Monday, 10 September 2007

Forms, requirements, entry barriers, sulking

I don't know whether you've ever had the misfortune of losing your passport. I have. You have to answer some stupid questions on a form in order to get a new one. I need a passport for some upcoming international librarianing (which may or may not be happening in February, but would make my Chartership submission pretty much unstoppable), so I need to get my act together.

The form asks me where I lost my passport. Erm, if I knew that, it wouldn't be lost. My answer to this question is "Bolton". I'll probably end up on one of those junk emails my sister forwards to everyone she knows, as an example of how some idiot has filled a form in wrong. I'm pretty sure I lost my passport somewhere in the borough though...

Another question asks whether you've reported the loss to the Police. You can answer Yes or No to this. A note next to the question tells you that reporting it is compulsory: you cannot get a new passport without reporting your old one lost. So why is there a No option if I have to do it anyway?

I hope library membership forms aren't this hard to cope with. We ask for two proofs of ID; I'm likely to have to provide a similar number for my passport, one of which is basically one of my friends vouching for me. So, in effect, is our library membership procedure more exclusive than a passport? I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that: we should be minimising entry barriers, not building them up.