Next Generation Interlibrary Loan: Not Even Close to Dead

By Abram, Stephen | Information Outlook, May 2005 | Go to article overview

Next Generation Interlibrary Loan: Not Even Close to Dead


Abram, Stephen, Information Outlook


Whenever I hear a powerful story about the impact of library services, I save it. Real-life stories bring richness to the information experience that is impossible to create with facts and figures. At the ILL Conference in 2004, two library users at the University of Colorado in Boulder spoke about their experiences with the library; specifically, with interlibrary loan services. Both speakers were totally engaging. Here are my memories of their stories.

William (Ned) Friedman spoke first. Friedman leads the University of Colorado Friedman Lab as well as being a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His primary research interests are the origin and early evolution of flowering plants; heterochrony and plant developmental evolution; cell cycle activity during gametogenesis and fertilization; evolution of multicellularity; and anatomical complexity and symbioses in early land plants. Friedman has requested hundreds, if not thousands, of interlibrary loans; indeed, he has blown through any library rules and regulations about the number of ILLs one may request. He is very particular, too. Since he is collecting and converting to electronic format the earliest works on evolution, he specifically borrows the original copies of some of the most important works in the field. He exhorts the ILL department of the CU library to borrow the original copies of Charles Darwin's books and notes, original lab books from the earliest scientists, and irreplaceable pages of hand-drawn flowers. He challenges these librarians to convince major research libraries and rare book collections to let him see and scan these precious works.

As Friedman discussed his research needs and goals, you could easily imagine the librarians' groans when they saw him coming: the ILL requestor from hell. But Friedman delivered the kicker when he asked his audience to think about why his research is important. This is not just the history of science, nor is it the capricious actions of a passionate collector. He told the audience that over 70 percent of global human nutritional intake today comes directly from flowers, one of the last items to appear in the biological record. If we can understand how flowers have evolved, we have a greater chance of improving the nutritional standards and capacity of the world. Each ILL Friedman requests contributes to that goal.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A lively discussion followed on whether a library should impose limits on the number of ILLs (e.g., three per day per user) and the unique challenges in acquiring access to original copies and rare manuscripts. However, what really hit everyone between the eyes was the large role that simple ILL transactions play in the overall research life of a scientist.

The next speaker that day was Erin Robertson from the Center for Native Ecosystems. She spoke on the topic of "Doing Research Outside the Academy: How ILL Helps the Center for Native Ecosystems Protect Endangered Plants and Animals." Her story involved the complexities of getting information to support research and lobbying efforts to save precious biological resources. Ecologists and plant and animal biologists keep the location of rare plant and animal species secret to protect their lives and ecological viability. However, fellow scientists need notes and background papers. When scientists request the "real" background papers, they need a trusted conduit to acquire and return the works, so as not to endanger these living resources. ILL services are just such a trusted conduit. Robertson told a number of heart-tugging stories about protecting rare pants and animals with the support of ILL. This is another example of how an ILL transaction can be imbued with meaning beyond the simple delivery of an item. The respect for privacy and confidentiality and the fine hand required to protect secrets without damaging the research process are all exemplified here. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Next Generation Interlibrary Loan: Not Even Close to Dead
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.