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Banner: Interlibrary Loans (ILL) at Library and Archives Canada

1. Interlibrary Loan Policy

It is the policy of the Interlibrary Loan Division of the National Library of Canada to respond to a request for material (including books, periodicals, newspapers, sound recordings, etc.) either by lending the requested item, by providing a copy (a photocopy of a periodical article, for example), or by giving a list of locations from which the item might be obtained. The service is provided for specifically identified items, not for subject requests. Requests for scientific, technical and health-related subjects will be searched at the basic level only and should be sent to the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI). The location and lending service is provided to libraries or similar organizations through a variety of methods to ensure efficient and effective resource sharing in the Canadian library community.

The National Library provides its services as a supplement to what is done locally. When the local library's resources have been exhausted, the interlibrary loan (ILL) request should then be referred to other regional or national resource libraries as appropriate until the client's need is met.

Because of an increasing emphasis on the importance of preserving materials for current and future users, the National library is adopting new methods of handling and storing the items in its collections. Specific measures include: wearing cotton gloves while handling microforms, using plastic rather than metal paper clips, and mailing out certain easily damaged items in protective boxes rather than envelopes. The library encourages libraries using its interlibrary loan services to consider adopting these measures.

Because interlending activity and technological developments are in a state of transition in Canada, the National Library's ILL Service policy must be reviewed regularly and adjusted to reflect changing circumstances and client needs.

The National Library has developed an interlibrary loan protocol to facilitate the exchange of interlibrary loan messages between libraries that use different computers, systems, and communication services. The ILL protocol standardizes the number and type of ILL messages, the sequence of messages, data elements and their values and the transfer syntax of the messages. Through the use of the protocol, libraries will be able to exchange information in a consistent manner. The ILL International ISO Protocol was adopted by the National Library in 1989.

1.1 Clientele

The Interlibrary Loan Service of the National Library of Canada is provided to libraries or similar institutions which provide basic bibliographic data for the material requested.

1.2 International Services

The National Library has a particular responsibility to support the Universal Availability of Publications (UAP) program of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the library provides an in-depth interlibrary loan service to non-Canadian library institutions which require Canadian publications or materials.

1.3 Charges

There is currently no charge for photocopies, loans, locations or any other interlibrary loan service with the exception of a charge or replacement for lost items.

The cost of communicating an ILL request to the National Library is borne by the requesting institution. The cost of returning material is borne by the borrowing library unless library rate is used. (See Section 4.3 for information on library rate.)

1.4 Loan period

The interlibrary loan period is four weeks for libraries in Canada and 8 weeks for libraries in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, the United States and other countries.

Subject to well-defined conditions, the National Library may lend material to libraries and other institutions for an extended period of time when materials from the National Library's general or special collections are required for exhibits.