by the library.
@Inkyfool Not any more! We’ve made adjustments to the filtering software 🙂
— BL Reference Service (@BL_Ref_Services) August 7, 2013
[Image via Flickr]