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This afternoon, I participated in the OCLC Resource Sharing User Group Meeting, which was facilitated by OCLC and Atlas staff. The webinar was a follow-up to the User Group Meeting at ALA, but several new tools were introduced. One of the most relevant is the Lender String Report. This assessment tool is used to evaluate a lender selection in the lending string (a lending string is comprised of five lending libraries, which are manually selected by ILL staff or automatically selected by OCLC if the patron submits a Direct Request). The Lender String report, in conjunction with the Reciprocity Report, analyses the number of times a lending library says “yes” or “no” to a request. It also calculates the average fill time for that institution. We can use the information to promote or demote libraries in our custom holdings, which will [hopefully] allow for expedient arrival, processing, and delivery of requested materials.
Another feature introduced was OCLC’s new Article Exchange, which is a cloud-based document delivery service. Article Exchange does not require special hardware or proprietary software, and file size is theoretically not an issue. Lending libraries upload material to the cloud, which generates a unique TinyURL and password; staff are able to copy and paste the URL and password into an email or into the borrowing notes field on OCLC as a means of delivery. Once viewed, the article in live in the exchange cloud for five days. If the article is never viewed, it has a 30-day “cloud life.” According to OCLC staff, Article Exchange can probably be incorporated into ILLiad as an Addon. There will be no additional charge for this feature. For those who are interested, the URL is: http://experimental.worldcat.org/AE.
OCLC is also working to migrate Resource Sharing off the First Search platform. They are working with several libraries, who have volunteered to participate in the testing phase of this process. At this time, they project several major developments for ILL operations, including an expanded “buy-it” option, incorporating a variable aging of requests (which would depend on a lending library’s projected time frame to fill a request), and the creation of a dynamic lending string. By May of 2012, they hope to incorporate patron notifications, as well as the ability to alter staff roles and permissions, in the new platform.