The doings of American philologasters are, in truth, a curious study.

Things I’ve Learned Today…

Rutgers has no central repository for employee data.  All of this information is kept on Rolodex at each individual unit. Thus, a research or teaching assistant who is hired in one unit must be rehired (and must resubmit all personal information, including name, address, taxpayer ID, date of birth, and so forth) each time s/he moves to another unit (this happens more often than you might think; Steve Caruso, for example, has already served Rutgers at SCI, CMES, and AMESALL, and has had to be rehired and laboriously reëntered into the system each time).

Rutgers has apparently never conducted any business with the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). I discovered this when Rutgers requested that the BnF apply for approval as a “new supplier” before Rutgers would pay for some digital reproductions of manuscripts in their collections.  This is another laborious process that involves filling internal forms, applying for an American taxpayer ID (through the IRS) as well as completing a W9 form, and waiting copious amounts of time.  The thought of the national library of France applying for an American taxpayer ID, let alone applying for the privilege of becoming Rutgers’ newest “supplier” alongside such giants of industry as the people who make all of the Rutgers-themed paraphernalia, boggles the mind.

Rutgers has a world-class French Department, and one would have thought that someone, at some point, would have had some business to conduct with the BnF. Apparently not, although I suspect that someone must have and that they’re probably still waiting on the response.  While it might be fun to watch two sclerotic government bureaucracies “race” to fulfill a request (forget “The Tortoise and the Hare” … think “The Tortoise and the Snail” or perhaps “Molasses in January versus A Week in Jail”), I think I’ll probably just shell the money for the reproductions out of my own pocket and take the hit.


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