News from Social Sciences & Humanities: How to speed up Interlibrary Loan Requests

Oct 14, 2015 · Jeffrey Kushkowski

At some point while at Iowa State, you?ll discover that a needed item isn?t owned by or is checked out from the library. If this happens, locate the item through the Library?s Interlibrary Loan (ILL) request form, and it will obtained from another library. If you request a book, you?ll get the physical item; request a journal article and receive a scanned copy of the article. The service is free, fast, and provides access to thousands of items not available at Iowa State.

Speed up your interlibrary loan request by adding any one of three identifiers; the ISSN, ISBN, or OCLC number to the request. ?Each of these numbers uniquely identifies library materials. ISSNs identify journals, ISBNs identify books, and OCLC numbers identify either in WorldCat, a national database of library materials.

How does ILL work? Think of the interlibrary loan system a large bulletin board filled with Post-it notes, where each note is an item request. As libraries scan this bulletin board, they pull down requests that they can provide and then send the material to Iowa State. Requests are filled by the library that can satisfy the request the fastest. Requests with an ISSN, ISBN, or OCLC number go directly to the bulletin board and are available for lending libraries to view more quickly.

So how do I find these numbers?? The easiest way to find the OCLC number is to search WorldCat. At the library homepage, locate the Research Tools & Collections tab, Find and WorldCat or connect via

Search for the desired book or journal name and click on the record for the item. The OCLC number is near the bottom of the record in a field labeled Accession No. For article requests, it?s important to remember to search for the title of the journal in OCLC and not the article title. ISSN and ISBN numbers are available in OCLC, but there are other places to find them: publisher websites, journal homepages, and

I?ve found the number, what do I do now? Once the number that identifies item is located, add it to your interlibrary loan request. There are fields in the ILL request form to add an ISBN/ ISSN. There is a field to add an OCLC number. Sit back and wait for the item to arrive!

How fast will it get here? Books generally take three to four days, but some journal articles have been known to arrive in as quickly as three hours!