Friday, 4 December 2015

Open access and Interlibrary Loans

In our daily work for interlibrary loans we are confronted with tons of requests that we don’t need to actively loan – they are simply out there, freely available, on the web.
Here in my workplace we typically receive around a third of our requests unnecessarily. With greater awareness and information literacy skills our users could save time and effort through simply knowing where to look and with time to search and attention to detail we could detect these resources to forward onward to our readers.

This is the picture at my place of work.

Total requests
Locally owned or freely available

And from October we changed our policy to allow all of our users to place interlibrary loans – our first thoughts on changing were that this would increase the number of unnecessary requests; however our fear was needless…

It looked like this, with researchers and staff contributing quite significantly.
Some interesting tools for satisfying these requests:
Open Access Button

The key functions are finding free research, making more research available and also advocacy. 
When you reach a pay wall, you could push the button on it. The button then performs a search for a freely available copy of the article. 
If a free copy isn't available they aim to make one. Read more and add this plug-in here

Open Library
There's tons of information freely available online - one of my favourites is

It's free to join and you can borrow ebooks from participating libraries all over the world. The aim: one web page for every book ever published. It's free to register, borrow and read.


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