Documents...We Want 'Em Rushed and Readable
Dermott, Maureen O'Brien
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With budgets shrinking and subscription prices rising, the philosophy of "just in time" seems to be gaining on that of "just in case". Resource sharing is an increasingly crucial adjunct to a library's collection. Like most academic interlibrary loan departments, we send and receive documents in a number of ways: Odyssey, Ariel, PDF, Fax and mail. In the fall of 2006, the document delivery turnaround time for our patrons was 5.25 days. In the fall of 2008, just 2 months after implementation of Rapid, turnaround time was cut in half. While Rapid had taken care of the speed of delivery, we wondered - was quality being sacrificed? We took 2 weeks to survey document quality. One week for borrowing, one week for lending. We listed standards such as clean borders, legibility, completeness, etc. Each incoming and outgoing document was visually checked by a staff member and rated against these criteria. One of the more interesting outcomes of this survey was the setting of acceptable standards of quality – what one person might deem acceptable, another would reject. This impacted the future training and guidelines for student workers who would be scanning our lending articles. A very satisfying result of the survey was the discovery that less than 10% of documents received were unacceptable and required a resend. The articles that we provided as lenders were acceptable 95% of the time. By implementing a variety of delivery strategies and following established guidelines, we hope that interlibrary loan services will continue to be a source of high customer satisfaction.