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On March 14th, Heather and I went to the 10th OCLC ILLiad International Users Meeting in Virginia Beach for a two day conference, where Atlas system is headquartered.

According to their website, “Atlas Systems was founded in July of 1995 as a software development company. After the launch of ILLiad in 1999, Atlas has been primarily focused on the development and support of the ILLiad Interlibrary Loan System. Atlas continues to be the authorized service, training, and development arm of OCLC’s ILLiad.”

Because it is their 10th anniversary, Harry Kriz, the most recognizable founding father of ILLiad from Virginia Tech was the key note speaker. It was a very well-organized and informative conference with lots of perks. To start off, we each got a computer-sized bag with a box of salt water taffy candy. One nice touch, I thought was the three-letter symbol printed on the name tag along with the institution name. In ILL Land, the three-letter symbol is what is recognized first and foremost, not a library’s name. Sometimes, you are asked what your symbol is before your name is asked for.
Here is a summary of the sessions I went to.

OCLC Deflection

OCLC has installed an auto-deflection feature in OCLC Resource Sharing (formerly known as ILL). The new feature allows the auto-deflection of ILL requests based on lender-defined criteria in the ILL Policies Directory. Deflection can be based on request service type (i.e., copy or loan), group membership, or format type. We would have to set, for example, all Rare Books materials for “No ILL.” The “all or none” coverage has prohibited us from implementing the feature. In our practice, we have a lot of exceptions. If the requested item is in Rare Books or Archives, we will scan and send it on if Rare Books or Archives deems possible to photocopy.

With the new upgrade for Deflection, libraries can update their local holding records item by item or batch them at OCLC, which allows the ILL department the flexibility to deflect requests that they will not lend under any circumstances, such as “Sex and the City” and “Nip/Tuck” DVDs or journals that are too large or too tightly bound to be scanned or photocopied. It will save staff time by not having to go through those requests only to say “no.” ILL has a running list of journal titles that we routinely say “no” to due to their format or tightly bound conditions, such as Cutter Research Journal. I am currently going through the list and updating the local holding record to show “No ILL” for these titles.

We are, however, having difficulty with the TV series mentioned earlier. Carolyn and I couldn’t figure out how to change the status with the current setting. We are still awaiting OCLC’s response on this.

Unmediated Article ILL

With the new ILLiad 7.2 upgrade, it is possible to implement unmediated ILL article requests. However, we have to implement OCLC ILL Direct Request and set up Odyssey first. The ILL Direct Request service is a feature that facilitates unmediated interlibrary loan. With Direct Request, ILL requests with OCLC numbers are sent without staff intervention. We have not instituted the feature, because of possible wrong record association and book only limitation. Odyssey is a protocol used by ILLiad and the Odyssey Client to send documents electronically between institutions. It is a free software application developed by Atlas Systems. It enables libraries using ILLiad or the Odyssey Client to send and receive documents electronically.

The unmediated article ILL feature will allow requests sent by patrons that have an OCLC # or ISSN to be processed according to the routing rules set up in ILLiad 7.2. The benefits will be that ILL staff won’t have to handle those borrowing requests and the patrons can get the articles after hours and weekends as soon as the lending libraries have processed them. That ought to impress them.

Odyssey Round Table

There were not many of us there. But the hostility toward Ariel, an electronic delivery system we use to deliver ILL articles, was evident and overwhelming. “Death to Ariel” was being applauded. People are printing T-shirts and calling ofr the downfall of Ariel.
Ariel was rolled out by the Research Libraries Group (RLG) in 1996. It enables academic and research libraries to electronically convey and share scanned or digitized documents. It has seen better days. It is what we have been using to deliver articles electronically. It was acquired by Infotrieve in 2003. We have had upgrades in the past few years that basically halted all operations. So whenever we hear “upgrade,” it sends tremors down our spines and we cross our fingers.

As mentioned earlier, Odyssey is a free software application for electronic document delivery from Atlas Systems. It enables libraries using ILLiad or the Odyssey Client to send and receive documents electronically. Not surprisingly, Atlas representatives seemed to relish the fact that there is a push for their Odyssey product.

After the gripe session over Ariel was done, there was serious discussion about scanners. To my surprise, several libraries are already using the very desirable (to me) Minolta PS5000C color book scanner. It costs a whopping $13,000! It enables the scanning of journals that are too tightly bound without damaging the items. The color feature allows scanning of medical journals and photographs with satisfactory results. I was just drooling with envy!

ILLiad 7.2 Web in a Nutshell

The new ILLiad7.2 Web interface has a lot of bells and whistles that a web designer would love and probably has been asking for for years. I am looking forward to working with Kevin on improving our ILLiad pages which shall correct some of the quirkiness of the old pages.

Conclusion

This conference proved to be one of the best I have been to in years. It is organized, informative and very educational. One of the most valued benefits of going to a conference, to me, is meeting people you work with and talk to, either on the phone or online. We exchanged information and ideas. The atmosphere was cooperative and buzzing with excitement with the new developments and possibilities. I even got to meet a couple of ILLiad help desk people that I have bombarded with questions in the past couple of years.

Cristina Yu