Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL)

Intralibrary book delivery and document supply service
CAUL Survey (NU 4/7/97)

Updated 1 June, 1998

Please answer this questionnaire if your library has more than one site.

Responses were received from twenty seven libraries.

1. Do you provide a book delivery service or a document supply service between libraries within your own library system for material held within your own collection?

Twenty three libraries provide such a service

2. If you do not provide such a service, could you explain why not?

Four libraries do not provide such a service because they have no branches, they are on a single site, all libraries are within walking distance or there has been insufficient demand.

3. If you do provide such a service:

A. Does it apply to all sites (eg all branch libraries) or only to those beyond a certain distance?

Twelve libraries lent to all sites.
Five did not lend to libraries on the same campus.
Two lent to some libraries on the same campus based on distance.

B. Which categories of library patrons are eligible to use the service?

Eleven provide the service to all borrowers.
Seven provide it for all staff and students of the university.
Two provide it for Staff, postgraduates and honours students.
Three had different eligibility for different sites.

C. Is the service free to the end user and, if not, what do you charge?

For thirteen libraries the service is free except that one charges non university clients and one charges undergraduates for photocopies.
Eight charge for photocopies but book loans are free. Photocopying charges are usually $1 or $2 per transaction.
One library charges for the service.
In one library it differs between sites.

D. Are there any restrictions on the material available? (Eg: reference books, books from undergraduate collections etc.)

All libraries placed restrictions on "not for loan" items but generally allowed anything else to be borrowed. Material in Reserve was generally not available for loan. One library excluded its seven day loan collection.

E. What is the usual turn around time? Do you monitor this?

For six libraries it was one day, for two it was one day for photocopies and two days for books, for five it was two days, two said two to three days,, two said three days, four said three to five days and one had one day for copies and five days for books. The longer periods were usually because of courier deliveries. Thirteen libraries monitored the service, not always very closely.

F. Do you make any provision for "fast track" service?

Thirteen libraries said no, but one of these pointed out that all their requests were treated as fast track. Two said yes and the remainder did them occasionally.

G. Is the material delivered to another library or is it delivered to the end user?

In sixteen libraries material was sent to the requesting library with some exceptions for remote users. The remainder send some of the photocopies to end users.

H. In the case of books, what loan periods apply? Would the end user get a different loan period if he or she borrowed in person?

It seems that in all libraries the loan period would be the same if the borrower borrowed in person. There are a couple of minor variations to account for delivery and returning.

I. Could you describe how the service operates in practice? (Eg: How requests are submitted, what level staff retrieve or copy the material, which section is responsible for the service, how the material is delivered etc.) Is any of the material transmitted electronically?

In five libraries patrons can place their book requests directly onto the library system. In another six requests for books are placed on the system by the library staff. Systems mentioned were Innopac and Dynix. Others sent fax or email requests to the holding library. Most libraries used paper request forms for photocopies though two mentioned they also used electronic request forms and others were planning them. At two libraries requests were submitted to a centralized document delivery unit.
Seven libraries transmit journal articles electronically, usually via Ariel and not always to all sites. Others used fax and courier services.

J. Would you always use your own resources first, or would you use a commercial document supply service even if a title was held in your own collection?

No library would prefer a commercial document delivery service. All would use their own resources first and only two suggested that they would use a commercial service in an emergency.

K. What is the annual usage of the service?

Unless stated the figures are for 1996.

Adelaide - 3,470
Central Queensland - 4101 books, 770 articles
Charles Sturt - about 30,000
Deakin - 31,840 monographs, 10,272 photocopies
Griffith - 34,638
James Cook - about 10,000 books, 2,000 photocopies and 200 "special loans"
Monash - received 29,737 requests and supplied 16,873 photocopies and 9,568 loans
Newcastle - 4020 book loans and 1697 photocopies. (Loans from Huxley not available.)
Queensland - to Gatton 6,056 and from Gatton 6,993
QUT - 15,078
RMIT - approximately 10,000
Southern Cross - 808 requests received from branch libraries
Swinburn - 1059 photocopies. Book loans unavailable but 10,999 for January to June 1997.
Tasmania - 10,576 requests and 9,900 supplied.
UTS - 4,600
UWS Macarthur - 1,316
UWS Nepean - over 2,200

L. What is the cost of the service?

One reply was "how long is a piece of string". No one had detailed costings. Estimates varied between $1.20 and $10.11 per item.

M. Have you encountered any problems with the service?

Most reported that the service worked well but problems included:
too hard to restrict to material not held in the requesting library; material not always collected; increased workload; courier service and mail problems; demand for shorter turn around times; a few teething problems; persuading library staff to give it a high priority; too expensive to install scanners; material not always on shelves; increased demand; possible abuse of a free service ; and requests from ineligible borrowers.

N. Are there any improvements you would like to make?

A number of libraries mentioned automating requests, allowing end users to place their own requests and electronic document delivery. Others wanted to improve delivery to end users, shorten the turn around time, improve the courier service and extend the service to undergraduates. Two libraries said they would like to use data from intercampus delivery to improve collection management, for instance by transferring material or duplicating some titles. One wanted to charge end users. A number pointed out that improvements depended on resources.
John Shipp
University Librarian
University of Sydney NSW 2006
6 November 1997

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