Email list hosting service & mailing list manager

Interlibrary loan alternatives (James Huesmann) Marcia Tuttle 08 Jul 1996 20:26 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 8 Jul 1996 15:05:28 -0600
From: James Huesmann <huesmanj@LHL.LIB.MO.US>
Subject: Interlibrary loan alternatives

>Al Henderson <70244.1532@COMPUSERVE.COM> writes:
>  What is the policy when a patron of an ARL-size
>library causes CONTU guidelines to be exceeded? Does the library enter a
>subscription or is it forced to send him/her packing?


        Actually, at most institutions, the faculty member is NEVER sent
packing (Talk about poor service!  Anyone out there willing to admit that
their institution does this?)  CONTU guidelines do NOT state that a request
in excess of the guidelines should be ignored, merely that it is in excess
of fair use, and that a copyright payment is due (A point that, as a
publisher, I'm sure you'd agree!).  At worst, the faculty member is asked to
pay the copyright fee.  Quite often these requests are due, as you point
out, to a research grant, and covering costs for information that is beyond
the "norm" of the library's collection is a valid part of the grant funding.
In the case of some of these use studies you've cited, the statistics showed
that it was less expensive to the library to pay the copyright for the
articles needed instead of the whole journal.

>Every interlibrary borrowing represents a measurable failure of the

Your belief, from your point of view AS A PUBLISHER.  You neglect that,
without the effort to develop those ILL systems, there would be NO access.
My point of view is the following:

"Every interlibrary borrowing represents a measurable _success_ of the
library profession's attempt to deal with skyrocketing subscription costs
well in excess of inflation, the increased number of scholarly publications,
and static or declining budgets."

With ILL and Document Delivery, faculty at institutions far from an ARL
collection have access to the literature from around the world - assuming
that it is indexed and/or cataloged.  Guess what?  It always depended on if
it was indexed and/or cataloged.  You complain about having to travel to a
collection?  Researchers have done that for ages!  Pre-eminent collections
in every field cannot be collected at every research university library.

>If patrons truly use ILB for browsing, CONTU guidelines will be exceeded
>quickly. The Texaco case focused on a scientist who had copied six
>articles that he intended to read at some indefinite future date.  You
>really cannot browse a database as you do a good collection. I can offer
>the report of an entomologist who, after searching 7 major databases found
>only half the literature on his chosen bug cited online. The rest of his
>cites came from old-fashioned methods. I also think the typical card
>catalog format used by most OPACs, which was designed for use where you
>could walk over to the shelf and browse the book, needs an enormous
>upgrading to incorporate indexes and tables of contents, illustrations,

        I've heard few people suggest that interlibrary loan should be for
browsing.  Yes, you (sorry, at least I) can "browse" a good journal database
as you can a good journal collection - the important word here is "good",
with abstracts, etc..  Al, I don't know your entomologist, but I'll lay you
odds that a far higher percentage of his cites would have come from unnamed
"old-fashioned methods" before indexes and abstracts were put online.  Ask
anyone whose graduate career spanned the time when such databases were
developed - was it easier and more complete before or after those databases
were online?  More and more tables of contents, etc., are coming online -
and I'll also wager on illustrations (see electronic thread to this
discussion).  However, if CONTU guidelines are exceeded and a library does
subscribe to that journal, isn't this a form of "use study"?

        This gets into one of my own pet peeves (Sorry, Al, for bringing it
up - this one has nothing to do with you.)  Some researchers have an
exaggerated respect for "serendipity" in the old card catalog.  In other
words, their success is based on luck, and they believe that the paper
format is the only way to achieve that "luck".  Any OPAC with a "browse"
feature (and most have it) allow that kind of searching.  The only place
I've found more "serendipitous" results in my research than online has been
in archives - and my other field is Latin American History, until recently
not the best area for online searching!

James Huesmann
Head, Technical and Automated Services
Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry St.
Kansas City, MO 64110-2498
voice: (816) 926-8704
fax: (816) 926-8790