Archives for the Month of May 2017 on Carl's ILLiad Blog

Citing OCLC Numbers -- Optimization vs. Obfuscation?

While we greatly appreciate the entry of an appropriate OCLC Accession Number into the "OCLC Number" field in your ILLiad request form, it is only truly helpful when it actually assists ILL staff in narrowing down our search for useable potential supplier holdings. Below is an illustrative example from real life (in this case, an actual "Book" loan request)...

Title: Itinéraires du Psautier huguenot à la Renaissance.
Author: Weeda, Robert.
Imprint: Turnhout: Brepols, 2009.
ISBN: 978-2-503-53071-0.

A search in OCLC WorldCat by either title string or ISBN produces 6 OCLC bibliographic records, as follow...

* #424137378, with 32 holding libraries, 12 suppliers in US, 4 international suppliers
* #494478032, with 31 holding libraries, no US locations, no suppliers
* #698882233, with 6 holding libraries, no US locations, no suppliers
* #891219649, with 2 holding libraries, no US locations, no suppliers
* #901761666, with 2 holding libraries, no US locations, no suppliers
* #876669379, with 1 holding library, no US locations, no suppliers

Now which one of these do you think is the best to cite when submitting your ILL request? We suggest you gravitate towards using those that include US locations first, then Canadian, United Kingdom and Australian locations. Please avoid those listing continental European and other international locations, if at all possible and only as a last resort.

So the answer should be OCLC #424137378--right? This is because potential lenders tend to be more likely located in the US, then in Canada and the UK, and then less so in the remaining geographical areas respectively. While we do not expect you to be able to ascertain which listed locations are potential ILL suppliers (as this aspect is not visible in the results of a public OCLC WorldCat search), the preceding rule of thumb is fairly serviceable.

Also, remember to enter only one OCLC number into the "OCLC Number" field, and any additional suggested alternatives into the "Notes" field of your request form. Finally, be sure that what you are referring to as an "OCLC Number" is actually that, and not an ISBN, ISSN, LC Call Number, DOI number, or the like. These should only be entered into their respective fields, or otherwise into the "Notes" field.

Please note that I have previously elaborated on aspects of this topic in further detail in my entry from November 21, 2014, if you're interested.

And just an FYI...

"Optimization", noun--definition: "the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource"--but you already knew this.

"Obfuscation", noun--definition: "the action of making something obscure, unclear, or unintelligible"--in case you didn't know.

As always, hope this has been helpful. Have a good Summer!

For assistance with ILLiad and Interlibrary Loan, please contact the Kelvin Smith Library ILL staff by phone at 216-368-3463 or 216-368-3517, or by e-mail at smithill@case.edu.