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ERIC Number: ED352036
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-May-13
Pages: 61
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Document Delivery: An Examination of Commercial Suppliers as an Alternative to Traditional Interlibrary Loan at the University of Wyoming Libraries.
Leath, Janis
Several factors encouraged the University of Wyoming (UW) Libraries to reexamine traditional interlibrary loan services, including shrinking budgets, rises in journal subscription rates, increasing demands for interlibrary loan services, and lower user tolerance for delays in filling orders. In response the libraries decided to examine the journal article services provided by commercial document delivery vendors and compare them with traditional interlibrary loan services. Online order systems were not used, nor was full-text delivery from online vendors. In all, 636 requests were made during the three-month study period. Requests were sent to 14 vendors, including those who could supply articles from a wide range of disciplines and those with a specialized focus. Some vendors had in-house collections and others had access to major research library holdings. Of the 636 requests, 140 went to libraries. Requests were sent by OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), facsimile transmission (fax), telephone, and Federal Express; articles were delivered by surface mail, fax, and Federal Express. The results of the project were mixed. Commercial suppliers were slightly less successful, on average, than libraries in order fulfillment. While some vendors were both inexpensive and slow, libraries and vendors averaged about the same delivery speed. Eliminating requests that were supplied free of charge, the average cost per request was $12.11. The most frequent problems were extremely long response times or not sending a fax when requested. Fax quality was not a major complaint among patrons. Only one commercial supplier stood out in terms of fulfillment success and delivery time. The examination of commercial suppliers did not provide a clear alternative for filling requests for journal articles, but it did make librarians more aware of the available options and the need to balance time and expense in document delivery. Vendor performance is described in the narrative report and in appended tables that show the overall success rate; indications of average delivery times for fax delivery, mail delivery, and overall average; average costs broken down into fax costs, mail costs, and overall average costs; and the proportion of problems experienced in relation to the total number of requests. (KRN)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A