Europe, Middle East and Africa

  • English

WorldShare Interlibrary Loan

With WorldShare Interlibrary Loan, you can:

Flags of the world

Share resources with thousands of libraries all over the world

Person using touchscreen computer

Deliver electronic documents easily and securely


Simplify the sharing of e-resources

Computer mouse

Automate many aspects of the ILL process


Save money while consolidating management of ILL fees

Bar graph illustration

Analyze borrowing and lending patterns

Share resources with thousands of libraries all over the world

More than 9,000 libraries in 49 countries use the WorldShare Interlibrary Loan network to borrow and lend materials with each other. This gives users access to an enormous collection of library resources. It also provides your library with one integrated service for all types of materials, including physical, electronic and digital items. WorldShare ILL gets data for items in library collections from the more than 365 million items and 2.3 billion holdings in WorldCat®. For article data, the WorldCat knowledge base provides information about 14,570 content collections.

Flags of the world

Deliver documents easily and securely

Article Exchange provides a single, secure location where lending libraries worldwide can place scanned articles or book chapters obtained through ILL for easy retrieval by requestors. Files are available for 30 days or 5 downloads and are then automatically deleted. Fully integrated within WorldShare ILL and included at no extra cost, Article Exchange adds convenience and security to article sharing through interlibrary loan.

Included in an OCLC Resource Sharing subscription at no additional charge, users may upload up to 1,000 files per day per authorization. There is no limit to the number of documents a library user can retrieve daily. Files up to 60 MB—including high-resolution documents—can be placed on the site for pick-up by library users.

Article Exchange eliminates security issues often encountered when documents are transmitted through e-mail, requires no software download or special arrangements for access through a local firewall and provides platform-independent access from PCs, Macs and other operating systems.

"The main reason that we use Article Exchange is that it was really easy to implement into our workflow. [It has also] allowed us to share more of our collection because we have been able to loan more from journals we originally had to deflect. We've increased our lending by about 30 percent, which is really nice."   

Joanne McIntyre
Interlibrary Loan Manager at the Levy Library

A list of document types supported by Article Exchange is available here.

Students using touch screen computers

Simplify the sharing of e-resources

Article sharing supported by the WorldCat knowledge base simplifies the way your library shares electronic resources, such as journal articles and e-books. Lending libraries receive loan requests with direct links to articles they own and are licensed to supply. ILL staff can quickly retrieve needed items without manually consulting multiple sites to determine item location. As with physical materials, you can also set up profiles that set criteria to determine whether requests are manually processed or automatically sent to an eligible lender and whether requests can be made for items your library already owns.

Once you add your local knowledge base data to the WorldCat knowledge base and implement license management functionality, your library can take advantage of enhanced lending display for e-articles. If a selected lender has the electronic article and can lend it, the service displays a direct article link to the lending library. Lending library staff uses that link to connect directly to the full-text article.  

When both a borrowing and lending library using Direct Request have loaded their local knowledge bases into the WorldCat knowledge base, the system identifies lending libraries more accurately and passes the URL of the needed item directly to the lending library in the ILL request. This eliminates the tedious manual steps of consulting multiple service interfaces to locate a needed item and then consulting a separate source to determine lending policies set by content providers. It also reduces loan requests for items your library owns.

As of April 2014, 714 libraries had enabled sharing of electronic content using the WorldCat knowledge base. As more libraries add their local data and turn on article sharing, lending libraries will receive an increasing number of loan requests that contain direct links to electronic articles in their collections that they are licensed to loan.

You can view a list of collections in the WorldCat knowledge base for which at least six libraries have set license terms for interlibrary loan and over 75% of these libraries agree with the Yes/No setting for interlibrary loan. The percentage number indicates the percentage of libraries that have holdings set for a collection that have indicated that license terms permit interlibrary loan of content from that collection.

View list of collections enabled for interlibrary loan »
(Excel file)

We will continue to update this information as more libraries adopt use of the WorldCat knowledge base to support sharing electronic resources through WorldShare Interlibrary Loan and ILLiad.

Learn how to get started with the WorldCat knowledge base today.

E-ready viewing an article

Automate many aspects of the ILL process

WorldShare ILL replaces many manual processes traditionally required to select lenders, determine availability of needed items before requesting them and identify lender fees. Manual data entry for elements such as library address and often-used messages is virtually eliminated by data elements configured and maintained within the service.

As a lender, your library can define policies in the OCLC Policies Directory to automatically deflect ILL requests based on criteria such as:

  • request service type (copy/loan),
  • group membership,
  • cost,
  • material age,
  • format type, and
  • custom holding group.

The result is fewer requests for your staff to consider that your library can't fill. These requests move on to appropriate lenders, so users receive requested items quickly.

The constant data feature of WorldShare ILL saves time for both borrowers and lenders. With it, a library can create data records that simplify and streamline data entry on loan requests and workforms. ILL staff can create constant data records to fit any routine borrowing situation. For example:

  • If you handle all ILL transactions at your main library but want lenders to ship materials directly to branches when appropriate, you can create a different constant data record for each of your branches. This removes the need to complete this data manually on each request.
  • If your preferred delivery method for copies is Article Exchange, then you can create a constant data record to avoid manually indicating this on every new request you create.

Similarly, libraries that lend via ILL can create a constant data record to fit any routine lending situation. For example, you could create a constant data record for all of the "return to" information on loan requests so you are not manually adding to each request.

Computer mouse

Save money while consolidating management of ILL fees

Unique to OCLC, the Interlibrary Loan Fee Management (IFM) feature of WorldShare ILL lets you reconcile resource-sharing charges and payments through your monthly OCLC invoice. Participating libraries report an average saving of as much as €33.00 on each request through the elimination of invoices and check writing for individual transactions.

For borrowing libraries, using the feature is as easy as clicking a checkbox and entering the maximum cost you are willing to pay for an item on the ILL workform. Your monthly OCLC invoice will include additional line items showing:

  • IFM library-to-library borrowing debit,
  • charges your library incurred for borrowing items,
  • IFM library-to-library lending credit,
  • credits your library receives for supplying items, and
  • IFM transaction charges.

Future enhancements to WorldShare Interlibrary Loan will enable you to use IFM to pay for materials from content providers in addition to lending libraries.

NOTE: Beginning July 1, 2014, a €0.20 transaction fee will be added to each borrowing request filled through IFM. This small fee will support OCLC's investments in expanding the use of IFM by OCLC ILL members.  

Librarians using a computer

Analyze borrowing and lending patterns

A variety of reports can help you analyze your resource-sharing workflow or borrowing and lending patterns. You'll be able to share meaningful data with your collection development staff, administrators and funding bodies.

  • Fee management: Monthly detailed reports itemize library-to-library debits and credits on your OCLC bill. This report is generated automatically for libraries that use Fee Management.
  • Reasons for no: Monthly reports for both borrower and lender activity help lenders evaluate their fill rate and borrowers to refine their custom holdings groups. Reports are provided in quote and comma-delimited formats.
  • Reciprocity: Use WorldShare ILL statistics to create reports of your library's borrowing and lending activity with libraries of your choice. This data can be used to manage interlibrary loan partnerships, such as reciprocal borrowing agreements. Retrieve this report from the "Assessment" section of the OCLC Usage Statistics website.
  • Lender report: Create reports to track lender fill rates and average turnaround time for a period of time you specify.
  • Monthly activity: Print a report of your borrowing-to-lending ratio, filled versus unfilled requests, average monthly turnaround time for receiving items and more.
  • Resource sharing management statistics: Customize monthly raw data about WorldShare ILL activity using your own spreadsheet or database program.

These reports are available as part of an OCLC ILL subscription.

Bar Graph

Sharing tailor-made for library groups

Library groups and consortia can achieve efficient, cost-effective pooling of collections with WorldShare ILL. Setup is simple, especially if participants are already OCLC member institutions. Libraries in the group easily contribute their holdings to WorldCat, so they are visible to WorldCat searchers.

View a list of Resource Sharing groups »

Group Access Capability (GAC) organizations—ad hoc associations of libraries united by subject matter, geography or another attribute—can also use WorldShare ILL. All members have access to each other's bibliographic, location and summary holdings records. The largest of these groups is Libraries Very Interested in Sharing (LVIS).

Future functionality for WorldShare ILL

WorldShare ILL is enhanced regularly with new functionality, including many features requested by users of the service. The table below lists recent and planned WorldShare ILL enhancements. Additional details about features recently added to the service are provided in the WorldShare ILL Release Notes.

To submit a WorldShare ILL enhancement suggestion, send a message to OCLC Customer Support at

Browsers tested with WorldShare ILL in June 2015 are:

  • Chrome version 43.0.2357.81 m
  • Firefox 38.0.1
  • Internet Explorer versions 9 and 10

Recently released member-requested features and planned enhancements

Feature Availability date
Support for book club workflows Available
WorldShare ILL integration with WorldShare Management Services Circulation
IFM trigger on Shipped August 2015
Workflows for IFM refunds and lost materials To be determined
OpenURL request form To be determined
User preferences for Discover Items
To be determined

Other recent WorldShare ILL enhancements include:

  • Emails fully editable
  • Get It Now integration
  • Improved navigation for staff ILL request initiation from WorldCat Discovery
  • Default number of rows displayed in request queue tables increased
  • Improved design of 6-per-page shipping and return labels
  • New visual indicators for "held by my library"
  • New purchase workflow for British Library documents from the British Library On Demand service
  • Policies Directory Days to Respond indicator for 1 or 2 days

View a list of known issues with the WorldShare ILL service.

Learn more

WorldShare Management Services logo

WorldShare Interlibrary Loan is available as a stand-alone service or as part of the WorldShare Management Services suite.

Learn more about WorldShare Management Services »

Upcoming Events

Watch this space for upcoming WorldShare Interlibrary Loan events.

Recent news