ILL Committee Liaison Report--Association of Research Libraries




1. ARL Establishes Task Force on Collections & Access Issues

The ARL Task Force on Collections & Access Issues was formed in late 2001 to address how best to advance an agenda that emerged from the discussions at the October 2001 ARL Forum on Collections & Access for the 21st Century Scholar. During or by the conclusion of 2002, the Task Force is asked to report on the status of their work and to recommend what further actions should be pursued by ARL and by other agencies to advance these actions. The Task Force is chaired by Shirley Baker, ARL Past-President, and Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Dean of University Libraries, Washington University in St. Louis.

The Task Force has been charged to assess and, if judged appropriate, to develop an action plan to:

  • Promote weaving the library into the web (rather than the web into the library).
  • Articulate a shared vision on how the role(s) of research libraries might evolve and what is meant by various terms (knowledge management, content management, how we define library collections, etc.).
  • Encourage rethinking of the roles of humans in selecting and cataloging information resources (traditional materials as well as web sites, etc.) in light of machine-assisted search tools. Focus on how to enhance or redefine search criteria to improve search engines and resource integration tools.
  • Track experiments that enhance information access via the web to learn from them, especially vis-a-vis collaborations with faculty to develop content for teaching and learning. Share information and expand conversations to faculty, scholars, societies, and the commercial sector.
  • Help develop staff to work productively in this environment of changing boundaries; promote tolerance for ambiguity and willingness to change; skills to works with faculty, etc.
  • Synthesize existing research on information-seeking behavior of the academic community; assess what is most useful for research libraries; promote priority research agendas with researchers.

2. Collections & Access for the 21st Century Scholar: A Forum to Explore the Roles of the Research Library

The Web has changed the way people seek information. In October 2001 ARL sponsored a day-and-a-half forum to seek a shared understanding, among different units of the library, of the impact of these changes on 1) approaches to collection management and 2) library access strategies. Participants in the forum explored the many facets of the shift in information-seeking behavior. The outcome is an inventory of potential individual library strategies as well as ideas on reshaping ARL's agenda in support of these emerging research library collections and access strategies. A list of the ideas that surfaced at the Forum, along with the speaker presentations, is posted on the ARL web site at For a list of Quotable Quotes from the form please visit

3. ARL Scholars Portal Initiative Advances; ARL to Survey Members on Portal Implementations

The ARL Scholars Portal Working Group was established in 2000 to advance the concept of a collective research library presence on the Web. During early 2001, the Working Group narrowed its focus to the development of specifications (conceptual, functional, and technical) for a "super-discovery tool." This discovery tool needs to search, aggregate, integrate, and delivery licensed and openly available digital content across a broad range of subject fields and from multiple institutions. Also during the first half of 2001 the Working Group conducted an environment scan that identified a wide range of companies and products that have been described as "portals."

At its July meeting, the ARL Board supported the Working Group's recommendation to begin a collaborative exploration" with a vendor that would lead to a project to test the vision of a scholars portal articulated by the Working Group. Discussions with the vendor continue, but an announcement is expected shortly. A small group of early implementers have indicated interest in participating in the two-year project: the implementation of a super-discovery tool that connects undergraduates with high-quality electronic and print resources and a suite of related services such as linkages to online reference services, access to course management services, etc. Mary Jackson serves as coordinator for the project. Additional information on the Scholars Portal initiative may be found at In January ARL will survey its members to determine the extent to which ARL libraries have installed and are offering search engines and other resource integration tools and related services. The results of the survey will help to inform the ARL Scholars Portal Working Group on this trend, inform the vendor community of portal needs of the ARL community, and be reported back to the ARL membership.

4. AAU/ARL/NCC Japan Journal Access Project Invites Libraries Interested in Obtaining Materials from Japanese Libraries to Join GIF

Building on two successful document delivery projects - one with Waseda University and the second with Japan's Association of National University Libraries - the Japan Project has launched a third document delivery project with Japanese libraries. This new initiative is called the Global ILL Framework, or GIF.

During 2001 Japan's National Institute for Informatics (NII) implemented the ISO ILL Protocol in its NACSIS ILL system and completed testing of the ILL Protocol with OCLC. NII is now ready to begin accepting requests via OCLC ILL from members of the Japan Project.

GIF will permit Japanese libraries to send requests from the NACSIS ILL system and have Japan Project members receive those requests via the OCLC ILL system. Japan Project members will initiate requests on OCLC and Japanese libraries will receive them on NACSIS ILL. Use of the ISO ILL Protocol enables libraries to use their messaging system of choice and not be required to use a proprietary communication method.

At present, GIF is limited to members of the Japan Project and requests are limited to non-returnables. Libraries may charge their normal ILL fees and set policies about what may be copied. Payments will be made via OCLC's ILL Fee Management. Materials will be shipped via Ariel or fax. Japan Project libraries will search the OPACs of Japanese libraries to determine holdings. Over the next twelve months, we expect to include returnables and exchange requests via other Protocol-compliant systems. The aim of GIF is to achieve global ILL/DD sharing within a library's regular ILL/DD operation.

ARL invites libraries that have a need for materials held by Japanese university and research libraries to join the Japan Project. Nearly 60 Japanese libraries have indicated an interest in participating in GIF. If you are interested in joining the Japan Project and participating in this first phase of the GIF initiative, please contact Mary Jackson, Japan Journal Access Project Coordinator, by February 1, 2002. Members may join at a later date as well.

The German Resources Project is now accepting registrations from its membership for online access to 18 standard German reference works. A contract between ARL and the German service provider of Munich was recently completed that inaugurates this unique transatlantic collaboration. Participant libraries obtain IP-based web access not only to the best-known universal reference sources - the massive Brockhaus Enzyklopädie, the 10-volume Duden German dictionary, and the Fischer World Almanac - but also a host of discipline-specific resources, among them Kindlers Neues Literaturlexikon, the Metzler Musik-Lexikon, along with other standard works in the humanities, medicine, and the natural sciences.

First-round registration is available now through January 31, 2002 and at six-month intervals thereafter. For further information, terms and conditions, and registration forms, go to

The German Resources Project is part of the AAU/ARL Global Resources Program. For additional information, please contact
Mary Jackson (regarding contract, registration, payment, etc.) at or
Jeff Garrett, Acting Assistant University Librarian for Collection Management & Bibliographer, Western Languages & Literatures, Northwestern University (database content).

6. ARL to Publish Proceedings from Successful "Shaping ILL/DD in the 21st Century Conference"

"This has been wonderful having information about all aspects of ILL. Usually we are lucky to have one session at a conference relating to ILL!"

This kind of conference has been needed, and I'm excited to see it happen and be a part of it. It's necessary to setting new goals and creating/improving services in one's own ILL operation."

Over 200 librarians and vendors participated in "Shaping Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery in the 21st Century." Co-sponsored by ARL and the University of Michigan and held in Ann Arbor in early November, the conference was the first national conference devoted to ILL/DD issues. Shirley Baker, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Dean of University Libraries at Washington University in St. Louis, and ARL Past-President, opened the two-day conference with a presentation entitled "Change, Change, and More Change." Shirley highlighted the many advances in the field over the past decade and provided a glimpse into the future by encouraging ILL/DD managers to take calculated risks, value interdependence, understand cost-effectiveness, and act.

Fifteen ILL/DD leaders were invited to give presentations on such diverse topics as distance education, standards, the new national ILL code, and management software. In a parallel track, ten vendors provided updates on ILL/DD-related products and services. An exhibit hall afforded attendees the opportunity for one-on-one demonstrations and informal conversations with vendors. The schedule also provided ample time for colleagues to network. The Research Libraries Group hosted an evening reception to toast 10 years of use of the Ariel document delivery software. Fretwell-Downing, Inc. sponsored Thursday's luncheon. Other vendors contributed financially to the conference.

ARL will publish the conference proceedings this spring. Purchase information will be announced as soon as details become available.

7. National Library of Australia Releases Findings of ILL/DD Benchmarking Study

Over the past two years, the National Resource Sharing Working Group, supported by the National Library of Australia (NLA), has provided oversight and leadership for the Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery Benchmarking Study. The ILL/DD study, the largest undertaken in Australia, measured performance of more than 90 university, special, national/state, and public libraries. The study's methodology is based on ARL's ILL/DD Performance Measures Study and Mary Jackson served as consultant to the Working Group and NLA.

The Australian study identified five key strategies of the most efficient libraries. These libraries:

  • Streamlined their workflow;
  • Introduced automated systems;
  • Had well-trained staff; · Added and maintained up-to-date holdings information about their collections in a union catalog; and
  • Utilized cooperative agreements with their main ILL/DD partners.

The results of the study may be found at

For additional information contact:

Mary E. Jackson

Senior Program Officer for Access Services

Association of Research Libraries