What I Learned at ILLiad

Last week I attended the International ILLiad Conference in Virginia Beach! Between playing Minute To Win It games, showing a snazzy poster, and chillin with Neptune I learned a thing or two about how to use certain features in ILLiad and what enhancements are coming.

ILLiad and WorldShare moving to a cloud based web app

OCLC and Atlas is looking into creating a combined cloud based web app. Very little information has been given other than they are looking into creating this new ILLiad/WorldShare hybrid. If you are interested in working on this and possibly being an early adopter of this new program contact Katie Birch at birchk@oclc.org.

IFM Refunds

OCLC will soon allow you to refund IFM charges without creating a dummy request.

Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States

The Interlibrary Loan Code has been around since 1916 and revisions are currently being handled by STARS and RUSA. Like the Pirate Code the ILL Code is a system of guidelines and not legally binding rules, that being said it is a great guide on how to make sure your ILL department plays well with others. The code was recently updated and Brian Miller from the revision committee gave an explanation of the new changes. Some notable changes include:

  • The due date has been clarified as the date the patron needs to return the book to the borrowing library. We no longer need to adjust due dates to allow extra shipping time.
  • Staples are strongly discouraged because they can damage books or hurt people while opening packaging. On a personal note I have a scar from a rogue staple on an ILL package.
  • Scans should appear as close to the original as possible. Scanning in color is encouraged for pages with pictures or graphs. Black and White copies often turn the image into a black blob.

As I am sure you are all aware, there are many other less memorable guidelines in this code. To read the full code and supplemental explanations go here: Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States.


I learned two things on statistics that really impressed me. The first piece of advice given was to make the stats visually appealing. When a librarian is handed a spreadsheet with thousands of numbers they will likely be overwhelmed and will forget about your stats almost immediately. Not only should the stats be clean and have colorful graphs but they should use graphic design elements such as lightly textured backgrounds and pictures to pull the reader in. There are many free programs to create PDF’s, infographics, and booklets to show off your statistics in a memorable way.

The other thing I learned about are Custom Request Searches in ILLiad. While many library folk at the conference knew about Custom Request Searches about half had never heard of this handy dandy feature. By clicking the small arrows on the ILLiad Home tab you can access a search function to create very detailed ILLiad stats. Once you decide which conditions and filters to use ILLiad will generate a spreadsheet for you to download and use as a basis for your statistics reports.

Poster Session

Before the poster session began I took pictures of many of the posters so I could refer to them later. Below is a slideshow of all the pictures.


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Using Reprints Desk and Other Document Suppliers to Save Money

A little while ago I received a phone call from Darlene Nowak at San Diego State University. She knew Cal Poly, like San Diego, was using Reprints Desk to save money on copyright. Darlene thought it would be a good idea for our statistics to be shared with members of the ILL community so together we made a poster presentation for the International ILLiad Conference in Virginia Beach.

CPS Chart
This graph visualizes the difference in price between Reprints Desk and the CCC at Cal Poly SLO.

Cal Poly SLO started using Reprints Desk on August 28, 2015. To find out how much money we were saving using both Reprints Desk and the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) we created a spreadsheet showing the prices we paid Reprints Desk and what we would have paid using just the CCC. Between August and Dec 31st Cal Poly spent $2,031.40 less than we would have if we stuck to only using the CCC. We still use the CCC for articles that are cheaper through their service.

Turnaround time
92% of Reprints Desk articles arrived at Cal Poly in under an hour. .

Another Benefit to using Reprints Desk is the speed of delivery. As we all know articles requests can take awhile to arrive. We request it from a string of libraries and every library on the string has several days to fill the article, meaning articles can take hours to weeks to arrive. At Cal Poly SLO 92% of the articles we requested arrived within an hour. It seemed like most of these articles actually arrived in less than 10 minutes but the statistics provided by Reprints Desk measures by the hour.

The statistics provided by Darlene Nowak showed similar results at San Diego State University (SDSU). SDSU used Reprints Desk along with mediated Get It Now through all of 2015. Since Cal Poly SLO has yet to use Get It Now only the Reprints Desk numbers were used in this presentation, we felt it was appropriate to compare apples to apples and not apples to apples AND oranges. San Diego saved an estimated $3,699.66 and received 85% of their articles in under an hour with Reprints Desk in all of 2015.

SDSU Chart
San Diego State saved $3,699.66 using Reprints Desk.
SDSU Turnaround time
San Diego State received 85% of their articles in under an hour.