Interlibrary Loans (ILL) and Document Deliveries
No smart library would try to collect everything published, even in a seemingly narrow sector library transportation. At VDOT, we purchase only items employees use frequently, along with special items by employee request, and standard resources needed for long-term retention (like AASHTO and TRB publications). The rest we borrow on behalf of patrons from libraries all over the world through our Interlibrary Loans (ILL) program.
Led by Barb Neyman, ILL is our secret weapon for quickly finding, borrowing and delivering to patrons specialized information. It is faster and cheaper than if we were to attempt to acquire, catalog, and store all the publications our customers need. Our library continues to be a net borrower (this quarter we borrowed 46 items and loaned only 2 items). We use OCLC's WorldShare ILL software to efficiently place and receive loan requests from a pool of thousands of libraries worldwide to the benefit of VDOT employees in all districts and divisions who need rare, expensive or esoteric research materials.
This quarter the VDOT Library requested and received 46 items from 16 other libraries worldwide. 38 of all requests this quarter were supplied by Academic libraries, 4 by Federal libraries, 3 byState libraries, and 1 from a Public library. Items requested came from libraries in 15 states and 2 foreign countries (Germany and Holland). 29 of the requests were filled as hard copy (books/reports) and 17 as photocopy/digital/ fax (articles, chapters, excerpts).
We received 39 requests from 34 libraries in 19 states. We were able to supply only 2 items, one scanned item to a Public library and 1 non-OCLC request for a printed item requested by the Oregon DOT Library. We frequently receive a majority of requests we can't fill (primarily because items requested are in use, missing or we never owned them), however, even for us a fill rate of 2/39 (about 5% is abnormally low). To help redress this issue we've gone to great lengths to link our library catalog and OCLC holdings, but many libraries place requests without checking an items status.
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