Professional Development

In the '2007 OCLC International ILLiad Conference' Category...

Politics & the Media at ACRL

Sunday, April 1, 2007 9:50 pm

A couple of presentations touched on themes that are broader than libraries, namely the role of journalism and the press.

David Silber is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of San Francisco. His presentation, “Digital Media, Learning, and Libraries: Web 2.0, Learning 2.0, and Libraries 2.0″ was well-attended and much appreciated by those in the audience. His point was that libraries are natural partners in his philosophy of AEIOU, which stands for Already Existing Information, Optimally Uploaded. He predicted that traditional newspapers would (and should) be supplanted by blogs and tried to convince all of us (as has our very own Susan) that we should blog with enthusiasm – and lots of pictures! He dismissed the 2.0 terminology as marketing hype, but the qualities of collective intelligence and active participation by the user are what it’s all about. He is every instruction librarian’s dream, requiring all of his classes to physically come into the library and combine that experience with the latest in media technology.

Nina Totenberg was the closing keynote speaker, but much as I respect her, her talk was disappointing. She spoke generally of the importance of journalism in a free society but it wasn’t until the question and answer session that she really engaged the audience with specific examples from her coverage of the Supreme Court and 30 years of watchdog journalism exposing government malfeasance.


Cristina at the 2007 ILLiad International Users Meeting

Friday, March 23, 2007 8:38 am

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.


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

Heather at the 2007 International ILLiad Conference

Thursday, March 22, 2007 11:44 am

Cristina and I attended the 2007 International ILLiad conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia, March 14 to the 16th, 2007.

First of all, for anyone who has not had the pleasure of visiting Virginia Beach I would highly recommend going to experience the calm waters of the beach, the fabulous Hilton Oceanfront Hotel, and the freshest seafood around. We arrived Wendesday afternoon with plenty of time to unpack, shop, and enjoy the sandy beach. This year’s conference celebrated the 10th anniversary of the creation of ILLiad (Interlibrary Loan Internet Accessible Database). It may be known to many, but I did not realize that ILLiad was created just north of us at Virginia Tech. After registration early Thursday morning and enjoying the meet-and-greet breakfast, ILLiad’s “creator,” Harry M. Kriz started the conference off on an energetic and empowering note to be the leaders for change in libraries. When Kriz headed the Interlibrary Loan department at Virginia Tech. there wasn’t software available that specifically addressed the needs of Interlibrary Loan departments or to reduce or eliminate the reliance and overabundance of paper. Kriz took this as a personal challenge to create a software system that mirrored the habits, policies, tasks, and problems found in ILL departments rather than something that forced ILL workers to change their processes. Thus, ILLiad emerged (along with numerous debates and protests of the double L in ILLiad).

Managing Overdues:

While Cristina headed to another conference session, I took part in a session titled “Managing Overdues: Getting Your Books Back Without Hired Goons” with John Brunswick, from Atlas Support Systems. Some days, it does feel like we need hired goons-however, with some new features in ILLiad version 7.2.0 (which we haven’t upgraded to YET), we will be able to better manage and track overdue items, ensure good standing with our lending libraries, and have our patrons not feel as if we’re badgering them for returning items. Since ILLiad is practically a paper-free system for ILL, the 7.2.0 version will allow us to send overdue emails to libraries that we’ve lent our materials to–this will surely make Colleen and our student workers happy–no more envelop stuffing and licking.

Interlibrary Loan Requests:

My second session of the day was titled “The $64,000 Question Answered: Why Do Patrons Place ILL Requests for Items that the Library already Owns?” and was an interesting study done by Karen Janke (ILL Librarian) at Indiana University/Purdue University at Indinapolis (IUPUI). Because of the emense campus size, satelitte libraries, and lack of ‘document delivery’ services, the ILL department at IUPUI tracked their statistics for ILL requests cancelled because the item was available in the main library or one of the many satelitte libraries. In 2006, IUPUI cancelled 25% of all ILL requests because of availability in their own library system, of the 25% total, 27% of the cancelled items were loan requests (books, audio-visual…) and 24% were article requests. After conducting surveys (student, staff, and faculty), examining the IUPUI online catalog interface, and conducting catalog search sessions, the IUPUI ILL department has seen a decrease in the number of cancelled requests due to current availability. As a result, IUPUI will soon begin to drastically redesign their online catalog interface since the obscurity of searching this system was the highest reason for ILL requests. IUPUI use SirsiDynix for their catalog system and feels this may be a major player in the confusion of keyword searching in the catalog.

The Tao of ILLiad:

Beth Posner from The CUNY Graduate Center in New York gave an interesting perspective to ILLiad, finding the Tao. After a brief introduction to Eastern thought, religion, and interpretations, Posner showed how one could find simplicity, connection, flexibility, balance, and engery in using ILLiad and the way in which we customize our staff screen interfaces. I’m not quite sure why I signed up for this session and unfortunately it was right after lunch so I didn’t get the fullness of this session.

ILLiad 7.2 in a Nutshell:

Stephanie Spires from Atlas Systems Training gave an overview of the features, upgrades, and customizations available in the 7.2 version of ILLiad. Since ZSR shares ILLiad with the Carpenter Library, we have not yet upgraded…but after attending this session, Cristina and I are both looking forward to these new features.

In conclusion, this conference was much more than I expected it to be. Whether it being the 10th anniversary of ILLiad or the lure of the beach during non-Spring Break time, I greatly enjoyed the conference sessions, accomodations, and support we’ve received from OCLC and Atlas/ILLiad. I think the greatest benefit that I took away from this year’s conference was simply getting to meet the people face-to-face that I’ve only met over the phone. To finally feel as if there is someone else experiencing the same error messages, process issues, or upgrade excitement is the greatest thing I brought back to Winston (apart from the laptop bags and salt water taffy of course!).

Thanks to Lynn and the Library in whole for Travel and Career Developement opportunities such as this.

Heather Gillette

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