An effective interlibrary loan office requires a logical progression of duties, peripheral tasks and scheduling. External circumstances (mail-delivery times, availability of materials, operational problems, etc.) can often affect tasks. Records, files, statistics and reports can help keep things running smoothly. Records and files are a good way of keeping track of the progress of ILL requests from start to finish. Needed statistics and reports can be generated from records kept. Since searching, recording and filing all take time, keep records as few and simple as possible. Whatever is done by an automated management system need not be done manually. However, automated systems vary, and they may not accomplish everything that is wanted. Some things a system may do are: track ILL requests, download bibliographic/location information, manage/transmit requests, track copyright compliance, and generate reports.
For basic ILL management that can be collected manually or electronically, there are at least three types of files needed:
Pending file – For requests sent to a lending library that have not yet been received. This file should consist of the original patron request with a copy of the ILL request attached to it and be filed by main entry, patron’s name, lending library, or whatever is most useful for tracking.
In-Use file – For keeping track of what a patron has in his/her possession. This file should consist of the original patron request with a copy of the ILL request attached to it (pulled from the Pending file), and be filed by main entry, patron’s name, lending library, or whatever is most useful for tracking.
Completed file – For all completed transactions (photocopies have arrived and been processed, materials have been used and returned, etc.). This file should consist of the original (or at least a copy of) patron request with all transaction information recorded and be filed by main entry or lending library. A separate file should also be kept by calendar year of periodical titles from which photocopies were received (for copyright purposes). Completed file originals should be kept only as long as needed to resolve any problems that might arise from the transaction process. One to one and a half years is most likely long enough. Copyright records should be kept for three years plus the current year.
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