Research Tools - Fall 1998

First Search Unleashes the Power of Interlibrary Loan

Faculty, staff, and students using the Weinberg Memorial Library will not notice it at first, but a powerful new resource in the pursuit of information has now been unleashed. The ability to send interlibrary loan requests quickly, easily, painlessly to the Library's interlibrary loan department just got easier with ILL via FirstSearch!
FirstSearch consists of 62 different databases, covering a wide satiety of subject areas, consisting of indexes, abstracts, and full-text. These databases are available from the Library's home page, by clicking on the "Electronic Indexes" link and then clicking on ''FirstSearch". Out of the total number of FirstSearch databases available for searching, 39 databases can link the patron to electronic ILL.
The ILL option on FirstSearch allows a patron to select an item (book, article, etc.) to be requested for interlibrary loan. It is what is termed a "mediated" request since the request goes to the Weinberg Memorial Library's Coordinator of Interlibrary Loan, Helen Weiss. Helen then chooses which libraries she will try to get the requested item from. She selects the libraries to fill a request based on past experience, e.g., domestic libraries will fill a request more rapidly than international libraries. Typically, a string of five libraries is put into the ILL queue. An interlibrary loan request goes from library to library until it is filled.
The advantages of requesting items through FirstSearch are significant. Usually the details concerning the book or journal articles that are being requested are more accurate since the information comes straight from the database that is providing the citation information. This helps save processing time since the Library's ILL staff do not have to do additional research in order to try to fill a patron's request. In addition, the request is legible and neat. This also saves time by cutting down on errors that might occur if the ILL staff is not able to interpret a patron's request correctly.
So, how does this whole process work? Well, the first thing a patron must do is search one of the FirstSearch databases. After a search has been performed you would select an article, book, etc. you would be interested in reading. If the Weinberg Memorial Library already subscribes to that journal or owns a copy of the book, a message will appear at the top of the screen along with the item's citation stating: "FirstSearch indicates that your library owns this item or magazine." If the Weinberg Memorial Library does not own or subscribe to that book or magazine, typically the message with the citation will read: "check the catalogs in your library."
Once a patron has ascertained that the Library doesn't have the item that is needed, the next steps are very easy to accomplish. When you have the article or book citation on the screen, you will notice that one of the buttons on the top of the screen reads: Get/Display Item. Simply click on this button and the next screen will display a series of buttons indicating how you can order the item for delivery. One of the choices in bold letters is: Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Click on this choice and you will be taken to a screen that indicates prices for interlibrary loan and to see your librarian for price. Ignore this notice and click on the button in the upper lefthand side of the screen that says: Continue. (For those that do not know, interlibrary loan is free for all University faculty and $1.50 for any article and free for any book for all University students.)
On your screen should appear some copyright information and a form to be filled out. If the item is something that you really want fill out the form, as much as possible, and click on the button on the bottom of the form that says: ILL Item. One feature of this form is that it will not allow you to submit an interlibrary loan request without including your phone number.
This electronic interlibrary loan form is then sent to a file that Helen Weiss, ILL Coordinator, reviews and attaches the OCLC symbols of lending libraries to before sending the request out to he filled. Even though sending your request may speed up its submission, it should be remembered that interlibrary loan requests may still take two to three weeks to fulfill. This is due to the fact that each of the five libraries in the request queue has four business days in which to respond to our request. The exception to this is our 24 hour article delivery agreement with Marywood University; ILL photocopies from Marwood are usually available within one working day.
So, login and test the power of electronic interlibrary loan requests using FirstSearch and see how it can speed you on your way to information results.
Note: Only the following FirstSearch databases allow electronic submission of ILL requests: WorldCat, Article1st, ECO, FastDoc, AGRICOLA, Applied Science & Technology Abstracts, Art Abstracts, Basic BIOSIS, Biography lndex. Biological & Agricultural Index, Book Review Digest, Books in Print, Business be Industry, Consumers Index. Contemporary Women's Issues, Dissertation Abstracts, EconLit, Education Abstracts, ERIC, FirstSearch, General Science Abstracts, GEOBASE, GeoRef, Health Reference Center, Humanities Abstracts, Index to Legal Periodicals & Books, Library Literature, MEDLINE, Microcomputer Abstracts, PyschFIRST, Periodical Abstracts, PapersFirst, Readers Guide Abstracts, RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, SIRS Researcher, Social Sciences Abstracts. Wilson Business Abstracts Abstracts, and Wilson Select Full-Text.
Narda Tafuri
Pride, Passion, Promise: Experience Our Jesuit Tradition