7.0076 Costs of Reading Articles (1/93)

Tue, 6 Jul 1993 19:32:46 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 7, No. 0076. Tuesday, 6 Jul 1993.

Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1993 12:31:35 -0700 (PDT)
From: Beverly Stafford <stafford@lclark.edu>
Subject: Re: 7.0063 Costs of Reading Articles (1/58)

I have not read this full study, only a summary of it in article form,
but these figures do not match up with a cost study we did here in our
local network of libraries this past spring. As part of an interlibrary
loan committee for PORTALS (consisting of a large state academic university
library, a state-supported medical library, several smaller liberal arts
college libraries, the large public library, and several others) we did
an interlibrary loan cost study using the criteria used for the study
below. The low figure was $5.-$6. up to $11.-$12., rather than the $19.
cited below.
The costs vary depending upon what salaries are paid, how work for
interlibrary loan is assigned, what equipment is maintained by the ILL
department, and a range of other variables. If higher paid staff does
a higher percentage of routine ILL processing, for example, the net
cost to borrow a book goes up. If the ILL department shares a fax
machine with the rest of the library, the cost is lower than if the ILL dept.
has their own fax, etc.etc.
As for adding in the cost for processing by the lending library, I'm not
sure that this is really fair, since it is already factored in by adding
the invoice from the the lending library to the borrowing charge above.
A library may borrow 50% or more from free suppliers, rather than charging
libraries, which is another variable in the cost to borrow on ILL.
All respects to the work of the study quoted, please do not assume
it is engraved in stone; it is etched in pencil.

-Beverly B. Stafford, ILL Librarian, Lewis and Clark College Library
Portland, OR

On Fri, 18 Jun 1993, Elaine Brennan wrote:

> 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
> private).
> 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