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Braving a hail storm on our way, Anna Dulin and I attended the 2012 ILLiad International Conference in Virginia Beach, VA on Thursday, March 22 and Friday, March 23. The conference is held by Atlas Systems, the company responsible for ILLiad (Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery) and Ares (Course Reserves). This was their 15th anniversary so Wednesday evening there was a Birthday Bash complete with a conga line of librarians. (No worries about stray pictures on Facebook or Flickr, we abstained.)

On Thursday morning, the keynote speaker was Jay Jordon, President and CEO of OCLC. He has been president since 1998 and gave an overview of the history of the growth of OCLC. I myself started working in ILL in 1999 so I could relate to the stages of development and how the OCLC interface has changed. On the subject of change, he gave examples of corporations that were not able to quickly adapt such as Kodak and Polaroid. He spoke about taking risks and quoted Wayne Gretzky saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Citing the book, “The Age of the Platform” by Phil Simon, Mr. Jordon introduced OCLC’s next big venture, the WorldShare Platfom. The book tells how Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple have entered into partnerships with companies that could be perceived as competitors. Mr. Jordan described the concept as coopetition. The WorldShare Platform will incorporate an “App Gallery” of applications built by OCLC, libraries and OCLC partners (EBSCO, Ex Libris, Google Books, etc.) with the web services, databases and infrastructure of OCLC. Overall, it was an interesting perspective of where Mr. Jordan plans to take OCLC.

Next, I attended a session about the development of Harvard’s electronic document delivery program, “Scan & Deliver”. Because Harvard has so many libraries, they decided to create a program that would provide scanned articles and chapters to their patrons rather than sending books between libraries. Requests are placed through a “Scan & Deliver” link that appears in their combined OPAC next to eligible items. (Eligible items would include those items not checked out and not on hold for course reserves.) Clicking on the link opens a pre-populated form that is then sent to the appropriate library through ILLiad. They use the borrowing feature in ILLiad as opposed to document delivery because each Harvard library has its own OCLC symbol. The article/chapter is then delivered directly to their patron via e-mail. While many of the features of this program are similar to what we do here at ZSR the main differences are that the link is located right next to the item so the correlation and option is obvious, the service is available to students as well as faculty and staff, and they do not charge for the service.

After lunch we attended, “Taking Cloud-based Delivery to New Heights: The future of delivery from OCLC,” which was presented by Katie Birch who oversees WorldCat Resource Sharing at OCLC. Following up on the keynote presentation and with Jay Jordan in the audience, Ms. Birch solicited ideas for the WorldShare Platform App Gallery. There were many “wish-list” suggestions. One of the apps that has already been submitted maps the location of a book in your stacks guiding you there with a line to show the path to take. Another one compares your library holdings to the NY Times Best Seller List and then creates an Amazon order for missing books. It was an interesting glimpse of the possibilities of the App Gallery.

The last session I attended was, “Juggling the 3-Ring Circus of Student Employees”. Dianne Davenport of Brigham Young University spoke about her experience supervising student employees in an ILL department. While much of the advice was common sense it was good to be reminded that taking extra time to train the students well, ultimately saves time. She recommended 3 “main ingredients” to having effective student employees. 1) Quality training. 2) Feeling empowered. 3) Supervisor follow up.

On Friday we had the privilege of presenting a program outlining the communication efforts between Interlibrary Loan and Special Collections & Archives here at ZSR. Our program was entitled, Preserving and Sharing: Bridging the Gap Between ILL and Special Collections. We were pleased with the audience engagement and hope our presentation was an encouragement to other ILL departments.