DUBLIN, Ohio, Sept. 28, 1999--The OCLC Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Interoperability Task Force has issued its report and recommendations regarding OCLC's implementation of the ISO ILL Protocol.
OCLC formed the task force on July 28, 1999 as a result of a controversy over OCLC's plan to require ILL management system vendors to implement extensions to the ISO ILL Protocol in order to synchronize ILL requests between the OCLC system and other ILL management systems. OCLC believed that most libraries would be using multiple ILL systems and that they would want these systems to be synchronized. The task force was asked to investigate the needs of OCLC member libraries for interlibrary loan system interoperability and to advise OCLC on which methods should be implemented.
The task force concluded that while some users might want to use multiple systems, it is not in the best interest of OCLC and its membership to support that functionality. The task force stated that requiring interlibrary loan management system vendors to implement the OCLC extensions to the ILL protocols "was not the best choice for OCLC and its member libraries" and recommended the following actions:
Do not implement the proposed ILL protocol extensions that provide for the synchronization of requests between systems, and Immediately begin development of a protocol-based link that would channel FirstSearch requests to local ILL management systems, thus avoiding the problem of dual systems and the need to "backflow" messages to guarantee synchronicity.
Shirley Baker, chair of the task force and vice chancellor for Information Technology and Dean of University Libraries, Washington University stated: "The task force recognizes that implementing changes is a difficult and shared responsibility. Member libraries, regional networks and OCLC should work together in effecting such changes, encouraging libraries to incorporate new services."
"OCLC has accepted these recommendations and is moving forward on their implementation," said Connie Zuga, vice president, Marketing-Reference and Resource Sharing. "We were fortunate to be able to call on the expertise and counsel of these distinguished ILL experts on this important matter. Their work exemplifies the spirit of cooperation and the shared commitment to librarianship that exists in the relationship that OCLC has with its member libraries."
Ms. Baker presented the findings of the task force to the OCLC Board of Trustees on Sept. 27 and will present them again to the OCLC Users Council on Oct. 4.
OCLC will mount the complete report from the task force on the OCLC Web site and will work to educate member libraries about how these recommendations will impact their ILL operations.
The following persons served on the task force: Shirley Baker, vice chancellor for Information Technology and Dean of University Libraries, Washington University (chair); Tammy Nickelson Dearie, director, Access and Delivery Services, University of California; Bettina Meyer, assistant dean, Resources, Western Michigan University; Harry E. Samuels, assistant university librarian, Information Technology, Northwestern University Library; Sarah Simpson, interlibrary loan supervisor, Tulsa City-County Library System; Carol Smale, director, Resource-Sharing Services, National Library of Canada; and Chris Wright, chief, Loan Division, Library of Congress.
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