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“Git” It for Me on Interlibrary Loan

Ron Johnson, University of North Carolina, Wilmington
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The presentation began with Ron Johnson sharing UNC-Wilmington’s brief history of automating their ILL operation using LS/2000. After some experimentation, the ILL staff felt that it would be easier to incorporate lending than borrowing because of the extra work of keying and deleting bib/item pairs for items borrowed from other institutions. Lending was easier to integrate for several reasons: the items to be loaned were already in the database, a patron record could be created for each borrowing library, ILL patron types could also be created and the appropriate loan rules applied, and the system could generate notices for overdue books, fines, and bills for non-returned items.

UNC-Wilmington migrated to the INNOPAC in 1994 and purchased the ILL module at that time. They helped beta test the product in 1995 and have been using it ever since. The ILL module has come a long way since its introduction thanks to the users group and the enhancements that the users have requested along the way.

UNC-Wilmington faced some challenges and surprises when they migrated to the INNOPAC system. The migration resulted in UNC-Wilmington becoming part of a three college consortium. This could have presented a problem because the potential for having three patron records for each ILL patron was highly probable. They devised a system so that each home library named the patron record a little differently but also put in a code at the end of the name for the home library so they could tell which record belonged to which library.

The ILL module is a patron initiated electronic product that fully integrates with many subsystems of the INNOPAC. The full integration with the circulation module allows the system to generate overdue notices. The integration with Z39.50 and Reference Databases allows patrons to make a request while they are searching with pertinent information automatically transferred into the request.

The patron request goes into the module and must be retrieved by the ILL staff. The staff can then verify the requests, first by checking the local catalog and then by using Z39.50 (if the library has that product). If the staff person finds the item in the local catalog they can choose the option to satisfy the request with this item. The system will automatically generate a notice to go to the patron with the author, title, and call number information. The notice does not show item location or library, which is a problem in a consortium setting.

In processing requests, if the staff person needs more information they can send a message to the patron without cancelling the original request. There is a feature called “History” which allows libraries to enter any information about the request that they may need. This field is unformatted free text and is searchable using the “Limit by Word Anywhere” feature in the module.

The ILL module allows sending requests to OCLC, sending requests via e-mail to other libraries, and to the British Library using ISO 10160/10161 protocol. However, each method of transmission is considered to be a separate product by Innovative and will require additional purchases. If a record is transmitted to OCLC, the appropriate fields are filled in on the work form and a review file entry is created for each request. When a request is successfully submitted, OCLC sends back the review file record number for the request. After this has been completed and the “acquire” command has been sent, the ILL module creates a virtual record that places the requested item on hold for the patron.

When an item requested through OCLC is received it must be recorded in both OCLC and the INNOPAC. The INNOPAC asks if the ILL record should be cleared or a notice printed. The appropriate choice is dependent upon whether the item is to be returned. For monographs, the system prompts for keying or scanning a barcode (the one in the book will work), supplier information (OCLC symbol), OCLC transaction number and the date. A hold pick-up notice will print to alert the patron that the requested item has arrived.

When the monograph is returned the status in the ILL record is updated with a return date, which detaches the virtual record from the patron record. The transaction must be updated in OCLC as well. This completes the transaction in both places.

Patrons overall seem to like the module. They like the ability of checking on the status of their request through “View Your Circulation Record.” It does maintain the level of work, if not increase the amount of work, for the ILL staff since the module is more of a convenience for the patron. According to Ron, patrons felt that their requests are being handled faster because of using an electronic as opposed to a paper form.

Statistics are kept on both cancelled requests and filled requests. Reports can be sorted by a variety of characteristics depending upon the report being worked on. Cancelled requests can be sorted by month requested, patron characteristics, month cancelled, and by borrower name. Filled requests can be sorted by ISSN, supplier, month requested, borrower name, month filled, and patron characteristics. There are also some safeguards in place so files cannot be deleted where items are still checked out.

After the presentation, Ron answered questions. When asked how UNC-Wilmington staff handled IFM (OCLC Fee Management) with their ILL, Ron stated that their institution does not charge their patrons for ILL. UNC-Wilmington is currently not doing IFM. Another question was whether you can sort by ISSN to track copyright compliance. Ron said that UNC-Wilmington is keeping track of this separately and they don’t sort reports that way. Someone in a consortium asked if there was a problem with having to split the patron database (the person had been told this was necessary) in order to use the module to keep track of your own patrons. The answer was that no problem exists as long as the library sets up different patron types for each library (which many consortium libraries have done anyway). UNC-Wilmington also verified that they used the ILL MicroEnhancer.

Recorded by: Jenny Baker, Wisconsin Lutheran College

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