Sample Workflows for OCLC Lending

Overview

This document will assist CARLI members in creating lending workflows that might alleviate the confusion that can occur when there is an overlap between consortial and OCLC Interlibrary Loan requests.
 
Existing Documentation:

Best Practices: Monograph ILL Options for I-SHARE Members
I-Share Sample Workflow: Processing I-Share Items

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ILLINET is the acronym for the Illinois Library and Information Network (ILLINET). It is a statewide resource sharing alliance of all academic, public, school, and special libraries that are full members of a multi-type regional library system. There are about 4,350 ILLINET libraries, counting branches (statistics from 2015).

Pie Chart Showing Total Number of ILLINET Libraries, 2015

All 138 CARLI libraries are ILLINET libraries.

  • CARLI comprises public and private higher-education institutions, with two-year, four-year, and specialized programs of instruction including museums, historical societies, and private research libraries. The CARLI member libraries serve primarily the students, faculty and staffs of degree granting academic institutions.

All CARLI libraries are also members of a multi-type regional library system like Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS) or Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), with the exception of the Illinois State Library.

Of the 138 CARLI member libraries, 85 libraries are members of I-Share.

  • I-Share libraries share an integrated library system (ILS). I-Share provides participating libraries with an online catalog (OPAC) of their own collection as well as a merged, union catalog of the holdings of all I-Share libraries, and supports resource sharing among participating libraries.
  • The 53 non-I-Share CARLI member libraries may have stand alone OPACS or ILS, or they may be members of other local consortia with a shared OPAC or ILS, such as those organized within RAILS or IHLS.

CARLI Member Libraries

Resource sharing is very important to Illinois Libraries.

  • ILLINET libraries lend and borrow materials within their own consortia, shared OPACS, and/or shared ILS groups (such as I-Share member library to I-Share member library, or SWAN consortia member to SWAN consortia member).
  • I-Share member ILLINET libraries borrow material from, and lend material to non-I-Share member ILLINET libraries.
  • Non-I-Share member ILLINET libraries borrow material from and lend material to I-Share libraries.
  • All ILLINET libraries (I-Share and non-I-Share) may also lend and borrow material from out of state or internationally as well.

Requesting in I-Share

Non-I-Share ILLINET Libraries are eligible to request library materials on behalf of their patrons directly from CARLI I-Share libraries through the I-Share OPAC.

To facilitate this:

  • CARLI has created (and maintains) a database of patron records for libraries within Illinois that are a part of a library system, but not part of I-Share, so that they can place requests in the I-Share catalog for their patrons.
    • These ILLINET libraries have 'institutional level' borrowing privileges to place requests on behalf of their patrons in the I-Share catalog.
    • These ILLINET libraries are bound by the I-Share Resource Sharing Code when requesting materials in I-Share.
  • CARLI refers to these patron records as the non-I-Share Library’s ILLINET ID or ILLINET account.
    • These ILLINET IDs are ONLY used within I-Share; they have no meaning outside of I-Share (as in, they are not an Illinois State Library assigned number used for other purposes).

Non-I-Share ILLINET libraries use their CARLI-maintained I-Share account (ILLINET ID) to place requests for materials from I-Share libraries and to manage (review and renew) the I-Share materials they have charged.

The I-Share member libraries do NOT have CARLI-maintained ILLINET patron records because patrons from I-Share libraries:

  • may request material directly from other I-Share libraries through the OPAC.
  • may visit other I-Share libraries in person to borrow materials.

If the material is available to the patron through I-Share, the patron can request it for themselves. As such, the I-Share library does NOT need to place requests in the I-Share catalog on their patrons' behalfs.

ILLINET and I-Share Workflow documentation

OCLC Lending

The majority of OCLC requests for returnable items are for materials not available within the library's own shared ILS system or consortium (such as I-Share or the IHLS SHARE consortium). However:

  • Libraries may use OCLC (or other ILL request system) to request material from other libraries that are not a part of the same consortium/shared ILS.
  • Occasionally, an I-Share library (or a library that is part of another consortium) will only lend certain materials to another library (or library patron) within the same consortium/shared ILS, if the request comes through OCLC (or other ILL request system).
  • Libraries who have enabled OCLC Direct Requesting may inadvertently submit OCLC requests for material available within their consortial collections.
  • OCLC requests (or other ILL borrowing system requests) may also be made by out of state or international libraries.

It is up to the lending library to decide how they are going to maintain the record of what material was lent to whom, as well as how they will apply an appropriate "charged" item status to the item in their local circulation system.

Libraries follow various workflows for tracking their OCLC lending requests. Example workflows are included in this documentation.

During the process of outlining various workflows for OCLC requests in CARLI, the committee reviewed the possible impact of OCLC direct requests on lending practices. The committee was interested in how many requests were submitted directly by patrons via OCLC, when the materials were actually available at the local library or within the library's consortium (such as I-Share).
 
To gather information on the practices, questions about CARLI members’ use of OCLC direct requests for returnables and non-returnables were posted on the CARLI Resource Sharing Interest Group email list. The following are the reasons provided by CARLI members, both for and against direct requests.
 
Reasons for not allowing direct requests by patrons included:

  • Direct requests were not necessary because the library receives very few requests. The staff has time to handle them.
  • Because many requests for non-returnables need editing, staff involvement saves time in the long-run by not allowing unmediated requests.
  • The library staff would rather choose the lending libraries because the staff knows which libraries have a quick turnaround time.
  • The library saves a little processing time by using the local consortium as the primary source.
  • Usually the material that the patron wants is available through the local consortium, so OCLC requesting isn't needed.
  • Patrons are asked to try to get materials through the local consortium to keep costs down including return shipping.
  • The library uses ILLIAD and RAPID for patron requesting.
  • The staff evaluates the requests before proceeding with anything that incurs a charge.
  • Sometimes the lender requests special return mailing service, which increases costs for some unmediated loans.
  • The library wants to control costs as much as possible. If only LVIS libraries are selected or libraries that don't charge for photocopy charges, the timeframe will be considerably slower if the "free" libraries can't fill the request. Time will elapse before the library staff addresses the unfilled requests.
  • The library does not request interlibrary loans of textbook items. Mediated or unmediated direct requests could result in a flood of textbook interlibrary loans.
  • Patrons forget how the request was submitted (OCLC or local consortium), then ask the staff member for help in tracking the request.

Reasons for allowing direct requests by patrons included:

  • The library receives many requests, and unmediated direct requesting speeds the process along.
  • Using direct requesting allows staff time to be focused on the more difficult items/arcane requests to fill.
  • Unmediated requests can be submitted at any time including when the library is closed. Because the requests are unmediated, other libraries might fill the requests before the home library has a chance to review them.
  • Custom holding groups can be used to avoid submitting an unmediated request for material owned by the home library or accessible through the library's local consortium.
  • A custom holdings path can be set up. As an example, the library uses custom holdings for unmediated requests that go to Illinois, non-I-Share libraries only, in order to use ILDS for delivery and save postage/mailing costs.

To ensure OCLC requests are processed correctly by the borrowing library (and not confused for regular I-Share transactions), the CARLI Resource Sharing Committee recommends all I-Share Libraries attach an OCLC Loan band to items when preparing them for OCLC loan to another I-Share Library.

Below are examples of lending library workflows for recording OCLC loans in an ILS. Libraries have developed their own workflows to make sure their materials show the appropriate status in their local circulation system. These example workflows may be used by libraries setting up or revising their own workflows.
 
The ‘right’ workflow is the one that works for your library. All of the workflows require the lending library to create patron accounts in their local circulation system in order to charge out items being lent. Some libraries use one or more generic “ILL” patron records, some create individual patron records for each borrowing library, while some libraries do a combination.

Click on the title of the sample workflow in this table of contents to be taken to the full description of that workflow, including the Overview, Steps, Pro, and Con discussion (below).

Single, Generic, Interlibrary Loan “Patron” Account
Monthly, Generic, Interlibrary-Loan Patron Records, January-December
Multiple Patron Records, One For Each Borrowing Library
I-Share Libraries Only: Multiple Patron Records and CARLI-maintained ILLINET Records
I-Share Libraries Only: Generic Interlibrary Loan Patron Records and CARLI-Maintained ILLINET Records


Single, Generic, Interlibrary Loan “Patron” Account

Create a generic local “Interlibrary Loan” patron account; charge OCLC-lent items to that account.
                
Steps

  1. Create a generic local “Interlibrary Loan” patron account in your local circulation system.
  2. When an OCLC Lending Request for a monograph is received, confirm available holdings.
  3. Charge item to the “Interlibrary Loan” patron account in the local circulation system in order to mark the item as unavailable, and to easily identify the charged item as being checked out to another library via OCLC ILL.
  4. Process item in OCLC to fill the request. The shipping information is generated.
  5. When the item is returned, finish processing the item in OCLC, then discharge the item in the local circulation system.

Pro

  • Setup is quick; lending library staff only need to create one patron account, and the contact information is for the lending library.
  • The “Interlibrary Loan” account allows library staff to view and manage all items checked out to OCLC libraries from one account.
  • Any notices generated by the local circulation system are sent to the ILL department email address, which makes it easy to follow up on overdue items loaned via OCLC ILL.
  • Library staff can print a list of items charged to the account to cross-check against charged items in OCLC ILL.
  • The “Interlibrary Loan” patron account enables multi-campus universities with library collections at multiple campuses to request or lend  items from the other campus locations.

Con

  • If the borrowing library does not notice the item fulfills an incoming OCLC request AND if the borrowing library is a member of the same shared ILS as the lending library, the borrowing library may accidentally discharge the incoming item. This removes the item it from the Interlibrary Loan patron account at the lending institution, and prompts the borrowing library to return the item without using it.
  • Library staff may accidentally discharge an item in the local circulation system without properly finishing the OCLC ILL transaction.
    • For in-state items, this typically occurs if the item is returned via the ILDS delivery service and does not have the OCLC paperwork.
    • If the library is part of a consortium with a shared ILS, it is possible that the requesting library could discharge the item at their location. A discharged request is more difficult for the lending library to recognize without the OCLC paperwork.
  • If the lending library limits the number of overdue, lost, or charged items that can be on one local patron account, then having only one “Interlibrary Loan” patron account could reach those limits.
    • It may be possible to configure your “Interlibrary Loan” patron account to have a different set of privileges in your local circulation system.
  • Notices emailed by the local circulation system will not automatically be emailed to the borrowing library. Library staff will need to forward the messages/individually contact the OCLC borrower. Print notices will not contain the library’s mailing address.

Return to List of Sample Workflows


Monthly, Generic, Interlibrary-Loan Patron Records, January-December

Create twelve generic, local, monthly patron accounts (example: January-ILL, February-ILL, etc); charge OCLC-lent items to that account.
 
Steps

  1. Create a generic local “Interlibrary Loan” patron account in your local circulation system for each month.
    • Examples:
      • Last name: ILL, First name: January
      • Last name: ILL, First name, February,
      • etc.
  2. When an OCLC Lending Request for a monograph is received, confirm available holdings.
  3. Charge item to the appropriate month’s “Interlibrary Loan” patron account in the local circulation system in order to mark the item as unavailable, and to easily identify the charged item as being checked out to another library via OCLC ILL.
  4. Process item in OCLC to fill the request. The shipping information is generated.
  5. When the item is returned, finish processing the item in OCLC, then discharge the item in the local circulation system.

Pro

  • Setup is quick; lending library staff only need to create twelve patron accounts, and the contact information is for the lending library.
  • The monthly “Interlibrary Loan” account allows library staff to view and manage all items checked out to OCLC libraries from those 12 accounts.
  • The “monthly” nature of the Interlibrary Loan accounts makes it easy to follow up on charged items for renewals, overdues, and lost item charges.
  • Any notices generated by the local circulation system can all be set to be sent to the ILL department email address, which makes it easy to follow up on overdue items loaned via OCLC ILL.
  • Library staff can print a list of items charged to the account to cross-check against charged items in OCLC ILL.
  • The monthly “Interlibrary Loan” patron account enables multi-campus universities with library collections at multiple campuses to request items from our other campus locations.

Con

  • If the borrowing library does not notice the item fulfills an incoming OCLC request AND if the borrowing library is a member of the same shared ILS as the lending library, the borrowing library may accidentally discharge the incoming item. This removes the item it from the Interlibrary Loan monthly patron account at the lending institution, and prompts the borrowing library to return the item without using it.
  • Library staff may accidentally discharge an item in the local circulation system without properly finishing the OCLC ILL transaction.
    • For in-state items, this typically occurs if the item is returned via the ILDS delivery service and does not have the OCLC paperwork.
    • If the library is part of a consortium with a shared ILS, it is possible that the requesting library could discharge the item at their location. A discharged request is more difficult for the lending library to recognize without the OCLC paperwork.
  • If the lending library limits the number of overdue, lost, or charged items that can be on one local patron account, then high volume lenders could reach those limits with each monthly Interlibrary Loan patron account.
    • It may be possible to configure your “Interlibrary Loan” patron accounts to have a different set of privileges in your local circulation system.
  • Notices emailed by the local circulation system will not automatically be emailed to the borrowing library. Library staff will need to forward the messages/individually contact the OCLC borrower. Print notices will not contain the library’s mailing address.

Return to List of Sample Workflows


Multiple Patron Records, One For Each Borrowing Library

Create a local patron record for each Requesting Library; charge OCLC-lent items to that account.
 
Steps

  1. Create a local patron account in your local circulation system for each OCLC borrowing library, using the library information found in the OCLC request.
    • Follow consistent account creation processes for all libraries.
  2. When an OCLC Lending Request for a monograph is received, confirm available holdings.
  3. Charge item to the locally created patron record in the local circulation system in order to mark the item as unavailable, and to easily identify the charged item as being checked out to another library via OCLC ILL.
  4. Process item in OCLC to fill the request. The shipping information is generated.
  5. When the item is returned, finish processing the item in OCLC, then discharge the item in the local circulation system.

Pro

  • This method would be good for libraries lending large volumes of material through OCLC.
  • Since library staff will follow a consistent patron-creation process for all OCLC borrowing libraries (regardless of in state, out of state, same library system/shared ILS, or different), the workflow for creating the patron records, and then locating those existing records in your database will be easier for library staff.
  • Multi-campus universities with library collections at multiple campuses can create a patron account for each location, to request or lend items from the other campus locations.
  • Any notices emailed by the local circulation system are automatically generated and sent directly to the borrowing library by email (if email address is entered in the borrowing library’s local patron account). Print notices contain the library’s mailing address.
  • The materials checked out to the specific borrowing library are recorded twice- once in OCLC and once in the local library system.

Con

  • Work is needed to create the records initially.
  • Work is needed to keep the records current.
  • The local database may become cluttered with patron records for libraries that might borrow infrequently.
  • If the borrowing library does not notice the item fulfills an incoming OCLC request AND if the borrowing library is a member of the same shared ILS as the lending library, the borrowing library may accidentally discharge the incoming item. This removes the item it from their local patron account at the lending institution, and prompts the borrowing library to return the item without using it.
  • Library staff may accidentally discharge an item in the local circulation system without properly finishing the OCLC ILL transaction.
    • For in-state items, this typically occurs if the item is returned via the ILDS delivery service and does not have the OCLC paperwork.

Return to List of Sample Workflows


I-Share Libraries Only: Multiple Patron Records and CARLI-maintained ILLINET Records

NOTE: While the following workflow is an effective way for individual libraries to process OCLC requests, the Resource Sharing Committee would like to point out this specific workflow contains a number of issues that might lead to some confusion between the lending and borrowing libraries.

Create local patron records for each out-of-state library or I-Share Library, use the CARLI-maintained ILLINET ID for ILLINET libraries; charge OCLC-lent items to the appropriate account.

Steps

  1. Determine which category the OCLC borrowing library fits into, and follow appropriate account creation/location steps in your local circulation system:
    • ILLINET libraries: Search Voyager for the “patron” as follows:
      • Library: ILLINET Library
      • Last name: ILLINET
      • First name: Type in the beginning letters of the library’s name, and select the correct library from the list.
    • I-Share libraries: Create a local patron account for each I-Share library, using the borrowing library’s OCLC symbol as the institutional ID.
    • Out of State Libraries: Create an individual patron account for each out of state library, using the borrowing library’s OCLC symbol as the institutional ID.
  2. When an OCLC Lending Request for a monograph is received, confirm available holdings.
  3. Charge item to the appropriate patron record in your local circulation system in order to mark the item as unavailable, and to easily identify the charged item as being checked out to another library via OCLC ILL.
  4. Process item in OCLC to fill the request. The shipping information is generated.
  5. When the item is returned, finish processing the item in OCLC, then discharge the item in the local circulation system.

Pro

  • Any notices emailed by the local circulation system are automatically generated and sent directly to the borrowing library by email (if email address is entered in the borrowing library’s local patron account). Print notices contain the library’s mailing address.
  • The materials checked out to the specific borrowing library are recorded twice- once in OCLC and once in the local library system.
  • Using the CARLI-maintained ILLINET records for the ILLINET libraries saves time, as compared to manually entering a local patron record for each ILLINET library.

Con

  • When ILLINET libraries log into their VuFind Accounts, they will see the OCLC-requested items alongside the items they have requested directly through I-Share. This is confusing.
    • Renewing an OCLC-Requested item in VuFind does not automatically update the due date in OCLC, nor does it notify the lending library of the need to renew the item in OCLC.
    • VuFind does not indicate to the borrowing library that the request originated as an OCLC request.
  • Work is needed to create the records initially.
  • Work is needed to keep the records current.
  • Your library’s local database may become cluttered with patron records for out-of-state libraries that might borrow infrequently.
  • Library staff will need to be aware of three different workflows (ILLINET, I-Share, and Out-Of-State) for creating the patron records, and then locating those existing records in your database.
    • Remember, the other I-Share libraries do not have a CARLI-managed ILLINET account. Review the steps above.
  • If the borrowing library does not notice the item fulfills an incoming OCLC request AND if the borrowing library is a member of the same shared ILS as the lending library, the borrowing library may accidentally discharge the incoming item. This removes the item it from their local patron account at the lending institution, and prompts the borrowing library to return the item without using it.
  • Library staff may accidentally discharge an item in the local circulation system without properly finishing the OCLC ILL transaction.
    • For in-state items, this typically occurs if the item is returned via the ILDS delivery service and does not have the OCLC paperwork.

Return to List of Sample Workflows


I-Share Libraries Only: Generic Interlibrary Loan Patron Records and CARLI-Maintained ILLINET Records

NOTE: While the following workflow is an effective way for individual libraries to process OCLC requests, the Resource Sharing Committee would like to point out this specific workflow contains a number of issues that might lead to some confusion between the lending and borrowing libraries.

Create a generic local “I-Share-ILL” patron account, create a generic local “Out-Of-State-ILL” patron account, use the CARLI-maintained ILLINET ID for ILLINET libraries; charge OCLC-lent items to the appropriate account.

Alternatively, create a single generic "Interlibrary Loan" patron account, or monthly generic "Interlibrary Loan" accounts, use the CARLI-maintained ILLINET ID for ILLINET libraries; charge OCLC-lent items to the appropriate account.

Steps

  1. Determine which category the OCLC borrowing library fits into, and follow appropriate account creation/location steps
  2. Create a generic local “I-Share-ILL” patron account and a “Out-Of-State-ILL” patron account in your local circulation system.
    • Alternatively, create a single generic "Interlibrary Loan" patron account for all non-ILLINET transactions.
  3. When an OCLC Lending Request for a monograph is received, confirm available holdings.
  4. Charge item to the appropriate patron record in the local circulation system in order to mark the item as unavailable, and to easily identify the charged item as being checked out to another library via OCLC ILL.
    • Out-of-state library: Charge to “Out-Of-State-ILL” generic patron record, or to generic "Interlibrary Loan" patron account.
    • I-Share Library: Charge to “I-Share-ILL” generic patron record, or to generic "Interlibrary Loan" patron account.
    • ILLINET Library: ILLINET libraries: Search Voyager for the “patron” as follows:
      • Library: ILLINET Library
      • Last name: ILLINET
      • First name: Type in the beginning letters of the library’s name, and select the correct library from the list.
  5. Process item in OCLC to fill the request. The shipping information is generated.
  6. When the item is returned, finish processing the item in OCLC, then discharge the item in the local circulation system.

Pro

  • Using the CARLI-maintained ILLINET records for the ILLINET libraries saves time, as compared to manually entering a local patron record for each ILLINET library.
  • For ILLINET libraries, any notices emailed by the local circulation system are automatically generated and sent directly to the ILLINET library by email (if email address is entered in the borrowing library’s local patron account). Print notices contain the ILLINET library’s mailing address.

Con

  • For Out-Of-State or I-Share Libraries, notices emailed by the local circulation system will not automatically be emailed to the borrowing library. Library staff will need to forward the messages/individually contact the OCLC borrower. Print notices will not contain the library’s mailing address.
  • When ILLINET libraries log into their VuFind Accounts, they will see the OCLC-requested items alongside the items they have requested directly through I-Share. This is confusing.
    • Renewing an OCLC-Requested item in VuFind does not automatically update the due date in OCLC, nor does it notify the lending library of the need to renew the item in OCLC.
    • VuFind does not indicate to the borrowing library that the request originated as an OCLC request.
  • Library staff will need to be aware of three different workflows (ILLINET, I-Share, and Out-Of-State) for locating those existing records in the local database.
    • Remember, the other I-Share libraries do not have a CARLI-managed ILLINET account. Review the steps above.
  • If the borrowing library does not notice the item fulfills an incoming OCLC request AND if the borrowing library is a member of the same shared ILS as the lending library, the borrowing library may accidentally discharge the incoming item. This removes the item it from their local patron account at the lending institution, and prompts the borrowing library to return the item without using it.
  • Library staff may accidentally discharge an item in the local circulation system without properly finishing the OCLC ILL transaction.
    • For in-state items, this typically occurs if the item is returned via the ILDS delivery service and does not have the OCLC paperwork.

Return to List of Sample Workflows

  • Put the patron barcode from Voyager into the ILLiad address field, so it prints out on the request.
  • When updating the request in ILLiad add the book barcode to the record to provide an easy way to get to the Voyager patron and the book records.
  • Design a standardized workflow for adding Institutional Patron Records in your Voyager Database.
    • Consistency is key for being able to easily find the records you’ve previously added.
  • Create a patron group specifically for Interlibrary Loan transactions. This will allow you to:
    • Customize the borrowing privileges, fine/fee limits, etc.
    • Easily use Voyager Access Reports to report on those patron records.
  • Patron Record Suggestions for entering generic ILL patron records:
    • Last Name: Choose something memorable.
    • Patron Barcode: Follow your library’s policy.
    • If your library sends email notices, enter your library’s ILL department email address so circulation-generated notices will be sent to your account for forwarding.
  • Patron Record Suggestions for entering multiple ILL patron records:
    • Last Name: choose something consistent for these locally created patron records, such as ILL. If using a hybrid workflow, you might use a combination such ILLINET, I-SHARE, and ILL.
    • First Name: Include enough information to uniquely identify the library. There is a lot of “Lincoln” in Illinois, for example.
    • Patron “Name Type”: Institutional
    • Institution ID: Follow your library’s policy, but the OCLC symbol could be entered here.
    • Patron Record Expiration Date: Can be open ended.
    • Patron Barcode: Follow your library’s policy, but the OCLC symbol could be entered here.
    • Email Address: If your library sends email notices, enter the borrowing library’s email address so circulation-generated notices will be sent automatically (per your library’s Voyager settings).
    • Include ILDS code in Permanent Address: If the library is in-state, consider including the ILDS address in the patron’s permanent address.