Posts in topic: resource sharing

The resource sharing gene: still going strong after 40 years!

Tony Melvyn

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I have worked in OCLC Resource Sharing for more than 33 years and I think that librarians are born with a ‘togetherness’ gene. Sharing is one of our profession’s bedrock values—sharing work, sharing collections, sharing knowledge. Nowhere is this value practiced more diligently than with interlibrary loan. We build our collections and share our materials with a commitment to serve our users—who we consider to be anyone, anywhere in the world!

It stands to reason, then, that resource sharing is one of the most popular topics on our Next blog. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of OCLC ILL this year, I invite you to enjoy three of our most-read resource sharing posts again.

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DECwriters, Dr. requests, and three-letter combos—memories from 40 years of ILL

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Anniversary celebrations are always fun. They remind us of important events and accomplishments from the past. They give us a chance to look back over the years and reflect on just how far we’ve come. Remembering yesteryears—without letting them rule us—can help us understand who we are.

Anniversaries also bring back many fond memories of relationships, successes … and outdated equipment.

This year, we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of OCLC interlibrary loan (ILL). And understandably it brought back many memories for many people. Here is a sampling that were recently shared with us on the ILL listserv.

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The owned and the loaned—comparing top novels by holdings vs. ILL

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Recently, OCLC rolled out The Library 100, a list of the top print novels held by the world’s libraries. OCLC Research generated this list using data from WorldCat.

For most people, a list of 100 is fine. But for those of us who are bibliophiles and want to dig deeper, a list of the top 500 novels held in libraries also is available at the website. The list of 500 is marvelously rich and lets you explore even more titles, authors, and genres.

As I read over the longer list, I wondered how it would match up against a list of the most-requested novels on the OCLC system, WorldShare ILL. Would there be any overlap? Would the two lists be mutually exclusive? What about authors? Who would be on both lists? Any other similarities and differences?

Using ILL data from the last five years, I pulled a list of the top 100 novels requested on WorldShare ILL and compared it to The Library 500. Six titles and 11 authors were on both lists.

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Looking at interlibrary loan requests, 2018 edition

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Unveiling the list of the most ILL’d titles each year is always fun. And it’s particularly special this year, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of OCLC interlibrary loan. Today—many services, upgrades and enhancements later—about 280 million requests have been processed, including last year’s 6.9 million.

Here’s a look based on our 2018 data.

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After 40 years of resource sharing … what’s next?

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Today is the 40th anniversary of OCLC resource sharing! That’s right, 40 years ago today—April 1, 1979—the first interlibrary loan was arranged through OCLC systems. That year, OCLC processed 565,680 ILL transactions. In FY18, we processed nearly 7 million.

When I’ve talked to resource sharing librarians about the time before cooperative databases like WorldCat and networked ILL systems, here’s a phrase I never hear:

“The good old days.”

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Looking at interlibrary loan, 2017 edition

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Did you catch all of the 2017 end-of-year book lists? Probably the most noteworthy are The New York Times best sellers lists. Barnes and Noble publishes one, as does Publishers Weekly. Amazon publishes a most purchased books list as well, which gets a lot of attention.

As you know, we at OCLC have a different list—the books that are the most shared, as measured by interlibrary loan requests! Last year, our resource sharing systems handled more than 7 million ILL requests from all over the world.

We’ve been gathering this data for many years and publishing it here for the past two years. It’s always interesting to see what books made the top ten ILL list and what, if any, broader observations we can make. We debuted our ILL “best sellers list” for 2017 last week at the OCLC Resource Sharing Conference with the resource sharing community, who always enjoy guessing which work made the top spot.

Well, in 2017, ILL requests once again were closely aligned with current events—what was taking place in the news and popular culture.* Here are latest themes in interlibrary loan based on our data.

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Three tools for building better bridges

Katie Birch

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The theme for our upcoming Resource Sharing Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, is “Bridging Communities.” I think that’s a great way to describe the work that resource sharing librarians do in an inspiring way—we create paths to get people to the information they need, often crossing obstacles and boundaries that are otherwise impassable. In many cases, we build those bridges using unique information literacy talents that librarians bring to the table.

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Three cures for the “Humdrum ILL Blues”

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A few years ago, two colleagues and I co-led the popular workshop, “Keep the ILL Motivational Fires Burning!” at the Midwest ILL Conference. The point was to openly acknowledge that—like many jobs—resource sharing librarianship can become routine and draining. We tried to answer the question: how can you do a job with many necessary, detailed, repetitious job functions while still maintaining energy, enthusiasm, and drive?

While everyone’s answer is going to be slightly different, I think we uncovered a few ways that might help you maintain your LOVE for a job that many of us got into in the first place because of a passion for helping library users.

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Guess what topic is tops on our blog this year?

Katie Birch

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Resource sharing is the heart of librarianship. And the heart of OCLC. Whether it’s metadata, workflows, infrastructure, or library materials, sharing is embedded deep in a librarian’s psyche and powered by our technology platform.

It’s no surprise, then, that resource sharing is one of the topics on our blog that always gets the most traffic—this year and last year. This year, our posts on Tipasa, interlibrary loan trends, and shared print collections are among the most popular based on views and visits. Last year, it was interlibrary loan trends as well, along with a contest to name our new ILL management system.

Clearly, after 50 years of the cooperative, the community continues to reinvent resource sharing—making it even easier for more types of libraries and groups to support one another. I invite you to enjoy these posts once again. And to keep on caring about resource sharing.

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From secret student archives to crusty old microfilm: Tales from the international ILL world

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Back in 1988, one of my OCLC colleagues worked at The Ohio State University Law Library as a work-study student. Recently, he told me a story about going deep into the basement to the compact storage units to retrieve an 1870s law book to photocopy some Ohio municipal codes for a library in Japan. He mailed the document to the library the next day using the US Postal Service.

Today, almost 30 years later, the world of international interlibrary loan is alive and well but with fewer trips to the ‘dungeon’ and the post office, thanks to digitization, electronic publications, and advances in scanning technology. These advances, along with the web and the emerging global library data network, are making international borrowing and lending easier and more commonplace.

But it’s the stories behind these international transactions that make them memorable, inspiring, and fun.

As I prepared to attend IFLA’s International Interlending and Document Supply Conference this month to moderate a panel discussion, I sent out a request for international ILL stories from OCLC members. Here is a sampling. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

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