Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mims' The Word: Interlibrary Loan 101

ILL It  Through the TWU Libraries' Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service, TWU students and faculty and staff members have access to a wealth of information beyond the libraries' extensive collections.  Image courtesy of the McCracken County Public Library.
Quick fun fact: the TWU Libraries have several hundred thousand physical volumes housed in various collections.  That’s a lot of books no matter how you look at it--but we don't own everything.  What do you do, then, if you need an item not in our inventory?  You ILL it!

ILL stands for interlibrary loan; basically, the process of borrowing materials from other libraries.  Through the TWU Libraries' Interlibrary Loan service you can request materials from other libraries; arrange to have them sent to the library on the TWU campus where you attend classes; and pick up your items at that library's Circulation Desk.  Need an item you can't seem to find?  The TWU Libraries ILL service may be able to help. 

Your first step?  Check our holdings to see if we have what you're looking for.  On the TWU Libraries homepage, in the large maroon box front and center, there are two search boxes--one labeled TWUniversal Search, the other Catalog Search.  Use TWUniversal to find an article, and our catalog to search for a book.  Performing a careful search this way could save you a great deal of time.

Sometimes an item is not in our holdings; that's the time to see if ILL can help.  Start by navigating to the TWU Libraries homepage; clicking on the Interlibrary Loan Request button (look for a maroon box in the righthand column); and logging in with your Pioneer Portal username and password.  An ILL account is needed to proceed; simply follow the prompts to set one up if you need to.

Jason Mims, Stacks Manager at the Blagg-Huey Library on the 
Denton campus of TWU, is the author of Mims' The Word, a blog 
series featuring helpful information from behind the Circulation 
Desk for the benefit of students and faculty and staff members at
TWU.  Jason, a self-professed bibliophile, is also an avid writer 
and biker.  July 22, 2014.  Photograph by Kristin Wolski.  
As convenient as our ILL service is, there are a few restrictions to keep in mind.  First and foremost, we cannot fill requests for textbooks. Every semester there is an updated list of textbooks used in TWU classes that term.  If the libraries receive an ILL request for any of these books, we must cancel it--it would be a policy violation to do otherwise. Secondly, we will not fulfill a request for an item that the libraries own. If a requested item is on a library shelf on your primary campus (if you go to classes in Denton, for example, and the item you need is physically located at the Blagg-Huey Library), that request will be cancelled (if you need an item housed on another campus, however, we will process your request and get the materials you need to the campus where you attend classes.)

Books aren't the only materials you can request through ILL.  Need a specific journal article?  We can get it for you.  If it's an article from a journal we do not own, follow the steps outlined above.  If it's an article accessible through TWU, request it on our Journal Article Delivery page.  Whatever the case, if we can find the article you're seeking, we will fulfill the request.  There is something you can do, however, before submitting a request for a journal article--something that may save time for everyone involved.  Google it. That's right--Google it.  You would be surprised how many free articles are available on the web.  Simply Google the exact title of the article you’re looking for, then check the first page of results.  There’s a relatively good chance your article will be there.

Through the TWU Libraries' Interlibrary Loan service, a wealth of information is available to TWU students and faculty and staff members beyond that contained in our extensive collections, and we consider it a privilege to be able to serve the TWU community this way.  Questions?  There are several ways to contact us.  Shoot an email to ill@twu.edu; call 940-898-3728; or speak to LaMargo Branch, our Interlibrary Loan Specialist, in person at the Circulation Desk of the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus.

Alright, T Dub, that’s it for this one.

~Jason Mims

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