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lost? in the ILL future

With the usual caveats about my not doing much ILL directly (and therefore
speaking with a certain degree of ignorance), I think there is a library
segment that we are forgetting about as we contemplate a future without ILL.

The segment I am referring to is composed of very small special libraries
who cannot afford to subscribe to expensive journals.  Yes, some special
libraries have money.  Others (some hospital libraries come to mind) do
not.  In the print world, these libraries have traditionally relied on
interlibrary loan to fulfill  their information needs for all but a very
core set of journals.  I would suspect that due to small numbers of
clientele, they also don't regularly hit the CONTU "wall".

In an electronic world with no ILL, what are they facing?

I suppose that there are those who would argue that they've been
freeloading off of the rest of us, but isn't that the tradition (in US
libraries at least)?  Free access to information by those who need it...
We all know that someone is subsidizing this "free" information, but that
is the point.  There are large research institutions who have taken that
subsidization as part of their mission.

As we think about the future of ILL, we also need to remember all that it
has been doing, so we can consciously decide that each aspect is no longer
workable or desirable.

Kimberly Parker
Science Bibliographer
Kline Science Library
Yale University
219 Prospect Street/P.O. Box 208111     voice: (203) 432-3443
New Haven, CT  06520-8111               fax: (203) 432-3441
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