Archives for the Month of July 2013 on Carl's ILLiad Blog

Planning Your Use of ILLiad Loaned Materials

Here is my modest attempt to help our ILLiad users follow a mindful strategy for their time frame regarding loans required through interlibrary loan services...

We suggest that you submit requests for loans reasonably close in advance of when they are needed, yet still with enough leeway to accommodate any unexpected delays. We also discourage placing requests extremely far ahead in time, on the other hand. We realize this is a somewhat tricky and arbitrary recommendation, but we ask that you please consider that it is not possible for us to 'schedule' with much accuracy the time of receipt, length of loan, renewal and restriction policies, etc., due to varying factors involved in dealing with diverse lending institutions.

Here are some ballpark suggestions on thoughtfully timing the submission of your loan requests to better coincide with your research time frame. For example, if numerous copies appear to be available in known potential lender libraries (i.e., upon searching the OCLC WorldCat holdings database), say ~150 or more--and none are also available for direct online request through OhioLINK, of course--7 to 10 days are reasonable. However, if considerably fewer are available, around 50-150, 10 to 14 days may be more reasonable. If it is much less common, say 10-50, 2-4 weeks is a more likely expectation.

Items with holdings of fewer than 10 should be considered 'rare', and may require at least one month, if they are available (i.e., allowed to circulate by potential lenders and not currently in use). Very rare or old materials may be restricted, if library policies allow them to be lent at all -- often on a case-by-case basis. Theses and dissertations, which in their original form are often only held in 1 or 2 locations (i.e., of the granting institution), may require 10-14 days, if they are allowed to circulate from those collections at all. UMI and other authorized duplications in print or on microfilm might also be held at more numerous additional locations, and may be supplied in slightly less time.

In the case of some very rare items, it may require 2-3 months to obtain them. Since most potential lenders engaged in these types of loans are highly unlikely to lend out the actual materials, they often may require the ILL transactions to be converted into duplication requests. Occasionally they might also require copyright release authorization for completion of processing, and our you the use may be obligated to personally sign an associated release form bearing on the limits of their use of such materials. Of course, once a request is changed from a loan to a copy, due dates are no longer relevant while download access time limits then become a factor.

In any case, we recommend keeping the following guidelines in mind when requesting borrowable materials, with regard to your research logistics:

* Avoid requesting items too far in advance, but try not to do so too close to the time they are needed.

* Please take into consideration whether or not you plan to be off campus or otherwise out of the area on a long-term basis, prior to submitting loan requests. Received loans will only be available for pick-up from the time they arrive until the time they reach their due date.

* ILL staff cannot guarantee when loans will be supplied by potential lenders, and exactly how quickly they will be received (and by what method). You can always indicate a need for 'RUSH' service in the notes of your request, so we can at least indicate to potential lenders of the need for special retrieval and shipping service levels.

* ILL staff cannot guarantee length of loan periods and renewal policies, or whether other restrictions might be applied. This is all determined by the policies of the lender institutions.

* Expected loan periods cannot be regarded as indefinite. Nor can they be considered uniform across all possible suppliers.

* We can only borrow particular items from those potential lenders that both hold the required items and also allow them to circulate. When we accept their services, we must abide by any varying lending policies, as failure to respect their requirements can endanger future interlibrary relations.

* Notifications for pick-up are sent out at time of receipt. We use the e-mail address that is currently in your ILLiad account to send you these messages, so please make sure it is one you check regularly.

* Loans must be picked up in timely fashion and returned on time. We recommend you sign them out within 10 days of notification for maximum usage, although they will be held until the designated due date.

* Reminders are routinely sent out if materials are not picked up by their due date, as a courtesy. You may let us know if items are still needed, or you can indicate they are no longer required and can be returned. Any loans not signed out by the end of the loan period will be pulled off the hold shelf and sent back to the lender without notice.

* Renewals (if allowed by the lender) must be requested in advance of due date. This is normally within a 5-day frame at the end of the original loan period. Contact ILL staff if you are not able to do so yourself at this point, but keep in mind that renewal requests made on overdue items are often denied.

* Renewal requests can only be submitted for items that are currently checked out, so you need to sign out any loans before you plan to have the due date extended.

* Notices are sent out in advance of due date -- if the item is checked out -- to allow you the opportunity to request your renewals at the appropriate point through your ILLiad account. Details on how to do this are included in the text of these messages.

* Overdue notices are sent out after after the due date. Any checked-out loans that are 14 or more days past the due date will cause your ILLiad account to become blocked, partially restricting the ILL services available to you until such transactions are cleared.

* Rare materials already borrowed and used once may not be available from lenders again in the near future. We recommend you make optimal use of them while you have your initial access.

We offer these suggestions and policy explanations to help afford better use of ILL loans in conjunction with your projected research target dates. If this in any way improves your experience with obtaining loan resources in coordination with your needs, we've achieved an important objective.