Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Shifting library resources from ILL to IRs

Heather Morrison, From interlibrary loans to institutional repository department: a natural transition, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, September 28, 2007.  Excerpt:

When articles are open access, there is no need for interlibrary loan (ILL)....

[The growth of OA] frees up funds (from ILL charges), and staff time. Freed-up funds can be redeployed to offset article processing fees and subsidies for faculty OA publishing.

The greatest savings in staff time will be experienced by the largest research libraries with the biggest collections, as these libraries are the biggest net lenders.

It makes sense, then, to consider whether the staff that are currently involved in interlibrary loans, could be retrained for the work needed for the institutional repository. In my opinion, staff who are proficient at interlibrary loans, have an important skill set to bring to the institutional repository. These staff are accustomed to working with documents, and faculty members, on a one-on-one basis, paying careful attention to metadata and quality control with documents sent electronically.

Working in an area where activity and needs are decreasing is depressing; working in an area that is emerging and increasing in activity is energizing. A well-planned ILL to IR transition just might mean a library will have increasing staffing available for the IR in a pattern that somewhat reflects the shifting needs....

This post is a part of the Transitioning to Open Access Series.