7.0063 Costs of Reading Articles (1/58)

Fri, 18 Jun 1993 09:59:05 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 7, No. 0063. Friday, 18 Jun 1993.

Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1993 13:53:54 +22306256 (EST)
From: jod@ccat.sas.upenn.edu (James O'Donnell)

The following item came my way and digests a press release for an interesting
new study. Librarians will read the study with obsessive interest, of
course, but it struck me that it is of great interest and importance to many
of the rest of us. ILL (Interlibrary Loan) is a vehicle I use almost
thoughtlessly, and have always figured it was something we did because it was
cheaper than *owning* the item in question. 'Taint necessarily so.

Jim O'Donnell
Classics, U. of Penn.


The Association of Research Libraries and the Research Libraries Group have
just issued the findings of a joint project to determine the present costs of
interlibrary lending and borrowing in North American research libraries. The
64-page report, ARL/RLG Interlibrary Loan Cost Study, is being distributed by
ARL. Seventy-six U.S. and Canadian research libraries collected interlibrary
loan (ILL) cost data for 1991, which was then verified, analyzed, and
distilled into the published study.

The report provides the data to inform research libraries when their best
option is to buy, catalog, and hold, or to borrow research materials; whether
to use fee-based suppliers or ILL for obtaining photocopied materials; what
are the relative staffing costs for ILL, by staff level and function; and
cost differences by geographic region and institution type (public or

Some findings, presented in statistical detail in the study:

o The major cost of ILL operations is for staff; less than
one fourth of the total goes to all other elements --
communications, photocopying, supplies, equipment, materials
delivery, etc.

o More than half of all filled ILL transactions are done
through photocopies rather than transmitting the original item.

o The average cost for a completed ILL transaction (incurred
by both the lender and the borrower) is close to $30 --
nearly $19 for the requester and $11 for the lender.

The complete bibliographical information is:

ARL/RLG Interlibrary Loan Cost Study; A Joint Effort by the Association of
Research Libraries and the Research Libraries Group, by Marilyn M. Roche,
Research Libraries Group. Washington, DC, Association of Research Libraries,
June 1993. iv, 64 pages. ISBN: 0-918006-70-8 $10 (including first class
shipping and handling; discounts for multiple orders on request)

For more ordering information, contact:
Gloria Haws, Program Assistant for Customer Services
202-296-2296 telephone
202-872-0884 fax
e-mail to: osap@cni.org