Sunday, 21 August 2016

Tips & Tricks for Interloaners

I’ve blogged about open access and interlibrary loans before and just thought that I would follow up on that with some more tips about approaching incorporating web search checks into your daily routine.
One source of articles for requesters which could prove useful is Research Gate. By creating an account and requesting the full texts our users could be connected with the authors of the articles they are interested in, and in turn build networks across the world. I created an account for my own purposes and have received articles in less than a day from academics across the globe.
Research Gate can be hugely beneficial in finding articles easily and freely in the initial searching and checking of a request, but through training we can teach our users to make better use of the amazing resource available to all: the World Wide Web. I check Research Gate for all articles requested and if they are already on the site I simply send a link to our requester.
For me in my work place our students have very specialised technical skills, but when it comes to information retrieval, searching the web or using MS Word, or even some of the more basic Adobe tricks, our users don’t know. We recently had a student who didn’t know how to enable full text search and copying in the PDF article we had received. At this point I remembered that the full Adobe Acrobat suite has a text recognition tool built-in to turn simple scans into fully searchable documents. This proves to be highly useful in my interlibrary loan work, and also in my day-to-day customer services role.
Another simple trick that I’ve found really useful is setting my browser to automatically open all of my ILL tabs for me as soon as it starts up. Maybe everyone else has been doing this for a long time, but it’s only just occurred to me. Up until now I’ve been opening them all from my bookmarks.
Instructions for setting this up follow.
Internet Explorer
Control Panel > Internet Options and then just create a list of the tabs that you want to open when you start the browser.

Click on the horizontal lines in the top right corner and then Settings > On startup and then you can set your pages

A final tip that I would like to share is the setting up of Google’s Custom Search Engine. You may find it useful to create customised search engines for all of your team to share and use. I created one to search through all of the freely available sites that are useful for articles and books, such as, researchgate, and readcube, but you could create one to limit your search to anything you found useful.

Hope you have found this useful and please add any of your own tips in the comments on this page.

Friday, 5 August 2016


Copyright is a very hot topic right now for inter-library loans.  The FIL committee has been asked many times to have speakers talk about the subject at our events.  Since the changes came through in 2014, I think we are more aware of wanting to do our legal best.  
Facet’s July newsletter had some good resources that can be used on a daily bases to help answer questions.  They have recently published a new edition of the book by Jane Secker and Chris Morrison called Copyright and E-learning .  Chris has spoken at a FIL function before and has a wealth of knowledge.  CILIP has a blog post by the authors that gives you an over view of what they talk about in the book. If you are a podcast listener, they are interviewed by James Clay on his “e-learning Stuff Podcast” episode 91. The podcast is primarily about higher education, but as we all know copyright isn’t just for academics. 

Facet also sells other copyright books, though the ones that I think would be the most useful for inter-library loans haven’t been rewritten since the new changes.  They do have a new edition of Graham P Cornish’s book Copyright: Interpreting the law for libraries, archives and information services.  I find this very useful when I have any questions.
There was a lively debate at the conference in June and as the editor of the FIL Journal I would love it if someone wanted to report on what they learn at the conference!  Email me!

Enjoy the rest of the summer, autumn is around the corner!

Friday, 22 July 2016

Summer is a coming in...

Summer is a coming in…..

Well I don’t know about the rest of the country but, here in the South East of England, this week has been positively sweltering!

It’s time to dust off the bar-b-Que, put out the sun shades and curl up on a sun lounger with a good book and a glass of something cold.

I can remember when I was in primary school that we used to take our work outside on lovely sunny days, find a lovely shady spot under a tree, and we always did really cool activities like painting, drawing, activity quizzes or just listening to a good story.

Good things don’t have to be complicated to be good! In a former life when I was training to be a primary school teacher, I was observing in a local school with a teacher who received an award for excellence in teaching. He had a motto for his pupils – ‘Keep it simple, Do it well’. This sentiment is very easily transferable to all areas of life.

So…where does all this rambling fit with Interlibrary loans?

Well – as a consequence of one of the presentations from Interlend 2015 we decided to simplify our processes and procedures to try and produce a better, more effective, more efficient service. After Interlend 2016 we here at Essex University ILL are again going to implement some of the ideas and initiatives that we heard about to continue that move for improvement.

Summer is a great time here for these kinds of activities as the pace of life does get a little slower and there is more time for reflection and development.

If you would like some inspiration, motivation or just a distraction from the summer heat check out this year’s presentations from Interlend on the FIL website

Keep cool everyone and have a great summer!

Sandra (current Chair of FIL)