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Questions and answers about OCLC ISO ILL

Why does OCLC ILL require that libraries retest?

Most software allows users to configure and customize the system to meet their needs. The first day that a library is profiled for ISO ILL OCLC staff works with the library to send a series of messages between the two systems to ensure that all the connections and exchanges are working as expected. This final check is very important because once a library is profiled as ISO ILL they can not update any of their new borrowing or lending requests except through their ISO ILL system. This means that all the other OCLC member libraries don't need to know, or care, that library X is now using and ILL manager—they can just do ILL and it works.

Is anyone using ISO ILL to talk to OCLC ILL?

Several libraries are using part or all of the protocol to interact with OCLC ILL. See Libraries using ISO ILL.

My library does not use an ISO ILL system, do I need to change my workflow or learn any new commands?

OCLC ILL Interoperability is designed to require no changes to existing OCLC ILL workflows and procedures. OCLC ILL users should not need to know, or care, if their partner library is an ISO ILL user. There is one new status and there are additions to the Special Messages categories.

  • New Status: "Cancel/Pending". While OCLC is trying to cancel a request with another system a request will go to Cancel/Pending. Because this is a fleeting status it is not part of the message file.

  • Special Messages: An ISO ILL system can send in a "lost" message meaning that the material has been lost in on the way to the borrower or on the way back to the lender. This is a terminal state—you can look at a "lost" status but you can not change it. Like all Special Messages "lost" will age out in 180 days.

Can I still use Direct Request?

That will depend on your vendor. The ISO ILL protocol does not provide for end-user requests to allow an end-user to send a workform to the ILL office. OCLC has defined an extension to the protocol to support end-user requesting using Direct Request.

Can I still use ILL Fee Management?

Yes! You may continue to use IFM through ISO ILL. OCLC has registered extensions to the ISO ILL standard that ensure IFM will work properly. Verify with your system vendor that they support IFM.

What does ISO ILL interoperability mean?

The goal of ISO ILL interoperability is to allow ILL staff to conduct ILL with other ISO ILL compliant systems as easily and seamlessly as if both libraries were using the same system. Because of the many options available within ISO ILL and the differences in software applications true seamless interoperability requires planning and testing. There are really 2 kinds of interoperability:

  1. Systems interoperability is governed by IPIG, (ILL Protocol Implementers Group). If two systems are able to accept and interpret each other's ISO ILL messages then IPIG considers that these two systems can interoperate.

  2. Library interoperability, the question of whether libraries can conduct ILL using these two systems, can only be determined by working ILL practitioners. OCLC believes that by rigorous up-front interoperability testing, systems can resolve both the technical and many of the library issues.

How can a library use ISO ILL to send requests to OCLC ILL (what are the choices)?

There are 3 ways a library can send an ISO ILL compliant request to OCLC ILL:

  1. Direct Request. A system can send a request to OCLC with some extensions to the ISO ILL protocol that allows OCLC to use the OCLC ILL Direct Request service. An extension is a set of instructions that extend the standard to do more than the standard supports.

  2. Simple ILL. The ISO ILL standard supports several kinds of communication. In simple ISO ILL, a library sends to a single specific library (for example, Ohio State sends a request to Central Michigan University). Each time a request comes to OCLC it is a new request and the library is billed each time.

  3. Intermediary. OCLC supports an intermediary role allowing a system to send a lender string called a "send to" list. This is a single request and the library is billed for one request, even if there are 5 libraries in the "send to" list.

How do libraries using OCLC ILL's intermediary service know the current status of their requests?

The ISO ILL standard does not provide a standards-based way for an intermediary to send interim reports, e.g. library ABC responded not-on-shelf, the current potential lender is XYZ. OCLC believes many libraries will want this information. OCLC has developed an extension to the protocol to allow us to send interim reports. The extension is optional; libraries will need to ask their vendor if they support this extension. Even if your ISO ILL manager does not support the extension you will still be able to view your requests and the full request history on OCLC but you will only be able to update that request through your ISO ILL system.

How does OCLC ILL test with other vendors?

As with most library standards each vendor has implemented and interpreted the protocol a little differently we require that vendors test all of the ISO ILL messages in our test environment. Once a vendor has passed testing in our test bed they connect to our production system and test again. Why? The vendors systems are under development, things will be changing on their system and, possibly on ours. We want to ensure that the systems can interoperate both technically and practically.