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Montana State University

Montana State University
Maggie Farrell, Associate Dean of Libraries
Bette Mongold, Team Leader, Resource Sharing/Document Delivery

Streamlined processes

Montana State University, Bozeman installed ILLiad in July 2001. The Resource Sharing/Document Delivery Team (RSDD) implemented the lending process in August and went live to the MSU community at the start of the school year in September. Immediately, the RSDD staff streamlined processes that improved our interlibrary loan services for students and faculty.

Because ILLiad tracks and records lending and borrowing requests, RSDD has ceased to keep paper records of interlibrary loan transactions. RSDD eliminated the mounds of paperwork associated with interlibrary loan requests including patron request cards, documentation of verification and tracking request status. ILLiad also stopped duplicate entering of requests into OCLC and a local dBase database. This has eliminated most staff typing and will hopefully contribute to a decrease in repetitive motion complaints. ILLiad email notification of requests filled and overdues has replaced staff notification procedures thus freeing up staff to work on other responsibilities.

Verification of interlibrary loan requests is a much smoother process with ILLiad. Staff is able to view the ILLiad request along with Passport while ILLiad conducts the search. Staff only verify difficult requests or requests that contain an error. Staff is freed from the routine interlibrary loan work to focus their energies on unique or difficult transactions. ILLiad verifies our patrons through a database match with our patron records, again saving staff time from checking student enrollment status. ILLiad system generated statistics should ease CCG and state reimbursement reports. It is much easier to create statistical reports from ILLiad for compliance and annual statistics.

These streamlined processes have improved interlibrary loan turnaround time. Interlibrary loan requests are usually reviewed the same day and during the busiest time of the semester, requests that typically took 2-3 weeks to process are now being processed within two days. ILLiad has been a good investment that has dramatically improved staff procedures and workload.

Patron reaction positive

Patron reaction to ILLiad has been overwhelmingly positive. We were concerned that patrons would have difficulties moving from our email request form to the ILLiad system but the transition was smoother than expected. Beverly Marsh reported, “Not long ago, I submitted a request for a book on ILLiad online. I just got an e-mail today saying my book was in. It was so easy. No hassles. Convenient. And fast. I love it!” The consensus among our patrons is that they like the feature that allows them to track their request status. John Gallagher raves that ILLiad is “…great. I love it. I really like that you can keep track of your own requests.” The faculty appreciates the ability to view their previous requests since they sometimes forget what sources they have already consulted.

Another improvement with patron login is the elimination of filling in personal information for every request. Patrons appreciate their “personal space” within ILLiad that secures their personal information and keeps a record of requests. Chuck Pierce noted that “…the fact that you don't have to reenter your personal information every time is very time saving. Also, I like the email notification feature and the status-tracking feature. Overall, I think ILLiad is a great improvement over the previous system.” Patrons also request renewals through ILLiad and ILLiad alerts patrons when they have overdue items. We anticipated a learning curve as our patrons adjusted to the new system but to our amazement, students and faculty adapted to the new ILLiad software and have been enthusiastically using the system enhancements.

ILLiad has accomplished more staff processing improvements than any previous RSDD attempts to streamline workloads. This has resulted in faster delivery of materials to our patrons. Patrons have responded positively to the ILLiad system and like the features of the new system. The result is that interlibrary loans are processed and delivered faster thus meeting a critical need for the MSU community.

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