Right Under Their Noses: Helping Patrons Identify the Resources at Their Fingertips

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Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve




Interlibrary Loan departments (ILLs) repeatedly receive requests for materials already owned by the home library. All libraries have the goal of providing the resources that patrons want and need in an easily searchable manner, but by submitting these requests, patrons unwittingly slow the process of the service by adding an unnecessary middleman into their search process. Interlibrary loan is a great tool for sampling how patrons are using (and mis-using) resources and diagnosing where breakdowns in communication between the library and the patrons regarding searches are taking place. The ILL at Georgia Southern University conducted a qualitative research study with IRB approval to explore this concern. From this research, we will describe how data suggest a more streamlined approach to redirecting searches originating in the library for outside sources to assets already physically (or electronically) stored in the library. We will discuss our research process and how we partnered with other departments in the library. Our findings have been useful to our Discovery Services managers and our instruction faculty.