MOUSS Interlibrary Loan Committee--British Library Document Supply Centre Report

Activities report for 2003

2003 has been a challenging year for document suppliers. New technologies and their impact on customer expectations have provided challenges and opportunities. We have recognised these challenges and met them with the initiation of modernisation programme, which has resulted in fundamental changes to way in which our services are delivered.

The first stage of the modernisation programme has been the successful replacement of over 100 photocopy machines with flat bed scanners. These, in association with sophisticated request management software, mean that we can offer a greater range of supply options to our customers.

The principle of these is secure electronic delivery (SED). This means we can offer electronic supply of almost all the 100 million items held at the Document Supply Centre. Scanned documents are converted to PDF and placed on a server at the Library. Once this is done an email is sent informing the customer that they can download their document. This is achieved by activating a link in the email. The security of the transaction is through the use of Adobe Acrobat version 6 in conjunction with the digital rights management capability of Adobe Content Server. We chose this solution as it uses Adobe software only and no third party plug-ins are required. The level of security provided by this technology is such that Elsevier and other leading publishers have sanctioned its use for delivery of articles from their publications.

The advantages to our users are the speed with which they can receive their documents (as little as 2 hours) and the knowledge that copyright obligations are being met through the digital rights management employed.

This first phase of modernisation has also had significant impact on the efficiency of internal processes and these are reflected in our highest ever levels of customer satisfaction.

We have also added significantly to the number of journals stored in electronic format. We now have almost 4,000 titles available for instant delivery, including major publishers such as Elsevier, Blackwell, Kluwer Academic and Nature. We hope to expand the number of titles significantly over the next 12 months.

2004 will see the pace of the modernisation programme maintained and customers can looked forward to more significant enhancements in the way they can gain access to and interact with the collections, catalogues and staff at the British Library.

Richard Thurlow
December 2003