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National Guidelines for Document Delivery

Table of Contents

letter ABorrowing Library

letter BLending Library

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to define guidelines for document delivery in Canada and to suggest ways to select an appropriate method both for sending a request out and for delivering documents.

Context

There are already a number of well established manuals of procedure for interlibrary loan, such as those published by the Canadian Library Association and American Library Association. In addition, many regions and consortia have developed manuals of local practice. One or more of these manuals should be consulted for information on bibliographic verification, copyright, what should and should not be requested, renewals, etc.

This document does not address the issue of charges, reciprocal borrowing, etc. A variety of schemes exist and libraries should ensure that they are aware of and prepared to comply with the policies of the library with which they have chosen to interact. Interlibrary loan policies for many Canadian libraries can be found in Interlibrary Loan Policies in Canada, published by the National Library of Canada and available for sale through the Canada Communications Group.

In this document, library materials have generally been defined as either copies or originals. Copies include both print and electronic substitutes or copies in lieu of loans. These materials are not normally intended to be returned by the borrower to the lender. Originals include any items that the borrower expects to return to the lender, e.g., bound volumes, microforms, audio visual materials, talking books or photographic materials.

Other

It is important to remember that every library has its own particular clientele and resources, either or both of which may influence choices in methods of document delivery and/or requesting. The turnaround times presented are the minimum that most libraries can expect to achieve 80% of the time.

letter ABorrowing Library

A.1   Turnaround Time

The need of the client should be the guiding principle when specifying turnaround time. These needs have been identified according to 3 categories -- High, Medium and Low -- throughout this document. Times are assumed to be working hours/days.

A.1.1   For the borrowing library, turnaround time is defined as the length of time from the receipt of the request from the client to the delivery of the request to the lending library.

Borrowing libraries should strive to meet the following turnaround times:

High 4 hours
Medium 48 hours
Low 1 week

A.1.2   Borrowing libraries should encourage clients to request items well in advance of their actual deadline whenever possible so that bottlenecks of "High" priority requests do not occur.

A.2   Sending a Request

A.2.1   The decision on where and how to send a request should be based on a combination of client need, lending library preference, geographic factors, availability of messaging services, e.g., postal service, telephone, or electronic mail, availability of delivery services and costs.

A suggested decision chart appears on the following page. Turnaround times include both processing and transmission time. So, if the client has requested a medium turnaround time (48 hours), the borrowing library should choose a method that will get the request to the lender in the time left after internal processing. For example, if the request takes one day for the borrower to process, the best choice would be a service which can deliver the request to the lending library within the remaining day.

A.2.2   It is, of course, always possible to use a faster method like fax or electronic mail even for low-priority items.

REQUEST TRANSMISSION METHOD CHART

REQUEST TRANSMISSION METHOD CHART

A.3   Shipping destination

A.3.1   The borrowing library should provide the lending library with the exact shipping destination required. Full addresses, including the name of a contact person and their telephone number should be included, e.g., Interlibrary Loan Office, Room 234, 5 Avenue X, Anytown, Province, A1B C2D, Attention: John Doe, (area code) 555-6789.

A.4   Handling

A.4.1   Staples should be removed from the outer packing before removing the material.

A.4.2   Any restrictions or special instructions for handling imposed by the lending library must be noted and respected.

A.4.3   Plastic paperclips or unbleached cotton tape should be used if something must be attached to original library materials. Metal paperclips, elastics, "post-it" notes, and self-adhesive tape should never be used on library materials as they may cause damage.

A.4.4   Clients should be reminded never to write in library materials. When it is necessary to take notes while consulting library material, pencils should be used rather than pens to lessen the danger of accidental markings.

A.4.5   Clients should be reminded that food and beverages should not be consumed while using library materials.

A.5   Receipt

A.5.1   Notification that requested material has arrived should be given to clients within:

High 0.5 hours
Medium 3 hours
Low 1 day

A.5.2   Upon receipt, each item should be checked against the original request to determine if it is correct.

A.5.3   A record should be kept of when the item was received, who the lending library was, and any special instructions concerning the return method, where required.

A.5.4   Any obvious damage to the item should be noted on the request form and reported to the lending library. It is also a good idea to point it out to the client in order to allay any concern that they may be blamed. When a client returns an item, the item should be checked against any note of condition made at time of receipt to make certain that it has not been damaged further in any way.

A.6   Return

A.6.1   Retrieval slips or other forms that help to trace a request should be returned to the lending library with the material.

A.6.2   Borrowed materials should be returned to the lending library promptly, usually within 24 hours of receipt from the client.

A.6.3   The borrowing library should keep a record of when the item was returned to the lending library and by what method.

A.6.4   Arrangements may be made with the lending library to return items by different means, e.g., ship by courier, return by mail.

A.7   Packaging

A.7.1   Postage and packing methods used should be equivalent to the methods used by the lending library in sending the material. Sometimes audiovisual materials arrive in special cases and should be returned in the same case.

A.7.2   All original materials sent by mail or a delivery service should be packaged to provide adequate protection, i.e., padded bags, boxes, or padded sheets (e.g. "bubble" wrap) securely fastened around the item with wrapping paper and tape added. Unbleached cotton tape is preferable to self-adhesive tape as it will not damage materials if it comes in contact with them. Staples should not be used to close packages. However, if they are used, staples should be covered with adhesive tape, and care should be taken to place them well away from contact with the item.

Re-use of wrapping materials is a good idea. Care should be taken that it is still sturdy enough to provide protection and withstand handling during delivery, and that all markings have been eradicated prior to use.

A.7.3   When boxes are used, empty space should be firmly filled with packing material that prevents the contents from shifting and makes the box sturdy. Polypropylene bubble wrap is ideal for this purpose. Acid-free paper could also be used, though crushed paper may have sharp edges and so should be used with discretion. Newspaper should never be used as the print is inclined to rub off and may damage materials.

A.7.4   A piece of cardboard or some other packaging to prevent bending and folding should be included with microfiche when mailing. If possible, fiche should be placed in containers constructed of permanent-paper board or thick inert plastic such as mylar. Care should be taken that fiche are not placed next to material that will abrade them or leave debris on them.

A.7.5   Packages should be addressed clearly with both destination and return addresses.

A.8   Tracking

A.8.1   No tracking mechanism is usually necessary for items which are non-returnable, such as photocopies, or which have a value of less than $50.00.

A.8.2   Originals valued at over $50.00 may require proof of delivery at the destination.

A.9   Statistics

A.9.1   Core statistics which should be kept include:
  a. Number of original items received from other libraries
  b. Number of copied items received from other libraries

letter BLending Library

B.1   Turnaround Time

Again, the need of the client is the guiding principle for turnaround time.

B.1.1   For the lending library, turnaround time is defined as the length of time from the receipt of the request at the lending library to delivery of the material to the borrowing library.

Lending libraries should strive to meet the following turnaround times:

High 48 hours
Medium 5 days
Low 1-4 weeks

B.1.2   Requests should be processed and material sent to the borrowing library within the specified turnaround time. If for any reason the request cannot be filled as specified, the borrowing library should be informed as soon as possible (within 1 hour for High, and 24 hours for Medium or Low) so that they can explore other options.

B.1.3   Turnaround times of less than 48 hours (Urgent service) may be offered upon request by some libraries. It is up to the lending library to specify standards for its own Urgent service.

B.2   Packaging

B.2.1   All materials should be clearly marked with the lending library's name before shipping.

B.2.2   All original materials sent by mail or a delivery service should be packaged to provide adequate protection, i.e., padded bags, boxes, or padded sheets (e.g., "bubble" wrap) securely fastened around the item with wrapping paper and tape added. Unbleached cotton tape is preferable to self-adhesive tape as it will not damage materials if it comes in contact with them. Staples should not be used to close packages. However, if staples are used, they should be covered with adhesive tape, and care should be taken to place them well away from contact with the item.

Re-use of wrapping materials is a good idea. Care should be taken that it is still sturdy enough to provide protection and withstand handling during delivery and that all markings have been eradicated prior to reuse.

Padded envelopes with re-usable address windows are also a good idea, where feasible.

B.2.3   When boxes are used, empty space should be firmly filled with packing material that prevents the contents from shifting and makes the box sturdy. Polypropylene bubble wrap is ideal for this purpose. Acid-free paper could also be used, though crushed paper may have sharp edges and so should be used with discretion. Newspaper should never be used as the print is inclined to rub off and may damage materials.

B.2.4   A piece of cardboard or some other packaging to prevent bending and folding should be included with microfiche when mailing. If possible, fiche should be placed in containers constructed of permanent-paper board or thick inert plastic such as mylar. Care should be taken that fiche are not placed next to material that will abrade them or leave debris on them.

B.3   Labelling and accompanying documentation

B.3.1   A copy of the original request or sufficient information to identify the request to the borrowing library should be included with the item. Include the borrowing library's request number and client's name where applicable.

B.3.2   The charges and method of payment should be clearly noted. If invoices are to follow, this should be stated.

B.3.3   Items being loaned outside of Canada should be clearly marked with the appropriate customs declaration. In order to smooth re-entry, information on special procedures necessary in order to satisfy GST and customs requirements when returning materials should be included with these items as a guide for borrowing libraries.

B.3.4   Ensure that the lending library's return name and address are included on the outside of the package. It is a good idea to enclose a return address label as well.

B.3.5   All packages should be labelled prominently "Interlibrary Loan". This should prevent the borrowing library from mistaking the item as belonging to them.

B.3.6   The lending library should keep a record of when, where and how the item was shipped to the borrowing library.

B.4   Tracking

B.4.1   No tracking mechanism is usually necessary for items which are non-returnable, such as photocopies, or which have a value of less than $50.00.

B.4.2   Originals valued at over $50.00 may require proof of delivery at the destination.

B.5   Pickup location

B.5.1   If local pickup is requested, the lending library should notify the borrowing library exactly where and when the item can be picked up, e.g. Circulation Desk between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. It is also useful to provide a contact name and telephone number, in case of problems.

B.6   Statistics

B.6.1   Core statistics which should be kept include:

a. Number of original items sent to other libraries
b. Number of copied items sent to other libraries

B.7   Method of delivery

B.7.1   The decision on what delivery method to use should be based on a combination of client need, type of material, borrowing library preference, geographic factors, costs, and availability of delivery services, e.g. local van service, facsimile machine, or electronic network.

A suggested document delivery decision chart appears on the following page.
Turnaround times include both processing and delivery. So, if the borrowing library has requested a medium turnaround time (5 days), the lending library should choose a service that will deliver the item in the time left after internal processing. For example, if the request takes 4 days for the lending library to process, the best delivery choice would be one which can deliver the item to the borrowing library in one day.

B.7.2   Local pickup is an option under any of the above. It is, of course, always possible to use a faster method like courier or First Class mail even for low priority items.

DOCUMENT DELIVERY DECISION CHART

1.   COPIES

Document delivery decision chart

* Courier supplied and regular envelopes should only be used for single documents of less than 25 pages. They may not provide sufficient protection for multiple copies and larger documents. In this case, a padded envelope is preferable.

2.   ORIGINALS

originals

Note: This chart should be used in combination with the service standards provided by the various delivery sources, e.g. Canada Post, local van service, courier service, etc.

Bibliography

Boucher, Virginia. Interlibrary loan practices handbook. Chicago : American Library Association, 1984.

Interlibrary loan policies in Canada. Ottawa : National Library of Canada (published annually)

Interlibrary loan procedures manual. Ottawa : Canadian Library Association, 1989.

Peat Marwick Stevenson & Kellogg. Interlibrary document delivery study. Ottawa, 1993.

Welch, Grace. Summary report of the Document Delivery Working Group. Ottawa: National Library of Canada, 1990.