Visioning the Future

The Rethinking Resource Sharing Initiative has been inspired by our original manifesto which is almost ten years old. Time for an update! Ideas specific to the manifesto can be submitted here  

2017 OCLC Resource Sharing Conference Plenary Session Ideas Shared
Please see a great list of action ideas contributed by over 200 people who participated in the discussion. We asked: Who are we serving? What sources of information are our customers looking for? What is it, where is it, how do we get it? How do consortiums/groups impact ILL now and how might they in the future? How do licenses and copyright laws impede your ability to share needed information? How do we maximize legal sharing in this climate? For each of these themed questions, small groups discussed: What are you going to do? What should/will your library do? What should/will the ILL community do? Read your colleagues’ ideas via the link above and consider adding your comments below.

To help us with the manifesto and to help the community Vision the Future please share your ideas and/or comment on someone else’s below.

Let’s do some collective, “vendor neutral”, positive visioning of the future of resource sharing. What should resource sharing look like, both in the immediate and more distant future?

3 comments for “Visioning the Future

  1. October 18, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    What I want in a cloud-based ILL system – Kurt Munson (re-posted from Facebook with Kurt’s permission)

    It needs to be holistic, vendor neutral and seamless for both staff and users rather than the traditionally silo-ed approach used in the past if we are to support the current user discovery process and evolving use of said discovered materials.
    Advances in ease of discovery coupled with expanding options for fulfillment of the user’s information needs present us with increasingly complexed array of options for delivery. The vastly expanded tools for a user to find a source places increasing burden on ILL operations to fill that patron need. What was reference ten years ago is now an ILL staff member’s job to analyze and fill from the myriad of available opportunities which are institution specific. This is not resource sharing. It is not interlibrary loan. It is resource delivery.

    Traditional ILL is predicated on the notion that it, written big and in so very many ways, may be difficult. Something could go wrong and thus staff must review all requests. Consortial borrowing and shared catalogs have proven this wrong as has the trend towards single printings and single ISBNs for items in the publishing world though effective mechanisms for formats require more work to automate the processing there of. For example more effective use of additional openURL genres would address this.

    The critical question becomes how does the resource identified and acquired fit into the information seeking, information analysis and finally information synthesis process of the user? The answers to these questions must drive how we design our systems. The process needs to be framed within this user process and its parts must be designed from this perspective.

    No one system will or can do all. Why? Because our institutions/consortia/state/national systems are all too different for a one-size-fits all solution perspective. We need and will continue to need the ability to customize these and this customization will require increasing integration of disparate systems coupled with the ability of said systems to build things to handle the specific needs of their customers in that area of expertise/functionality.

    The increasingly large and growing number of freely available materials from PubMedCentral, Hathi, Europeana and others must be findable and easily delivered. ILLiad addons are a first step in this direction for discovery.

    APIs can free us from individual interfaces and allow for communication between disparate systems. These must be developed, shared and integrated to eliminate unnecessary staff processing of requests and to improve the patron’s resource management experience by eliminating friction. Think Amazon Marketplace.

    Much of the information available in libraries is packaged in copyright-protected objects so we need IDS Availability logic, Relais D2D service and other like systems to show local availability after searching and this should be automated as possible so we can automatically say no if we cannot fill a request.

    Effective NCIP integration into our local LSP/ILS systems for loans is critical so we can effectively serve our users and provide them information about ALL their loans in one place is key. This requires flexibility around which system does what, for example patron notifications.

    We need to stop thinking of the request as a discrete thing and start thinking of the request as a delivery process of said thing which will go through many steps in many systems. Again, greater integration and more importantly feedback to the user is key. Integration of shipping status and tracking should be part of this. Users want to know the status of a request, owning libraries too upon return.

    In the end, every interlibrary loan or document delivery request comes from a demonstrated user need, the result of effort on the user’s part to find and request an information source. We need to change our perspective to make the notion of the library in the life of the user central and that must define and drive how we design the systems we, as staff, use the process those requests for information preferably in as automated seamless manner as we can.

    — Kurt Munson, Northwestern University

  2. Lars Leon
    November 14, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Global nature – Some libraries can easily fulfill their local needs from a smaller circle of libraries which is great. However, wherever possible, we need as many libraries as possible being willing and able to share on a global scale. So improved systems, policies, and practice must be in place to make this a more efficient process. How can we easily discover and share across multiple platforms, languages, cultures, and more? How can we easily communicate with those around the world?

    Groups – That said, the greatest efficiency for a library will likely continue to be what they are able to accomplish within defined groups. These libraries are hopefully sharing with the world but are most likely working under a different set of policies and practices within their group. A “system” needs to support the work within that group as well as being able to easily connect with other groups around the world.
    It’s more than just an ILL request – Dramatically more attention needs to go to the information seeking+ aspects as commented on by Kurt and the ultimate successful (or not so much) use of that information. The next generation definition of how we “do” resource sharing has to be extended out to the “beginning” through involvement, understanding, helping the patron/customer/etc. be more successful at the thought, and discovery stages. We then have to follow through to understanding impact of the help including how the patron ultimately values our service. This ties in nicely with increased need to use data.

    Data – The growing importance of data analysis just screams for a more intricately woven “system” between patrons and what we do “in front of the scenes” with patrons. How are they building their research? Getting a job? Fulfilling a deeper need? How can we better use data to understand patron success? Real-time quality of service provided by partners? And many other factors.

  3. Beth Posner
    January 25, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Library resource sharing specialists are time and time again the ones who make improvements to library resource sharing…so I want open systems that enable us to keep doing everything we now do and more!

    The following is written by Collette Mak on pages 140-141 in Library Information and Resource Sharing: Transforming Services and Collections, Libraries Unlimited, 2017.

    “In looking back at the historical developments and technical advancements that have helped librarians to make information increasingly free, or at least less expensive to share, librarians must acknowledge that there have been many vendor-developed enhancements. However, much of the real innovation has come from library-developed systems that have been made available to the broader community. The following list reflects just some of the actions initiated by the library community itself as opposed to product releases by commercial ventures. After the revolution begun by ILLiad and Rapid ILL (sometimes described as a Cinderella service) the ILL community stopped waiting around for its fairy godmother. As the library resource sharing community developed, it has increasingly taken control of its own destiny, advancing its work through all of the following:

    • 1996 Electronic Fund Transfer System (EFTS) (
    • 1997 ILLiad
    • 1997 RapidILL
    • 1999 Georgia PINES established
    • 2003 ILLWeb launched
    • 2004 IDS Project established
    • 2004 ALA RUSA STARS
    • 2005 Rethinking Resource Sharing, a national initiative to consider
    ILL from the users’ point of view
    • 2008 “Everything You Wanted to Know about ILL Workshop”
    presented for the first time by ALA RUSA STARS
    • 2009 Article License Information Availability Service (ALIAS)
    released by IDS
    • 2009 Getting It System Toolkit (GIST) released by IDS
    • 2009 RapidX released by Colorado State University as part of
    • 2011 Interlending & Document Supply Conference organized by
    IFLA in the United States for the first time
    140 Library Information and Resource Sharing
    • 2011 Version 1of the RRS STAR Checklist
    • 2013 Beta release of Occam’s Reader
    • 2014 IDS Online Learning Institute/Indiana State Library collaboration
    • 2015 ShareILL, the relaunch of the ILLWeb
    • 2016 RRS STAR Checklist, Version 2

    In a very real sense, these library-led, grassroots initiatives could not have happened any other way. Systems librarians and staff who enjoy working with flexible, customizable systems, may see the value and possibilities of ILL software but the market for commercial resource sharing products has always been thin. In North America, the market is dominated by a small number of products and services with an established user base comprising a high percentage of potential users. This is truefor consortia, as well as individual libraries. No library chooses its circulation or integrated library system (ILS) based on its resource sharing module; those decisions are rightly based on the needs of the end-user community. Further, the dominance of academic libraries in traditional interlibrary loan means that unless a product is adopted by the academics, it is unlikely to gain a user base large enough to make it a viable. (Consider the fate of RLG’s Request Manager software and Pegasus’ Wings; these ISO ILL standards-based peer-to-peer systems failed, in part, because of the slow adoption of the ILL standards and, more likely, because it did not offer enough functionality and cost savings to claim a viable market share.)”

Leave a Reply