Smart fulfillment in action

Maximize delivery speed of your resource sharing service

New smart fulfillment functionality across all OCLC resource sharing services empowers libraries to successfully meet user expectations, while saving time and money.

People expect all the information they need in the format they prefer anytime, anywhere. OCLC's resource sharing services already meet this expectation with a straightforward experience and impressive delivery speed. And now, new delivery capabilities—available for free with WorldShare® Interlibrary Loan, Tipasa®, and ILLiad®—take this even further. Read about how libraries are taking advantage of smart fulfillment capabilities below.

Exceed your library users' expectations with fast interlibrary loan

Photo: Brian Miller

When Laura D’Amato, Head of Access Services and Interlibrary Loan, joined Baldwin Wallace University’s Ritter Library, she realized their interlibrary loan workflows had been the same for a long time. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the library closed, Laura attended OCLC’s training and accessed videos to learn about the smart fulfillment capabilities.

Leveraging that information, Laura set up borrowing automations in WorldShare ILL. As a result, their borrowing turnaround times were reduced by 20 hours for copies and by 2 days for physical items. And now that real-time availability was implemented, Laura said, “It’s helpful because when I look at our Can You Supply? queue, I know the requests won’t be for checked out items.” Because of their participation in the Express program, their users now get copy requests delivered 50% faster. Read more in Baldwin Wallace University's full member story.

“All the new smart fulfillment features work together for a superior experience for our library users and more effective use of our
ILL staff’s time.”


Laura D'Amato
Head of Access Services and Interlibrary Loan, Ritter Library, Baldwin Wallace University

Achieve impressive borrowing turnaround times

Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) libraries have achieved some of the fastest borrowing times among Express digital delivery program members. During the first six months of 2022, 30% of requests were filled in one hour or less, 40% were filled in two hours or less, and 10 requests were filled in two minutes or less!

Ashley Cole, Associate Director of Collection Strategies, shared that they achieved such incredible borrowing turnaround times by “working with our systems administrator to configure Tipasa® in a way that was most efficient for our needs.” Her team used information from our training videos to create custom holding groups and paths, turn on WorldCat knowledge base integration for ILL,and set up borrowing automations using the automated request manager. Read more in Eastern Kentucky University's full member story.

"We save so much time by leveraging our custom holdings paths and allowing the automation to review which libraries hold the item."


Ashley Cole
Associate Director of Collection Strategies, Eastern Kentucky University Libraries


Minimize staff intervention with real-time availability

Photo: Brian Miller

At The Ohio State University, interlibrary loan staff, who use ILLiad, historically turned away about one out of every three requests because the items were checked out. After initiating the real-time availability feature, they now only turn away about one out of every 20 requests. This has resulted in a significant reduction in time the staff spends on ILL requests they are unable to fill.

"At Ohio State, we saw a reduction in ILL requests for checked out items reduced from 30% to 5%. That's a huge savings in staff time," said Brian Miller, Head, Interlibrary Loan. Their lending loans fill rate has also improved from about 50% to over 70%.

"[Real-time availability] is the greatest thing since sliced bread because it's so customizable and every library can determine what statuses they want to be turned away and which ones to come in."


Brian Miller
Head, Interlibrary Loan, The Ohio State University

Save staff time with the automated request manager

St. Charles City-County Library, which uses WorldShare ILL, set up one automation for audio/visual materials and another for books using the automated request manager. "I found that setting up automations was definitely worth a few hours of setup time given the hours we saved in staff time," said Laura Barber, Interlibrary Loan Paraprofessional.

To reduce the amount of staff intervention, Laura has set up the automated request manager to route new requests to the "New for review" queue "if WorldCat® shows that our institution holds the item, if it seems to be a duplicate request—that is, the same user has requested the same item—and if there are fewer than two lenders."

"In the last year, we've saved an estimated 152 staff hours just by using the automated request manager and from not having to deal with those requests individually. That's a savings of almost three hours of staff time per week."


Laura Barber
Former Interlibrary Loan Paraprofessional, St. Charles City-County Library

Photo: Laura Barber

Improve workflows with the automated request manager

Photo: Nicole Reuter

"For us at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, where we use Tipasa, the automated request manager is a great way to keep our ILL department moving along even if our staffing schedules have changed," said Nicole Reuter, Access Services Manager.

Nicole set up the automated request manager with two basic automations, one for copies and one for loans. The automation works really well with her library's pre-existing partnerships including the group of Express LVIS (Libraries Very Interested in Sharing) libraries they use for copies and three Minitex groups they use for loans. She also noted time savings. "Now that we've increased our automation, we spend much less time reviewing each ILL request."

"The automated request manager is fairly easy to set up and you can get as complex or as simple as you want."


Nicole Reuter
Access Services Manager, College of Saint Benedict, Saint John's University

Embrace automation to improve the library user experience

Prior to going live with Tipasa in 2019, Northeastern State University had not set up any automations. According to Brandon Martin, Instructor of Library Services, Systems Librarian, and Resource Sharing Coordinator, automations not only seemed intimidating but he also thought everything had to be unmediated. When the library moved to Tipasa, the OCLC implementation team encouraged Brandon and his team to reconsider the benefits of automation.  

They started with one or two automations and it grew from there. Now they have 10 and expect to add more. "We don’t have to mediate as much with automation," noted Brandon. "It saves us time on tasks like applying constant data and building lender strings. It also automatically tags requests based on criteria we select, so that it spotlights things we may overlook."

"It’s really all about patron service. And if we can fill items faster using automation, then that’s a great thing. Plus, if it has the added benefit of making our lives easier, that’s the icing on the cake."


Brandon Martin
Instructor of Library Services, Systems Librarian, and Resource Sharing Coordinator, Northeastern State University

Photo: Brandon Martin

Improve turnaround time with WorldCat knowledge base integration

Photo: Leanna Pagano

The interlibrary loan (ILL) department at California Lutheran University’s Pearson Library has one full-time librarian and two part-time student employees. As a participant in the Express digital delivery program, this small team consistently has a turnaround time of under six hours for the 643 copy requests it fills on average each month. And as a result, the library has ranked in the top five Express libraries by volume since 2021.

Leanna Pagano, Manager of Resource Sharing and Course Reserves, said what’s key is help from student employees and using WorldShare ILL and the WorldCat knowledge base. For each copy request, the student first reviews it to see if the requestor is an LVIS (Libraries Very Interested in Sharing) library or a reciprocal lender. Next, they check what the library can loan and how they can loan it for each database. “What makes that super easy is the WorldCat knowledge base link that's integrated with WorldShare ILL,” noted Leanna. “It's usually as simple as clicking that link, which takes them to the correct database and full-text article so they can simply download it and then upload it to Article Exchange.”

Leanna also shared that setting up two monitors for each workstation, developing a student training program, and strategically scheduling students throughout the day supports their success.

"My recommendation is to make sure your collections are in the WorldCat knowledge base. That way, you get seamless integration between your holdings and interlibrary loan ensuring you can quickly and efficiently locate items in your collection and share those items out."


Leanna Pagano
Manager of Resource Sharing and Course Reserves, California Lutheran University

Quickly fill copy requests with Express and smart fulfillment

The Joyner Library at East Carolina University, a public research university in Greenvale, North Carolina, is one of the top three suppliers by volume in OCLC’s Express digital delivery program. The library’s staff uses ILLiad to fill approximately 1,000 Express copy requests each month and maintains a turnaround time of less than 12 hours.

William Gee, Head of Circulation and Interlibrary Loan, explained that their fast turnaround times and outstanding Express lending stats are due to a number of factors, including automating their ILL workflows. According to William, “Automation is absolutely essential. I encourage you to look into the new smart fulfillment functionality. It all really helps to automate your ILL workflows.”

William’s team relies on OCLC’s WorldShare ILL network, its Policies Directory, and ILL Fee Management (IFM) service to support their work. He noted that the impressive turnaround times can also be attributed to knowing what their license agreements allow them to lend, making the most of ILLiad’s management features, hiring great employees, and pulling requests twice a day. They also attempt to accurately maintain physical holdings in WorldCat and electronic holdings in the WorldCat knowledge base to ensure their library’s users can find and access all resources currently available in their library’s collections.

"I’m excited by the new smart fulfillment functionality that make it so much easier to automate workflows."


William Gee
Head of Circulation and Interlibrary Loan, East Carolina University

Photo: William Gee