International Interlibrary Loan reviewed current ILL practices, both domestic
and international, and the importance of international ILL to achieving the
mission of research libraries. Finally, the task force conducted a survey of
international relationships of the ARL membership, which garnered 85
responses. These data portray a rich and complex environment within which
ARL libraries operate. Based on their research and analysis, each of the three
working groups produced a white paper, which informed this report.
The three white papers follow in this issue of Research Library Issues.
1. Research libraries provide access to information through multiple channels,
including acquisition of copyrighted works, licensing agreements, ILL,
purchase on demand, and more. These services entail significant
expenditures in support of research, teaching, and learning.
2. Participation in ILL arrangements is a well-established practice in libraries
in many countries. The Berne Convention and other international copy-
right agreements do not specify any standards for ILL thus nations have
considerable discretion about the terms of allowable reproduction and
3. By engaging with international partners, research libraries build
relationships with libraries and institutions in other countries, develop
reciprocity, and supply the materials required. These activities support
and promote scholarship.
4. The proper scope and function of ILL are embedded in well-established
practices that have been openly integrated into professional standards
and have been widely known to and acknowledged by authors, publishers,
and others for years.
5. US copyright law supports the ability of domestic libraries to participate in
ILL arrangements and to send copies of some copyrighted works to foreign
libraries provided the libraries meet the requirements of the law.
6. Since the 1990s, publishers and libraries increasingly use license agreements
to establish use permissions that previously had been guided by US
copyright law. This shift away from copyright law to contract law has
affected some aspects of resource sharing.
7. Review of ILL clauses in research library licenses indicate that the majority
Report of the Task Force on International Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Practices
C O N T I N U E D
JUNE 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC