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Evan J. Miles. Impact of Shared Discovery on Consortium Borrowing: Analyzing TRLN Discovery and TRLN Direct. A Master’s Paper for the M.S. in L.S degree. May, 2020. 53 pages. Advisor: Brad Hemminger

In 2019, the Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) launched a new shared index and discovery platform called TRLN Discovery that allowed users to seamlessly switch from local holdings to consortium holdings using a search facet. This new catalog was released as localized versions for member institutions. TRLN Discovery followed the development of consortium resource sharing system called TRLN Direct. To evaluate these resource sharing projects, this paper assesses the impact of shared discovery on consortium resource sharing at UNC Chapel Hill. Analysis of interlibrary borrowing and Document Delivery request data does not show an increase in request volume or number of patrons attributable to TRLN Discovery. Both new and returning users, however, are more likely to use consortium searches to place requests with the new catalog. These findings indicate that while users have an interest in using consortium resource discovery platforms, these user experience changes do not directly create demand.

Headings:

Academic Libraries – Interlibrary Loans

Library Cooperation -- Online Library Catalogs

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library

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IMPACT OF SHARED DISCOVERY ON CONSORTIUM BORROWING: ANALYZING TRLN DISCOVERY AND TRLN DIRECT

by Evan J. Miles

A Master’s paper submitted to the faculty of the School of Information and Library Science of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in

Library Science.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina May 2020

Approved by

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Table of Contents

Introduction ... 2

1.1 Background ... 2

1.2 Research Question ... 5

Literature Review ... 6

2.1 Library Budgets, “Big Deals”, and Interlibrary Loan ... 6

2.2 Impact on Interlibrary Loan and Consortium Borrowing ... 8

2.3 Advances in Interlibrary Loan Technology and Services ... 10

2.4 Library Catalogs, OPACs, and Discovery Layers ... 11

Methodology ... 14

3.1 Retrieving Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Request Data ... 14

3.2 Analyzing Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Request Data ... 18

Results ... 22

4.1 Interlibrary Loan Requests ... 22

4.2 Document Delivery Requests ... 32

Discussion... 39

References ... 43

Appendix ... 46

7.1 Examples of TRLN Discovery across institutions ... 46

7.2 ILL Data by User Group ... 48

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Introduction

1.1

Background

Today’s academic library landscape is marked by some uncertainty about financial

sustainability. Factors such as budget cuts and skyrocketing prices of materials challenge

librarians to meet increasing and complex patron needs. Historically in similar

circumstances, academic libraries have turned to consortia and partnerships to meet these

demands amid uncertainty and challenges (Kopp, 1998). One of the main areas of

collaboration that often results from consortia are greater resource sharing capabilities.

Interlibrary loan (ILL) and academic library consortia are in many ways interdependent.

ILL enables many of the reasons for forming a consortium such as shared collection

development resulting in a greater number of available resources for patrons. As

academic libraries move from a focus on ownership to access, ILL and consortium

borrowing can take on increased importance (McHone-Chase, 2010). In order to properly

leverage consortium partnerships to promote ILL, workflows and systems need to be able

to deal with changes in demand.

The oldest academic library consortium in the United States, the Triangle Research

Libraries Network (TRLN), embraces this focus on consortium-wide resource sharing.

The consortium describes its goals for the print collection as, “Develop a robust,

complementary, accessible, and efficiently managed print collection that takes advantage

of members’ geographic proximity, serves diverse user communities, and highlights our

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access to consortium collection, as opposed to ownership in local holdings, is reflected in

the new changes in the services offered by the consortium designed to improve patrons’

abilities to request resources from consortium member institutions. In 2019, TRLN

released a new shared index and discovery service called TRLN Discovery (TRLN,

2019b). For the academic library consortium consisting of Duke University, North

Carolina Central University (NCCU), North Carolina State University (NCSU), and

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), the launch of the new discovery

platform was the result of a multi-year effort that began in 2016. This new discovery

service for the consortium uses the open-source tools Blacklight and Solr (TRLN,

2019a.). TRLN Discovery replaces an older consortium catalog called TRLN Search

which was an Endeca platform. For institutions, the hope with this new open-source

platform was to increase efficiency and cost savings (TRLN, 2019a). The purpose of this

new catalog for users is to improve user experience by providing increased search

capabilities and access to resources across the consortium.

For three of the member institutions, Duke University, NCSU, and UNC, the new

shared catalog replaced individual Endeca-based local library catalogs that did not

support consortium searching. Instead of having a catalog of local holdings and then a

separate catalog for all consortium holdings, patrons can now use the same platform to

search locally and across the consortium. Previously on these older catalogs, patrons

could still access the TRLN Search catalog by using a hyperlink that would open a new

window with results from TRLN Search using the search terms from the local catalog

search. With the new TRLN Discovery platform, the link to a separate catalog is replaced

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highest priority in the layout by being placed at the top of the facet bar on the left side.

The ability to switch to a consortium-wide search using a facet makes the transition

between local to consortium searching seamless by only requiring one interface for the

user. Visually the new catalog looks similar across all institutions with the exception

being small branding elements and some changes in language (see Appendix 7.1). The

exception to adopting TRLN Discovery as the primary local holdings catalog is NCCU,

who continue to use a local library catalog with a link to separate version of TRLN

Discovery that only supports consortium searching.

Alongside these developments in the consortium discovery service are efforts to

improve resource sharing capabilities and efficiency across the consortium. In summer

2017, TRLN launched a direct borrowing service called TRLN Direct. This direct

borrowing service allows users to request materials without submitting traditional ILL

requests. Combined with automated workflows used by some member schools, a TRLN

Direct request can be submitted by a user and then fulfilled by the lending library without

any staff mediation by the user’s institution. TRLN Discovery integrates TRLN Direct by

placing a request title button on consortium owned resources. When a consortium search

is performed by the user, this button replaces the hold/document delivery service request

button that appears for locally held items. By clicking this button, the user is sent to a

login screen to verify institution affiliation and then to a completed TRLN Direct request

form to request the resource. Combined with the van delivery service that goes between

each school every weekday, filled patron requests are often available for pickup within

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and unmediated borrowing for consortium resources has potential to greatly increase

access to materials for patrons.

1.2

Research Question

The release of these new platforms and services by TRLN creates a need to

research the underlying assumptions guiding these developments. The movement towards

a shared platform to increase access is predicated on beliefs that users want to borrow

consortium resources and that user experience changes that prioritize consortium

holdings when searching will improve users’ abilities to place those requests. This

prompts the primary research question of this paper - how has the implementation of a

shared online publicly accessible catalog across an academic library consortium impacted

users’ willingness and ability to place interlibrary loan requests for items owned by

consortium member schools? Addressing this question will be useful for TRLN to assess

the impact of their new platform. This research will also benefit other academic librarians

who might also be exploring opportunities to leverage consortium relationships to

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Literature Review

2.1

Library Budgets, “Big Deals”, and Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan might be the subject of increased focus and demand as a result of

the changing landscape of academic libraries and its expected challenge to ensure

sustainability amid increasing demands. Budget considerations are a constant force

dictating the direction of academic library services. Looking ahead, many academic

library administrators cite budgets, either stagnating or shrinking, as a major challenge

(Le, 2015). In tandem with this problem are increasing costs of materials, specifically the

“serials crisis” which is the multi-decade process of soaring prices for journals resulting

in huge profits for publishers and budget concerns for libraries. Library administrators

cite this specific tension as a major cause for concern (Le, 2015).

The costs of journal prices from major publishers have prompted some institutions

to cancel bundle deals with publishers, or sometimes called “big deals”. These

agreements have always been controversial with arguments about their long-term

sustainability, impact on collection development, and whether patrons actually benefit

(Frazier, 2001; “To the Editor”, 2001; Gatten and Sanville, 2004; Gibbs, 2005). While

these “big deals” are for journal subscriptions and therefore not the kinds of resources

commonly accessed through the UNC Endeca or TRLN Discovery catalogs as UNC uses

a Summon catalog for electronic article holdings, the debate over “big deals” is indicative

of broader concerns in academic libraries surrounding budgets, resources, and services.

Examining the impact of “big deal” cancellations and attempted solutions provides

information about current trends in collection development, circulation, and interlibrary

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departments envision themselves going forward. The impact of “big deal” cancellations

and the “serials crisis” in general can push academic libraries to place more importance

on ILL as an essential function and rely more on consortium partners to build shared

collections to maintain access during uncertain times.

At the time of writing, UNC recently announced that the university libraries will

not be renewing its big deal with Elsevier after months of negotiations. The non-renewal

of this $2.6 million annually deal means the number of Elsevier subscription will

decrease from around 2,000 to 395. To deal with this significant decrease in subscribed

titles from this major publisher, UNC anticipates an impact on ILL. The university

libraries recently announced expedited document delivery service for these cancelled

Elsevier titles (Blouin & Westbrooks, 2019). UNC is following moves by other Research

I schools who have cancel Two major examples of this are Florida State cancelling its big

deal with Elsevier in 2018 and the University of California system following in 2019

(Florida State University Libraries, 2019; University of California Office of Scholarly

Communication, 2019). University Librarian at UNC Elaine Westbrooks voiced support

for University of California’s decision (2019). Schools that have cancelled their “big

deal” with a major publisher provide some indication of how it impacts library services.

Among major library big deal cancellations, Florida State University Libraries, the

University of California Office of Scholarly Communication, and UNC University

Libraries state that patrons should consider using ILL to mitigate any decrease in

availability resulting from deselection of certain journals that usually happens with the

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Some research indicates ILL has an important role in this process of downsizing

subscriptions and collections. McCaslin (2010) argues that budget cuts to library

departments, such as acquisitions, can result in increased demands on ILL departments

from patrons across the university or from other institutions who are facing similar

budget circumstances; thus, impacting both the borrowing and lending sides of

interlibrary services. However, current literature does not indicate that this is always the

case. When TRLN cancelled deals with publishers in 2004, staff did not observe any

significant increase in the total volume of ILL requests and that ILL fees for articles were

mostly for requests from journals they had never subscribed to (Gibbs, 2005). Nabe and

Fowler (2015) evaluated the impact of big deal cancellations at Southern Illinois

University Carbondale and the University of Oregon. Analysis of ILL statistics found that

the volume of requests for unsubscribed journals increased over a 5-year period, the

volume of requests was less than the download for journal articles from when subscribed,

and that many unsubscribed journals had no ILL request during the study timeframe.

These researchers argue in support of the big deal cancellation and their results indicate

that ILL can help mitigate the impacts of deselection on user access to materials.

2.2

Impact on Interlibrary Loan and Consortium Borrowing

Looking at how ILL departments might deal with potential increases in demand,

one possibility is an increased reliance on consortium member institutions for greater

access to resources. Kopp (1998) argues the resurgence of library consortia in the

late-1980s through early-1990s was the result of emerging technological abilities, rapidly

increasing print resources costs, and budget constraints on academic libraries. This is

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emerging from the same time period as Kopp’s observation of consortium resurgence.

They note that interlibrary loan is often pointed to as a solution, but cite fears among

librarians that publishers can limit access and therefore undermine ILL. To the modern

academic librarian, this mixture of factors is not too different from today’s academic

library landscape. Just as many institutions turned to cooperation then, consortia might

continue to play a critical role in today’s academic libraries.

At their core, consortia are essential library partnerships that allow libraries to

accomplish more than they normally could on their own. Sharing of materials seems to be

a natural outcome of that model of cooperation. Bailey-Hainer et al. (2014) highlights

various collaborative models and its positive impact on ILL activity. For ILL

departments, consortia often provide the greatest volume of lending and borrowing

requests. Proximity plays an important role in ILL requests, meaning that institutions are

more likely to borrow from libraries near them as opposed to far away which emphasizes

the importance of regional consortia. Institutions offering direct borrowing services to

share resources at nearby libraries results in a greater reliance on these systems for

lending compared to traditional ILL requests (Duy and Lariviere, 2013). If consortium

borrowing takes on increased importance to become a much more regular part of patrons’

library experience, one possibility is that many ILL departments might develop closer ties

with circulation and reference departments as paradigms across libraries shift from access

to ownership (Burk, 2006; McCaslin, 2010; McHone-Chase, 2010). Regardless of the

department’s position in the library, this speculation underscores a belief that the current

problems and changing philosophies in libraries might result in changes to ILL and

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2.3

Advances in Interlibrary Loan Technology and Services

Behind these potential moves of ILL departments towards circulation departments

and increasing ties with consortium partners are technical advancements that enable more

efficient resource sharing with less staff mediation. One of the most important

developments has been direct borrowing. This came out of the creation of the Z39.83

protocol referred to as NCIP (NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol) that allows

circulation systems across institutions to communicate with each other (Burk, 2006). This

creates the opportunity for patron-initiated unmediated borrowing requests, especially

across a consortium. Patrons could submit requests directly from a catalog displaying

holdings across institutions. These requests could then be sent to the lending library

without a traditional ILL request or requiring any mediation by a librarian at the

borrowing library. Such transactions can provide better service to patrons and cost-saving

for libraries (Burk, 2006). In 2017, TRLN released this development through the service

TRLN Direct that uses Relais to facilitate these direct borrowing requests.

Combining direct borrowing with consortium searching can have some benefits for

patrons. By knowing the holdings of the consortium through, the patron can have a better

understanding of what materials can be easily requested through ILL and have a clearer

understanding of the time it may take to get the item. Unmediated requests can allow for

quicker fulfillment of these requests by eliminating the need for staff at the patron’s

institution to place the request. A final benefit is that the exchange of metadata through

NCIP allows for integration of interlibrary loan information into the library’s ILS. This

means that users can manage their direct borrowing requests through their normal library

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account. This effectively decreases some of the distinctions between some locally owned

items and consortium owned items.

2.4

Library Catalogs, OPACs, and Discovery Layers

These potential benefits for users of direct borrowing (ability to check status of

material, simpler request process, and managing requested materials through ILS

account) can all be enabled or improved through improvements in the library catalog

around this data sharing protocol. Therefore, libraries can use the catalog to capitalize on

this new technology to provide better user experience and access to materials. Although

library catalogs are often not the first place many users go when looking for most

information compared to Google or other search engine, the library catalog still serves an

important role in the research process for academic library users (Griffiths & Brophy,

2005; Mizrachi, 2010; Mussel and Croft, 2013). As materials become increasingly

available online, the library catalog still remains an important point of interaction

between patrons and libraries, especially for finding print materials.

The importance of the library catalog to information seeking by academic library

patrons underscores the necessity of it as a research subject for evaluating and improving

libraries. Yang and Wanger (2012), summarizing research by Breeding (2007) and

Murray (2008), identified twelve aspects for OPAC discovery layer evaluation. At the top

of this list was “Single point of entry for all library information” (p.694). Users want the

ability to search everything within the scope of the library from a single search box. They

go on to describe federated search capabilities as “the holy grail of discovery layers,”

(p.698). Their evaluation of seven open-source discovery tools and thirteen proprietary

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reference to all local holdings for each library. In consortium settings such as TRLN, this

definition could be expanded so that federated searching includes all materials that

patrons can request and manage through their library account, which would include

materials available through TRLN Direct.

The inclusion of materials that can be accessed through some form of ILL request

in library catalogs can have positive impacts on ILL activity. Interface changes to

catalogs that allow for increased options for patron-initiated ILL requests can result in

increased volume of requests (Bennett, 2007; Bryant & Ye, 2015). Bennett (2007) looked

at the placement of a link to a consortium catalog on an existing local OPAC, similar to

the link to TRLN Search on the UNC Endeca catalog and found a positive correlation

between the interface change and ILL activity. Still, this link requires an additional step

for patrons that requires an understanding of the purpose of the external catalog and the

role of ILL. Bringing that availability information directly to the user through the catalog

they are already using without having to link to a separate platform could be an

improvement that further promotes ILL use.

Regardless of immediate impact of catalog changes on ILL use, integration of ILL

into discovery layers can still be beneficial to staff and users. Increased visibility of ILL

options in public catalogs improve patrons’ ability to understand what ILL can offer

(Fawley and Krysak, 2012; Scott and Barton, 2018). Whether or not users act upon all

information provided in a search results page, simply having that information can be

beneficial. Some users can learn about ILL services that they might use at a later date

even if they do not decide that they want it for their current information need.

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discovery layers can benefit reference and instruction librarians by providing the

opportunity to inform patrons about ILL possibilities. For TRLN Discovery, the visibility

of ILL through the prioritized consortium search could help make some users more aware

of the university library’s consortium with nearby research schools in TRLN and how

this collaboration can positively impact many library services. This impact would not be

noticed in analysis of current ILL request data, but it would still a positive outcome of the

new catalog. Another additional benefit for staff that might not appear in request data are

workflow and efficiency improvements. Integrating consortium borrowing and discovery

into the local catalog can help departments meet increased demands (Bryant & Ye, 2015).

Some research has examined the impact of search behavior resulting from

changes to catalogs. Scott and Barton (2018) added CustomLinks in an academic library

OPAC for items not locally available but held by partner institutions. This is kind of a

basic version of consortium searching through a local library catalog. These links told the

user that the item was held by a particular partner institution and provided a link to

submit an ILL request. While this inclusion was not observed to increase the volume of

ILL requests, the researchers found patrons used these links to submit requests, rather

than other options, meaning that this became the preferred method for users to submit

requests for the consortium-owned materials they needed through ILL. With TRLN

Discovery offering a more sophisticated version of this shared discovery, there is a need

to build upon the research of Scott and Barton (2018) in the context of a true shared

discovery platform with full integration of consortium holdings and real-time data

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Methodology

3.1

Retrieving Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Request Data

ILLiad is an interlibrary loan management software used by many libraries

including UNC to submit and process interlibrary loan, interlibrary borrowing, and

Document Delivery requests for articles and loans. Within ILLiad, staff can perform

custom searches to retrieve request and patron information for each submitted request.

This information can be used to see how users place requests, the types of users placing

requests, and the types of materials being requested; therefore, this data was used to

examine the impact of TRLN Discovery on use of interlibrary borrowing and Document

Delivery services. The search was constructed according to request type, item type, and

request date. Six searches in total were performed to retrieve interlibrary borrowing

request data and Document Delivery request data for fall 2017, fall 2018, and fall 2019.

The following paragraphs will explain the structure of this search.

The request type or Process Type indicates whether the item is lending (request

from another library for a UNC item), borrowing (request by UNC patron for an item at

another library), or Document Delivery (request by UNC patron for a UNC item). For

this research, only borrowing and document delivery requests were examined. This split

the data into two categories. The first were for borrowing requests for items owned by

consortium members. This data was used to see the impact of TRLN Discovery on

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requests. This additional data set provided additional information about the impact of

TRLN Discovery user search behavior in other areas of interlibrary services.

In each of these searches, the item type or Request Type was set as loan, as

opposed to article. This means that the patron was requesting the entire resource, as

opposed to an article. Therefore, these types of requests are useful for analyzing catalog

use. TRLN Discovery is primarily used for searching books rather than serials, and

TRLN Direct is only used for loan requests. Analyzing search behavior and request

patterns for article requests would be more complex as it would have to account for

searches on other library search systems and web-scale searches. This would provide

little information about the use of the new TRLN Discovery catalog.

The searches for interlibrary borrowing items required additional search terms to

retrieve only the requests to consortium schools. These requests were retrieved by

searches in the ILL Number and Lending Library fields. While a Relais system is also

used for TRLN Direct requests to process and communicate with lending and borrowing

libraries’ ILS, each request still has an associated request record in ILLiad to help

manage requests. In ILLiad, interlibrary borrowing requests from TRLN Direct will have

Record Number field that contains the TRLN Direct request number that contains a

prefix of the borrowing library followed by the request number. For requests placed by

UNC, these requests have the prefix “CAR-”. In ILLiad, this field replaces the ILL

Number field for OCLC requests. Additionally, these requests should have “TRLN” or

“trln” as its lending library. This was also included as condition in the search to ensure as

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Occasionally, consortium borrowing requests are placed through OCLC instead of

TRLN Direct. To collect these requests, the Lending Library field was searched for the

codes of other TRLN schools, such as “NDD” for Duke, “NCX” for NCCU, and “NRC”

for NCSU. In addition, some branch libraries at these universities have separate ILL

departments, so those unique lending library codes were also included. TRLN schools

have highest priority in lending strings, therefore if a request can be filled by a TRLN

school they will receive the request before moving on to other schools. This meant that

the Lending Library field could be searched instead of the entire Lending String, which

has a more complicated structure to easily parse.

Creation Date ranges were used to separate data into three sets each for borrowing

and Document Delivery request data sets. Fall semesters (August 1 to December 1) from

2017 to 2019 were analyzed. These date ranges were chosen for several reasons. The first

is that TRLN Discovery was released in July 2019, therefore the fall semester following

that summer launch would be the largest possible date range possible at the time of study.

The initial year of 2017 was chosen because TRLN Direct was launched in 2017. Using

data from before TRLN Direct would be challenging to analyze because there is less

distinction in ILLiad between consortium borrowing and traditional interlibrary loan

requests to schools outside TRLN. Additionally, using data before July 2017 would add

other factors that might influence user willingness and ability to use consortium

borrowing service, and the addition of a large historical dataset does not address the

research question about a particular user experience change. Another reason for the

chosen date range is that interlibrary loan requests at academic libraries follow trends

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semesters. This requires that the time periods stay within times where the university is in

session and that the dates remain consistent across the multiple years analyzed. For those

reasons, a 4-month period of August 1 to December 1 in 2017, 2018, and 2019 were

chosen for both ILL and Document Delivery request data.

After combining these parameters for Process Type, Request Type, Creation Date,

and consortium borrowing conditions, the searches had the following construction:

This search resulted in 1477 requests for 2017, 1348 for 2018, and 1506 for 2019 before

processing to remove unwanted requests, such as tests and duplicates.

To retrieve Document Delivery requests, a similar type of search was used in

ILLiad. The search collected loan requests with the Process Type “Doc Del” and Request

Type “Loan” across the same three time periods as the ILL request data. In ILLiad, this is

how this type of search was constructed:

This search resulted in 15,082 requests for 2017, 17,014 for 2018, and 16,465 for 2019

before processing to remove unwanted requests.

For each of these six searches, data was exported to Microsoft Excel files using the

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patron names and contact information, was removed to protect privacy. To clean-up the

dataset, some requests were removed. This includes requests that were cancelled by ILL

staff because they were duplicate requests and requests that were placed by ILL staff to

test the software. After cleaning the data, it was analyzed using Excel and some basic

scripts in Python. Graphs were created using Python.

3.2

Analyzing Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Request Data

The exported ILLiad data for both the borrowing and Document Delivery requests

contained many fields, most of which were blank for these types of requests or not

needed for this research. This includes information such as loan title, author, and

publisher, and substantial information about the lending library, such as addresses,

delivery methods, etc. Relevant to this study were fields that can be categorized into three

types. The first is information about the request itself, such as the request transaction

number and creation date.

Next was information about how the request was submitted. Included in the data

exported from ILLiad were the web request form field that provides information about

how the user placed the request. This can be used to determine what catalog the user was

using when searching for materials. The definition for some of these codes changed

following the release of TRLN Discovery. Therefore, this field was a useful way to

analyze the impact of TRLN Discovery on user search behavior. The following table

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2017-2018 2019 LoanRequest

ArticleRequest Thesis Request

Submitted through form on user’s CarolinaBLU account

Same as previous years

GenericRequestUNCLoan

GenericRequestUNCArticle Submitted using link from UNC Endeca catalog Submitted using TRLN Discovery catalog while searching local holdings GenericRequestTRLNLoan

GenericRequestTRLNArticle Submitted using link from TRLN Search catalog Submitted using TRLN Discovery catalog while searching consortium holdings

GenericRequestBLULoan

GenericRequestBLUArticle Submitted through form on CarolinaBlu instruction webpage on library

website

Same as previous years

Blank Field is empty Same as previous years

The four most important categories related to the relationship between requests and the

catalog use were the loan request form categories: LoanRequest,

GenericRequestUNCLoan, GenericRequestTRLNLoan, and GenericRequestBLULoan.

To summarize each of these requests, LoanRequest meant the request was submitted

through the user account management page, GenericRequestUNCLoan meant the request

came from a local holdings search, GenericRequestTRLNLoan meant the request came

from a consortium search, and GenericRequestBLULoan meant the request came from

the instructional webpage for ILL services. Analyzing changes in the relative number of

requests coming from each of these versions of the request form allowed for observing

how the two types of catalogs impacted how users placed ILL and Document Delivery

requests.

Specifically, observing changes to the relative number of requests coming directly

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impact of the new catalog. These are marked with GenericRequestTRLNLoan. With the

release of TRLN Discovery in July 2019, requests marked as GenericRequestTRLNLoan

changed from requests from TRLN Search to requests from local versions of TRLN

Discovery where the user had enabled consortium searching through the added facet. If

fall 2019 had a greater percent of requests with this web form type compared to the

previous two time periods, that would indicate an increased user interest in faceted

consortium searching through TRLN Discovery compared to using the separate TRLN

Search consortium catalog. Therefore, changes in requests from this version of the web

request form were used to compare use of the two consortium catalogs.

The final type of data used was user information. Both overall and user group

level data was analyzed. While personally identifying and other sensitive information was

removed to protect user privacy, two types of user information data remained: a

consistent unique identifier and user group. Having consistent unique identifier numbers

and user groups helped eliminate the influence of “power users” in ILL. These are users

who place large numbers of requests and account for a significant portion of the total

volume. These are oftentimes faculty or graduate students performing research who need

access to many specialized and specific resources not found in most collections. To

minimize the impact of these users, unique identification numbers were used to count the

number of unique users and each user group was also analyzed separately.

To combine these different types of data, analysis was separated into several

categories. The first division was between ILL and Document Delivery requests. Since

ILL helps patrons access resources that are not locally available, the importance and use

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requesting locally available resources through Document Delivery services. Next analysis

was divided into the entire dataset for each time period and then according to the major

user groups. This series of breaking down the data allowed for seeing the particular areas

of catalog use and book requests that were impacted by the new catalog across different

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Results

4.1

Interlibrary Loan Requests

4.1.1 Total Volume of Requests

ILL data was analyzed from August to December for 2017, 2018, and 2019. The

total number of requests examined for those three time periods were 1476 in 2017, 1341

in 2018, and 1494 in 2019. This meant that requests decreased by 135 between 2017 and

2018 and then increased by 153 to the next year 2019 with 18 more requests than 2017.

This resulted in a 9.15% decrease between the fall 2017 and 2018, 11.41% increase

between the fall 2018 and 2019, and a 1.22% difference overall. Despite some variation

in request volume, these changes did not indicate a direct relationship between volume of

requests and the version of local and consortium catalogs.

Although the volume of requests did not have a direct correlation with the release

of TRLN Discovery, the ways users place requests were impacted. Overall, the new

catalog resulted in a larger proportion of patrons using a consortium search to place a

request for a resource owned by a consortium member school. This increase was seen in

the ILLiad data reporting the link the patron used to access the request form. This full

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2017 % 2018 % 2019 %

LoanRequest 446 30 385 29 368 25

ArticleRequest 19 1 21 2 8 1

ThesisRequest 1 0 0 0 0 0

GenericRequestUNCLoan 431 29 426 32 380 25

GenericRequestUNCArticle 3 0 0 0 0 0

GenericRequestTRLNLoan 549 37 480 36 718 48

GenericRequestTRLNArticle 1 0 2 0 0 0

GenericRequestBLULoan 17 1 12 1 10 1

GenericRequestBLUArticle 0 0 0 0 0 0

Blank 9 1 15 1 10 1

Total: 1476 Total: 1341 Total: 1494

The ILL web request types related to the catalog were the forms for loans: LoanRequest,

GenericRequestUNCLoan, GenericRequestTRLNLoan, and GenericRequestBLULoan.

With the exception of BLU Loan requests, these loan requests comprised the largest

number of requests. For each time period studied, requests originating from a consortium

search either through TRLN Search or TRLN Discovery were the most frequent with

37% of TRLN requests in fall 2017, 36% in fall 2018, and 48% in fall 2019. The second

most popular way of placing request across this time frame was directly through the UNC

catalog. In this case the user might have searched for a material, only to see that it is

unavailable or not owned. Then, they decide to place the ILL request. They might be

unaware or not concerned that the material is owned by a consortium member school

nearby. These types of requests comprised 29% of request in fall 2017, 32% in fall 2018,

and 25% in fall 2019.

The third and fourth most popular ways were placing requests directly through

their CarolinaBLU account, either directly through their account or accessing the form

through the instructional webpage on the library’s website. While users might have used

a catalog such as TRLN Search, TRLN Discovery, or OCLC WorldCat to find materials,

(26)

The user went to their Carolina BLU account page and then placed the request by

manually completing the webform. Similar to that, the last way to submit a loan request

and by far the least frequent way is through a link found on the instructions webpage for

using creating a CarolinaBLU account. These requests using the instructional webpage

comprise a significantly smaller number of requests compared to the other ways to place

requests.

Looking at how these types of requests changed over the three time periods, most

notable was the increase in requests from a consortium search following the launch of

TRLN Discovery. For the 2019 time period, 48% of requests for TRLN materials were

submitted using the consortium search option on the UNC version of TRLN Discovery.

This value is 11 percentage points greater than fall 2017 and 12 percentage points greater

than fall 2018. In terms of request volume, these 718 of the 1494 total requests in fall

2019 were 169 more than fall 2017 (30.78% increase) and 238 more than fall 2018

(27)

the release of TRLN Discovery and indicates an impact of the new catalog on user search

behavior by making users more likely to use a consortium search to place ILL request.

Subsequently, this increase in percentage of searches from a TRLN search

corresponded to a decrease in the percentage of requests coming from other forms. All

other forms of ILL requests for a book loan through TRLN Direct reached their lowest

point in 2019, compared to the previous fall semesters. This decrease in other forms of

requests following the release of TRLN Discovery directly coincided with the large

increase in requests from a TRLN catalog search. The integrated consortium search

resulted in an increase in requests from a consortium search and a decrease in requests

from local searches. Loan requests placed through the UNC catalog decreased by 4

percentage points compared to fall 2017 and decreased by 6 percentage points compared

to fall 2018. In terms of number of requests, the decrease by 51 requests between fall

2017 and fall 2019 was a 11.83% difference. Similarly, the decrease by 46 requests

between fall 2018 and fall 2019 was a 10.80% difference. The integration of consortium

(28)

willingness to perform a consortium search when looking for materials that are not

locally owned.

Likewise, the number of requests from user accounts fell consistently across the

three time periods when expressed as a percent of overall request volume from 30 to 29

to 25 percent. This meant a decrease of 1 percentage points between the 2017 and 2018

time periods, a 4 percentage point decrease between 2018 and 2019, and a 5 percentage

point decrease between 2017 and 2019. This decrease in percent of requests coming from

user accounts reflected an increase in the percent of requests coming from a consortium

search. Therefore, some users that previously manually submitted requests through their

user account might have switched to using catalog links in TRLN Discovery to place

those requests.

4.1.2 User Data

User data was analyzed to further explore the impact of the new catalog on user

search behavior and ILL use across different patron types. Users fell into one of five

groups: faculty, staff, graduate, undergraduate, and Distance Education. The last group,

Distance Education, contained patrons who might fall into one of the other categories, but

they are categorized separately because these materials require delivery. However, during

fall 2017, 2018, and 2019 only 5 requests were placed by these types of users, including 0

in fall 2017. Therefore, Distance Education users were not examined as a group, because

it lacked an adequate sample size. However, these requests were included in analysis and

(29)

2017 % 2018 % 2019 %

Total Users 684 --- 631 --- 722 ---

Requests 1476 --- 1341 --- 1494 ---

Requests/User 2.16 --- 2.13 --- 2.07 ---

Faculty 128 19 118 19 143 20

Requests 256 17 252 19 276 19

Requests/User 2.00 --- 2.14 --- 1.93 ---

Staff 61 9 45 7 51 7

Requests 107 7 76 6 98 7

Requests/User 1.75 --- 1.69 --- 1.92 ---

Graduates 352 51 286 45 316 44

Requests 923 63 772 58 841 56.

Requests/User 2.62 --- 2.70 --- 2.66 ---

Undergraduates 143 21 181 29 209 29

Requests 190 13 239 18 276 18

Requests/User 1.33 --- 1.32 --- 1.32 ---

Across the three time periods analyzed, fall 2019 experienced the greatest number

of unique users at 722. This value is 38 greater than fall 2017 (5.56% increase) and 91

greater than fall 2018 (14.42% increase). While fall 2019 having the greatest number of

unique users compared to previous time periods, it cannot be directly attributed to the

release of TRLN Discovery because of the high variability in user count. In comparison,

the two control time periods showed a 7.75% decrease in users in fall 2018 compared to

fall 2017. This change in users between similar years limits the extent to which the

increase in users for fall 2019 can be attributed to the new catalog.

While both the number of unique users and total number of requests were both

greater than previous years in fall 2019, the number of requests per user remained

relatively similar at 2.07 compared to slightly greater values in years prior. While this

(30)

fall 2017 and a 2.63% decrease from fall 2018. By comparison fall 2018 was a 1.51%

decrease from fall 2017. This small variation in requests per users across these time

periods would seem to imply that TRLN Discovery did not significantly impact users’

willingness to frequently use consortium borrowing services.

Looking further into user data, the loan request activity of returning users was

examined. Users who placed a request in fall 2019 and either fall 2017 or fall 2018 were

considered a returning user. This value was 467 returning users. For these users, the way

they placed requests before fall 2019 were compared to fall 2019 to look at the impact of

TRLN Discovery on these types of users. If any of a user’s requests for a time period

were from a consortium search either through TRLN Search or TRLN Discovery, they

were considered a consortium search user. Of those 467 returning users, 234 were

returning consortium search users (50% of returning users). This meant that they had

placed a request in TRLN Search in fall 2017 or fall 2018 and then again in fall 2019

through TRLN Discovery. In contrast, 108 users never used consortium searches to place

requests across the time period (23% of returning users). This distribution for returning

users reflected the trends for overall users with requests from a consortium search being

the most popular way for users to submit requests for these types of resources.

Many returning users changed their request behavior following the release of the

new catalog. Of these returning users, 90 of the 467 never used TRLN Search to place a

request but began doing so in TRLN Discovery (19% of returning users). 35 returning

users, however, did not place a request through a TRLN Discovery consortium search

after having used TRLN Search to place requests in the observed time periods (7% of

(31)

that changes in the increase in number of requests coming from a consortium search was

not limited to just new users. Many returning users changed their search and request

behavior as a result of the new catalog, mostly to take advantage of the new consortium

search features but additionally some to stop searching consortium searches once TRLN

(32)

Alongside analysis of returning users, user group data was also analyzed. Overall,

there was an increase in the total number of users across the three time periods. This

growth in users was experienced mostly in undergraduate students which climbed across

each of the time periods analyzed from 143 in fall 2017 to 181 in 2018 and 209 in 2019.

This corresponded to a 26.57% increase between 2017 and 2018, 15.47% increase

between 2018 and 2019, and a 46.15% increase overall. Despite this significant increase

in undergraduate users, the number of requests per user remained relatively the same as

more students used ILL services. This increase in undergraduate student users cannot be

directly to attributed to TRLN Discovery as the increase in users does not correspond

only with the release of the catalog and instead might indicate a larger trend among

undergraduate student patrons.

In addition to the number of users, their user types, and volume of requests, data

about how different user groups placed requests was used to see changes in search

behavior. For most user groups, there was an increase in the percent of requests resulting

from a consortium search and a decrease in requests coming from only local holdings

searches. Looking at searches from a consortium search, all user groups in fall 2019 had

the highest value for consortium searches. For most user groups except for graduate

students, there was a consistent increase in the percent of searches coming from the

consortium, but the rate of increase between years was greatest between fall 2018 and fall

2019 with the release of TRLN Discovery. For graduate student users, the percent of

requests from a consortium search decreased between fall 2017 and fall 2018 by 5

percentage points. Fall 2019, however, showed a large increase of 13 percentage points

(33)

coming from TRLN Discovery compared to previous years’ values from TRLN Search

indicates that many users had an interest in the consortium searches through the shared

discovery platform as around half of all requests (48%) came from these searches in

(34)

Corresponding with the increase in requests coming from the catalog, many user

groups showed a decrease in the percent of requests coming from a local holdings catalog

search. For all groups, the percent of these requests in fall 2019 were less than the

previous year. With the exception of undergraduate students and faculty, these requests

were less than fall 2018. However, all groups showed a decrease in percent of these

requests compared to fall 2018. When using TRLN Discovery, users were less likely to

place the request after a local holdings search and instead more often opted for a

consortium search when looking for these types of resources.

4.2

Document Delivery Requests

4.2.1 Total Volume of Requests

As with the ILL request data, Document Delivery request data was examined

across the same three time periods of August 1 through December 1 of 2017, 2018, 2019.

For these three fall semesters, the changes in total number of requests could not be

attributed to the launch of TRLN Discovery. Fall 2017 experienced the lowest number of

requests of the three time periods with 14,894 total requests. Fall 2018 and 2019

experienced a greater number of requests with 16,815 in 2018 and 16,158 in 2019. This

change in the total request volume was not correlated with changes to the discovery layer

(35)

2017 % 2018 % 2019 %

LoanRequest 250 2 260 2 260 2

ArticleRequest 84 1 118 1 91 1

ThesisRequest 0 0 10 0 9 0

GenericRequestUNCLoan 14182 95 15999 95 15146 94

GenericRequestUNCArticle 47 0 40 0 62 0

GenericRequestTRLNLoan 39 0 43 0 289 2

GenericRequestTRLNArticle 0 0 0 0 0 0

GenericRequestBLULoan 245 2 325 2 267 2

GenericRequestBLUArticle 20 0 5 0 4 0

Blank 27 0 15 0 30 0

Total: 14894 Total: 16815 Total: 16158

Looking only at the four ways for users to submit loan requests (LoanRequest,

GenericRequestUNCLoan, GenericRequestTRLNLoan, and GenericRequestBLULoan)

across this three-year period, three of these four either remain relatively consistent or

change relative the number of requests overall. The only exception was the requests

originating from the consortium catalog which increased from 39 in fall 2017 and 43 in

fall 2018 to 289 in fall 2019 following the release of TRLN Discovery. This is the only

category of these requests that increased in 2019 compared to both fall 2017 and fall

2018. The 289 requests in 2019 were a 572.09% increase compared to 2017 and a

(36)

This increase in requests coming from a consortium search indicates that patrons

were using this option in their searches for local items. Although the users were searching

for a material that is owned by their host institution and therefore did not need a

consortium search to locate it, this increase following the release of TRLN Discovery

meant that some patrons use this feature while searching for all materials, as opposed to

only using it when the material cannot be found locally. This means that some patrons

were likely using the consortium search option when constructing their search as opposed

to after evaluating the first set of results.

This increase in Document Delivery requests coming from a consortium search

did not indicate a major change to the way most patrons search for materials when using

the Document Delivery services. The overwhelming majority of patrons used local

holdings searches to place their requests for both the older UNC Endeca catalog and

TRLN Discovery. In fall 2017, 95% of requests came from the UNC Endeca catalog and

fall 2018 had 95%. Following the release of TRLN Discovery, the UNC version of this

(37)

This small decrease in the percent of requests coming from a local holdings search can be

attributed to the comparable increase in searches from a consortium search after the

launch of TRLN Discovery.

4.2.2 User Data

Across the three time periods analyzed, the number of unique users increased

from 2731 in 2017 to 3095 in 2018 to 3472 in 2019. This increase in unique users did not

follow the same trend of total requests. This resulted in a decrease of requests per user

from 5.45 in 2017 to 5.43 in 2018 to 4.65 in 2019. When comparing fall 2017 to fall

2019, there was a 14.67% decrease in requests per user. This could have been the result

of users generally placing less requests or that the new users are less likely to frequently

use the service, resulting in a decrease of requests per user.

Document delivery requests were also analyzed according to user group. As with

ILL requests, users were grouped into one of five categories: faculty, staff, graduate,

undergraduate, and Distance Education. Only 4 Distance Education requests were placed

during the three time periods, with all 4 coming in 2019. For this reason, requests by

(38)

2017 % 2018 % 2019 %

Total Users 2731 --- 3095 --- 3472 ---

Requests 14894 --- 16815 --- 16158 ---

Requests/User 5.45 --- 5.43 --- 4.65 ---

Faculty 449 16 465 15 457 13

Requests 2890 19 3357 20 2983 18

Requests/User 6.44 --- 7.22 --- 6.53 ---

Staff 260 10 293 9 317 9

Requests 1134 8 1140 7 1160 7

Requests/User 4.36 --- 3.89 --- 3.66 ---

Graduates 935 34 952 31 1036 30

Requests 7632 51 7888 47 7655 47

Requests/User 8.16 --- 8.29 --- 7.39 ---

Undergraduates 1086 40 1384 45 1659 48

Requests 3238 22 4430 26 4356 27

Requests/User 2.98 --- 3.20 --- 2.63 ---

The overall trends of increasing number of unique users and decreasing number of

requests per user were generally seen across all user groups. All major groups increased

in user count between fall 2017 and fall 2019. Faculty users increased from 449 to 457

(1.68% increase), staff from 260 to 317 (21.92% increase), graduate students from 935 to

1036 (10.80% increase), and undergraduate students from 1086 to 1659 (52.76%

increase). This increase in undergraduate student use of these services reflected a similar

increase in undergraduate students using ILL services across the three time periods.

While the number of users increased across all groups, the number of requests per user

decreased for all groups except faculty. For faculty it increased marginally from 6.44 to

6.53 (1.41% increase). For staff it decreased from 4.36 to 3.66 (16.1% decrease), for

graduate students from 8.16 to 7.39 (9.48% decrease), and for undergraduate students

(39)

The changes to number of users and requests per user across these user groups

does not indicate any impact of TRLN Discovery on willingness to use these services.

While more patrons used the service throughout the three observed timeframes, this

change cannot be directly attributed to changes in the catalog. For most user groups, the

observed increase in users can be attributed to a larger trend of more patrons using

(40)

There were some changes within these user groups that can be attributed to

changes in consortium resource discovery. Looking at the way patrons placed requests

within each user group, the overall trend of increased use of consortium searches to place

requests was observed. Each user group had a substantial increase in the number and

percent of requests coming from a consortium search. Each of these values far surpassed

the previous time periods’ values for request volume and as percent of requests. This

reflects the overall trend of the combined user groups.

However, these types of requests never formed a substantial amount of the overall

request volume. For each observed time period, consortium searches never exceeded

3.0% of the overall searches for any user group, even after the release of TRLN

Discovery. In comparison, local holdings searches through both UNC Endeca catalog and

the UNC version of TRLN Discovery usually remained above 90% of requests, with the

lowest observed being for staff requests for fall 2019 at 90% and the highest observed

being faculty requests 96% for fall 2017. For these users, a local holdings search was all

(41)

Discussion

Both ILL and Document Delivery data indicated no significant correlation

between the release of TRLN Discovery and the total number of requests. Similarly,

while the total number of users also increased for both ILL and Document Delivery

across the three time periods analyzed, the increase could not be attributed to the release

of TRLN Discovery. These two measures indicate that the user experience changes and

consortium search capabilities have not created increased interest in consortium resource

sharing and related services, such as Document Delivery for locally owned materials.

However, as TRLN Discovery has only been used for one full semester at UNC, this

might change as users become accustomed to the interface and discover new features.

One area where TRLN Discovery had an impact was how users placed requests.

These changes occurred for both ILL and Document Delivery requests and for all major

user groups for each request type. For ILL requests, the release of TRLN Discovery

resulted in a larger percent of requests coming from a consortium search. In fall 2019

these requests accounted for 48% of the total, which is 11 percentage points greater than

fall 2017 and 12 percentage points greater than fall 2018. In terms of the number of

requests, the 718 of the 1494 total requests in fall 2019 were a 49.58% increase from the

previous year and a 30.78% increase compared to two years prior. This increase was

(42)

This observed change to user search behavior resulting from TRLN Discovery has

some importance. It means that users at the time of placing the request had more

available information to them about the material they were requesting. If a user is placing

the request through the older UNC Endeca catalog or through their ILL user account

without performing a consortium search then they are not aware that the book is available

for direct consortium borrowing, unless they are using OCLC WorldCat which would

note that the resource is located at a nearby university. Knowing that the material they are

requesting is available nearby can benefit users. Requests filled by TRLN schools

through TRLN Direct usually have a much quicker fulfillment time compared to ILL

requests to non-member libraries. Knowing that the request can be filled by a consortium

member can mean the user can expect the material in a matter of days compared to

maybe even weeks for some materials to be delivered.

A similar trend in user search behavior was found in the Document Delivery

request data. The release of TRLN Direct was correlated with a sharp increase in the

number of requests coming from a consortium search. Fall 2017 had 39 requests from

consortium searches and fall 2018 followed with 43. Upon the release of TRLN Direct

the number increased to 289. This represented a 641.03% increase from fall 2017 and a

572.09% increase from fall 2018. This indicates that the consortium search features are

having some impact on how users search the catalog for both local holdings and

consortium owned resources. With these Document Delivery requests, a user who

performs a search with accurate search terms would not have to use the consortium

search facet because the material is available locally. However, some users appear to be

(43)

For these users, consortium search is an integral part of the search process, as opposed to

being an option used only when a material is not available in local holdings.

This increase in Document Delivery requests originating from consortium

searches poses a small problem for interlibrary loan staff as these requests are

automatically routed to the interlibrary loan department ILLiad queues, as opposed to

Document Delivery queues. Given that there were only 289 of these requests over the

122-day period in fall 2019 (2.37 requests per day) this increase in incorrect routing is not

substantial enough to detract from department productivity, but is worth noting as an

unintended result of the change in discovery layers and interlibrary loan integration.

This research has limitations that must be accounted for. This study was limited

by sample size, as only three semesters of data could be analyzed. This was because

TRLN Discovery was released in summer 2019, meaning that by winter 2020 only the

previous semester’s requests could be analyzed. Additionally, TRLN Direct launched in

summer 2017. Data from before that date could not be used without introducing

additional variables. As a result of this limited sample size (n=3), statistical tests could

not be performed. Therefore, the results and limited calculations that were performed

should be interpreted as preliminary results about a specific context. As TRLN Discovery

continues to be used and more users become accustomed to the new interface, more

request data should be analyzed.

Despite these limitations imposed by the scope of this project and availability of

data, these findings underscore critical aspects of interlibrary services. Motivations to use

interlibrary services can be understood as push (a need to access a resource) and pull

(44)

that is not available in local holdings. However, many non-users of ILL feel that their

information needs are being met without using the service (Frank & Bothmann, 2008;

Porat & Fine, 2009). For large academic libraries, like UNC Chapel Hill, patrons are

more likely to feel that their local collections are adequate (Henderson, 2000; Porat and

Shoham, 2004). Therefore, a significant portion of library users may not feel inclined to

place ILL requests, regardless of their knowledge of the service.

The new catalog cannot directly address users’ perceptions about their need for

ILL, but it can serve as a pull factor by increasing visibility of ILL, providing users with

more information about resources that can be requested, and potentially a better overall

user experience. For current users, these changes seem to have impacted the way they use

ILL, which can be seen as promising results. While shared discovery alone will not break

down all distinctions between local and consortium owned collections, these results

provide evidence that shared discovery and consortium search using a facet are features

that many ILL users were interested in and can be considered an improvement to ILL

(45)

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