"Not Required" Fields in Request Forms -- They Still Add Value

If you are a regular user of KSL's ILLiad service, you are already well aware that certain fields in the request forms are marked with an asterisk, "*" (in red). These are designated as "required fields", and if you attempt to submit your transaction without entering some appropriate information, you will receive one or more error messages at the top of the page and your transaction will not be accepted. On the other hand, there are also various fields not so marked, but which we highly recommend that you complete whenever the additional information is available to you. Doing so frequently assists us in expediting the processing of your request.

Below is a brief survey of some of those "not required" fields you may encounter in various request forms that still are typical elements of article and book citations, along with some commentary on their usefulness and (in some cases) how to best cite them...

Article Author -- If you don't have an exact article title, or have indicated it as "unknown", the author's name is extremely helpful. Sometimes more than one article may have the same title or similar titles, and knowing the author (or authors) helps to distinguish them. Also, if you don't have the exact page numbers, the author's name helps narrow down what the article is.

Chapter Author -- Similar to an article author, especially when chapters in a single book are contributed by multiple authors. Also very useful when you don't have an exact chapter title or exact pages.

Issue Number -- Complementary to the volume number, making it easier to locate an article in a journal where a volume is comprised of numerous issues. Also very helpful when you don't have exact page numbers. You don't need to precede it with the word "Issue". By the way, when citing a volume number (which is required), you don't need to use "Volume", either.

Volume or Part -- In the case of Book Chapters -- when an excerpt appears somewhere within a large multi-part book series, anthology or encyclopedia, this certainly makes tracking it down a lot quicker and easier. Note: "Volume" is always a required field for Journal Articles.

Chapter Number -- If you know this, it considerably pinpoints the citation, especially when you don't know the chapter title, author or exact pages. Not necessary to precede the number with "Chapter".

Month/Quarter/Date -- "January", "Spring", "July 4", for example -- not including the year, which should be indicated in its own field. This helps to concur with the issue number, or identifies the issue if you do not know its number.

Publisher -- As many journals and books have identical or similar titles, but different publishers, this certainly helps to resolve any possible ambiguities.

Place of Publication -- This complements the publisher information, and may help with identifying different regional editions of the same publication (i.e., newspapers and magazines).

Date of Publication -- For books and monographs, this will concur with the specific edition you may require.

Edition -- You may wish to be very specific about this when requesting a book. If you also have indicated that you will not accept an alternate edition, we must first know exactly which one you actually do want.

ISSN -- This number helps us track down exact journals or serials, and should always be in one of these formats: '0317-8471' or '2434-561X'. Often it helps us search both print and electronic versions available for the same title. Please enter only one in the data field, and do not precede with "ISSN" or include additional punctuation. Extra ISSN's can be entered into the "Notes" field.

ISBN -- This number helps us locate specific editions of books, and exists in formats of the following types: '978-3-16-148410-0', '0-684-84328-5' or '0-8044-2957-X'. Hyphens may vary in position, or be omitted. Please enter only one of these in the data field, and do not precede with "ISBN" or include additional punctuation. Extra ISBN's can be entered into the "Notes" field, as well.

Call Number -- Library of Congress, Dewey and National Library of Medicine are the most common standards for this identifier. It is often very useful in helping to locate a book, both physically in library collections and in catalogs and other electronic databases. Just keep in mind, if what you have isn't a genuine call number, please don't enter it in the "Call Number" field.

OCLC Number -- This one's is extremely useful, especially if you provide one that indicates a large number of holdings (preferably in U.S. locations). It will always consist of only digits, usually no more that 9 in length at latest count. Again, if what you have is not an actual OCLC Accession Number, please don't enter it into the "OCLC Number" field.

Notes -- This is a "catch-all", where you can indicate additional ISSN's, ISBN's, DOI's, online citation URL's and the like, as well as any special request details or other helpful directive information. If there isn't a labelled field in the request form for what you might have, this is the place for it.

Well, this is all I've got for now (and perhaps not-so-brief). Hopefully you'll find it of help, anyway.

Interlibrary Loan or ILLiad questions? As always, contact us by phone at 216-368-3463 or 216-368-3517, or by e-mail at smithill@case.edu.

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