We’re celebrating a milestone here on the library team; the counter has tipped from 399,999 to 400,000 requests in ILLiad. This means that since 2009, the ILL team at the MSK Medical Library has processed 400k requests for books, articles, standards, dissertations, meeting abstracts, conference papers, tables of contents, and more for researchers at MSK and on the flip side, for libraries all over the world who request items from our collection.
We’ve learned some tricks here and there to fill these requests. One blog [now defunct] referred to our specialization as Forensic Bibliographic Reconstruction and I, for one, take that as a huge compliment. Most requests come to us replete with all the fields filled, others take more research. I’ve seen requests for “The Smith Article from last week” or “Not sure.” Sometimes it can be more of a scavenger hunt or a wild goose chase. We usually get the article in the user’s hands.
We provide this service at no cost to the user, anyone with an MSK email and ID number, and as long as it’s relevant to work done at MSK. We’ve processed requests for physics, psychology, nutrition, medicine, physical therapy, chemistry, administration, HR, etc. But sometimes there are things we just can’t get.
With libraries around the world currently shut down or in various stages of quarantine, getting articles to users has been trickier. We are learning just how many items are only available from the shelves of shuttered libraries. The partnerships and channels of interlibrary loan have become more important than ever.
I’m happy to use this opportunity to announce that ILLiad will soon be getting a new look! The webpages are being redesigned to be easier to use, especially on mobile devices. We’re currently working to make ordering and receiving articles easier for our user community. More details will follow in the coming weeks.