or one of a number of library networks, like RapidILL. If a library does not
participate in an organized network, an IFLA form or a simple e-mail message
will suffice in getting the request started.
In most cases, journals published outside of the US are available in US
research library collections where discovery, requesting, and payment for ILL
transactions are facilitated by resource-sharing services. Lending of returnables
presents a number of challenges. Libraries are generally unable to lend originals
internationally because international mail service may be unreliable, because
shipments usually cannot be tracked, and because of difficulties passing material
through customs. Finally, even when libraries are willing to lend originals across
borders, costs for shipping are frequently prohibitive for both the requesting and
the supplying libraries.
Interlibrary loan services are becoming more seamless for both the libraries
and the user. The requesting process has become almost invisible to both the
user and the borrowing library. In fact, the borrowing library staff may not even
be involved in the request, other than learning that the request has been made
and fulfilled (delivered electronically). In the automated environment, the user
requests a desired title. The system identifies holding libraries based on pre-set
profiles that locate the item and create a request. The request routinely progresses
until a library indicates that they are able to fulfill it. Any transaction fees are
automatically levied and delivered based on the lending and borrowing
libraries’ profiles. Outside of networks, payments are becoming increasingly
simpler. More libraries are able to handle transaction fees using credit cards and
electronic fund transfers (EFT), which eliminate the challenges of exchange rates.
As the world continues to discover the explosion of information available,
there comes the realization that not all of it is available at our doorstep. Like
good global neighbors, research libraries must continue to provide as well as
receive. There are many other ways that research libraries acquire materials in
addition to ILL. For example, research libraries pay publishers for the rights to
provide selected materials to users, whether through acquiring copyrighted
works or through licensing agreements. These libraries measure and pay
copyright fees as expected, according to the established guidelines and laws.
There is also a growing trend for libraries to purchase on demand. Libraries
check domestic suppliers before going to international locations. Many
publishers have the electronic documents available almost immediately
upon payment.
RLI 275
10
White Paper: International Interlibrary Loan
(
C O N T I N U E D
)
JUNE 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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