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Interlibrary loan and electronic journals

I have never worked directly with any interlibrary loan people or performed
such activities.  What I am about to ask may very well display my
incomplete understanding of the issues of interlibrary loan.  Nonetheless,
the questions below do come to my mind when reviewing license agreements
and have been plaguing me for several months.  Perhaps I am not alone with
these questions.

The stupid question:
Should we still care about interlibrary loan for electronic products?

I always assumed that ILL was essential from an access point-of-view: 
Library A has the paper journal.  Library B does not.  It is too far for
Library B patrons to travel in order to use the journal held by Library A. 
Library A loans a copy of the article to Library B.  Both libraries incur
the not insignificant expense of the ILL transaction.

With electronic journals, access to the article is no longer such a
problem.  Why not simply expect the borrowing library to assume the cost of
acquiring the article through document delivery?  I am assuming that if the
article is available in electronic form, it is available for document
delivery, either through a service or directly from the information

What are the real issues?


How many libraries are there still out there which do not have any access
to the Internet AND would serve patrons interested in acquiring this type
of information?  How difficult is it for these "have not" libraries (or
their patrons) to access a document supplier or to know where to go for
document delivery?

--Ease of use for those with both paper and electronic formats
Sure, it's easier to copy an electronic article and e-mail it to a third
party than it is to photocopy a paper edition and mail or fax it, but is
this convenience worth fighting for?

--Lease or own

If we have opted to lease access to these titles rather than to buy them,
shouldn't we expect the terms governing use to be different?

I am not saying that interlibrary loan of articles which appear in
electronic format is no longer important or desirable.  I am just asking IF
and WHY we continue to feel this issue merits the veto power over signing
license agreements with such restrictions.

Thanking you in advance for your helpful comments and, hopefully, a lively

--Scott Wicks

                  Scott B. Wicks             ***
              Acquisitions Librarian       ***
            Cornell University Library   ***
                110A Olin Library      ***
                    Ithaca, NY       ***
                    14853-5301     ***
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