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    Borrowing Requests

    How does Alma manage borrowing requests?

    Resource Sharing Requests” is the general Alma term for all forms of inventory sharing among institutions, including sharing formats also known as Inter Library Loan, (Direct) Consortial Borrowing, and Reciprocal Borrowing, all of which involve a patron of one institution receiving fulfillment services from another institution.
    Alma’s supports two basic options for resource sharing:
    • Via external systems as a direct or mediated service. This includes systems such as WorldCat Navigator, ILLiad and Relais D2D.  When applicable, NCIP messages are used in order to automate the integration as much as possible.
    • Alma manages all aspects of the resource sharing request-related transactions between the resource sharing partners, and the internal library process that supports the resource sharing lifecycle.
    As an implementation of Alma’s standards based design, Alma manages resource sharing communications in a variety of standards, such as (in addition to simple email communication):
    • ISO ILL
    • British Library ARTEMail
    • NCIP
    Alma supports two basic modes of Resource Sharing:
    • Via external systems as a direct or mediated service.
      • In this mode, the external system manages the request for its full cycle, at both lender and borrower sides of the lifecycle. Alma will manage the internal library processes that support the ILL workflow. This includes the following:
        • Moving physical items from lender to borrower side;
        • Digitizing material at lender side;
        • Receiving material at the borrower side and placing it on the hold shelf for the patron to collect and loaning out to the patron; and
        • Checking the item back in from the patron, and shipping the item back to the original lending institution.
    • Alma manages all aspects of the resource sharing request-related transactions between the resource sharing partners, and the internal library process that support the resource sharing lifecycle.
      • In this mode, Alma manages both the resource sharing request-related transactions between the resource sharing partners, and the internal library process that supports the resource sharing lifecycle. 
        • Communications with resource sharing systems is based on library standards such as IPIG ISO communications, NCIP messages, BL ARTEMail formats, etc.
        • Searching for potential suppliers is based on Z39.50 metadata and holdings searches.
    Alma’s resource sharing functions suite, being based on standards, is not affected by whether the participating parties share systems, as long as they are able to use standards for communication.
    Alma’s Integration Profiles platform enables fine tuning of standard protocols usage to match the specific usage that is required by the integrating party. Therefore, any ILS system that supports protocols such as NCIP may integrate with Alma using the standard as tailored via the integration profile.
    As mentioned, Resource Sharing can be either mediated, or non-mediated. Another way of describing this is as follows:
    • Loan to institution
      • In this mode, the lending library lends its material to the requester’s institution. The loan is managed as classic ILL, with communications and responsibilities being shared between the institutions, and with each institution managing its own patrons internally. The resource sharing communication in this mode is standards based, for example using ISO ILL transactions.
    • Loan to requester
      • In this mode the lending library lends directly to an authenticated patron of another institution.
      • Utilizing NCIP messages the lending library may create and manage a temporary patron record, directly managing the borrower as if a patron of its own institution.
      • A link to the temporary patron’s affiliated institution is maintained, enabling the resolving of issues also via the patron’s home institution.
      • The resource sharing communication in this mode is standards based, for example using NCIP messaging.
    A number of options allow for different resource sharing ‘flavors’ in Alma:
    Partial Management of the Request:  The diagram below shows how external systems communicate resource sharing requests, while notifying Alma about actions that require supporting library processes. The supporting library processes are managed in Alma.
    The processes managed in Alma may include such processes as:
    • Fetching the items from shelf
    • Moving arrived items to the requested pickup location
    • Checking the arrived items out to the requesting patrons/li>
    • Checking the items back in from the requesting patron
    In this model, Alma integrates with the external systems via NCIP (version 2.0) messages, such as:
    • LookupUser
    • RequestItem
    • CheckOutItem
    • CheckInItem
    • AcceptItem
    External supported systems include:
    • ILLiad
    • Relais D2D
    • OCLC Navigator (NRE)
    In addition Alma pushes requests into the external systems, based on their integration capabilities. For example, requested metadata is pushed into ILLiad via an OpenURL.
    Full Management of the Request: Not only managing the internal library processes, but also the communications with the non-network partners.
    This includes managing the request’s potential suppliers and managing the ILL communications protocols, such as ISO communications and others.  The diagram below illustrates how Alma directly communicates with resource sharing systems:

    How is a typical borrowing request workflow processed?

    Staff users responsible for Resource Sharing Request management need to interact with the system to provide the requested resource to the requesting patron. As with other areas of the system, authorized staff can manage borrowing requests using a dedicated task list.
    By clicking on the hypertext link ‘New Borrowing Requests with no partner’ the staff user will navigate to the Resource Sharing Borrowing Requests list; alternately the staff user can access the list from the Alma menu. Requests can be edited – e.g. adding a Resource Sharing partner and other relevant information.
    Managing the potential suppliers for a request is done in three tiers:
    • Each institution defines profiles of target institution rotas. Each such rota is an ordered or non-ordered list of potential suppliers.
      • The rota will be used as a list of targets to request from, one at a time.
      • Different rotas may be used for different purposes. For example, an institution may set up a ‘quick to respond’ rota, an ‘expensive but likely to fulfill’ rota or an ‘ematerial experts’ rota.
      • Institutional rules as well as manual operations may be used to attach a specific rota to a specific request.
    • The suppliers on a rota are checked to see whether they own relevant holdings. Potential suppliers will be contacted only if they appear to own relevant holdings
    • The request letter to the supplier:
    At all stages of the request workflow, the staff user and the patron (via My Account in Primo) is able to see the status of the request:
    Receiving the Item
    Once an item is received and loaned to the patron, it is considered as a standard loan by the system. Due date notices will be automatically sent when the item is due, and overdue/lost item notices will be sent as per library policies.
    When physical items are received in Alma, a temporary bibliographic and item record is created.
    The bibliographic record is created as a suppressed record and is not published to the discovery interface. The item is temporarily owned by the receiving Resource Sharing department. Being an independent unit within the institution, the Resource Sharing library’s fulfillment terms of use will apply to the temporary item. The entire fulfillment lifecycle of the item is managed using standard Alma fulfillment procedures, including:
    • Setting up loans and the loans’ terms of use
    • Managing the loans, in terms of overdue/courtesy notices
    • Allowing return of the item at all desks, or at designated desks
    Creating the temporary item, including assigning of temporary barcode to the item, may be done manually in Alma at time of receipt, or automatically via the NCIP AcceptItem message.
    The item barcode is scanned in. Resource Sharing staff may immediately place it on a hold shelf, or move it to another requested hold shelf, as per the received request’s attributes.
    An email is sent to the patron notifying him/her that the requested item is waiting for pickup.
    The item will be loaned to the patron and will be integrated into the patron’s list of loans.
    Due Dates
    When making a shipment, the lender may specify a due date by which the item is expected to be returned back by the borrower. The due date may be automatically set at shipping time based on predefined rules or manually set by the lender. The due date is automatically communicated to the borrower in the ISO message, and is then automatically used by the system on the borrower side to set the patron’s due date.
    An additional ‘delivery time’ offset may be set by the borrower to make sure the patron returns the item in time for the library to ship the item back to the lender before the due date deadline.
    Last interest dates may also be set by the patron on the borrower side. These dates will affect the process of expiring the request if the last interest date deadline cannot be met.
    Renewing Resource Sharing Loans
    Patrons can directly request extension of a resource sharing request in the same way as they would renew items out on loan in their home library (based, on the option being allowed by the source library).
    Alternately library staff may request an extension on behalf of a patron.
    When the lender replies with a ‘renew accepted’ message, the new due date is automatically communicated to the borrower via the ISO protocol, and the due date is updated on the borrower side. If the lender rejects the renew request, this is also communicated via the ISO protocol to the borrower.
    Returning the Item
    When the patron returns the item a popup message will display indicating to staff that the item needs to be returned to the owning library:
    The record for this item in Resource Sharing indicates that it has been returned to the Resource Sharing partner and the temporary record created when the item was received is deleted from the repository.

    What general circulation options are available for borrowing requests?

    For Resource Sharing/Interlibrary loans Alma supports (dependent if an item is returnable or non-returnable (e.g. photo copies)):

    • Approval Notifications
    • Renewals (automatic and manual)
    • Recalls
    • Overdue
    • Cancellations/Rejections
    • General Messages

    Can unfulfilled hold requests be automatically converted to resource sharing requests?

    Alma supports configuring an automatic conversion of unfulfilled hold and patron digitization requests into resource sharing requests. A parameter in the Requests Terms of Use policies allows for defining whether a hold request will be converted to a resource sharing request:
    A hold request cancelation letter with the reason 'Converted to Resource Sharing Request' is sent to the patron when a hold request is converted to a resource sharing request.

    How may patrons place a resource sharing request?

    Resource Sharing requests may be placed in a number of ways: Following a search in the Discovery Interface, a list of fulfillment services will be presented for a record, based on an OpenURL that is sent from the discovery interface to Alma.
    If no local fulfillment options exist, a resource sharing option will be presented. This might be from an external system or for a mediated service to be managed from Alma. Choosing this option will open a request form that is pre-populated with the discovered metadata. Additional information such as chapter or pages can be added as well as the required format, pickup location not needed after date and more. (The option for requesting an item from Resource Sharing for an item that exists in the library but is not currently available is dependent on library configurable definitions.)
    If the desired resource is not found in Alma, the patron may submit freely typed in metadata into an OpenURL enabled form (the Primo Citation Linker). In response to the received OpenURL, Alma will reply a services page listing any service that might be available for the requested record. If no local fulfillment options exist, a resource sharing option will be presented.
    In the case of a mediated request a form will open pre-populated with the discovered metadata as described above: A blank form may be submitted from Primo. This allows the patron to directly submit a request for freely typed in metadata, without conducting any pre-searching.
    Locally created and customized web forms may make use of Alma APIs to directly place a request into Alma. Additionally, staff may create a request from Alma:
    Whichever method is used, the patron will be able to clearly see the Resource Sharing request integrated in the list of items on request from their My Account page in Primo:
    borr3ux.png
    Staff users responsible for Resource Sharing Request management need to interact with the system to provide the requested resource to the requesting patron. As with other areas of the system, authorized staff can manage borrowing requests using a dedicated task list.
    borr1ux.png
    By clicking on the hypertext link ‘New Borrowing Requests with no partner’ the staff user will navigate to the Resource Sharing Borrowing Requests list; alternately the staff user can access the list from the Alma menu. Requests can be edited – e.g. adding a Resource Sharing partner and other relevant information.

    How are requests processed by staff?

    Borrowing requests have a dedicated page in Alma, under the fulfillment menu. The staff member can use facets on the left side of the screen to filter to specific set of requests and also use the search box to find specific items:

    borr13ux.png

    Requests can be worked on one-by-one and also using the check-box next to each item, multiple requests can be selected and processed in a similar way using the dropdown menu at the bottom of the page:
    At any point the staff member can view each request status as well as alerts and manage the various fulfillment options, including shipping or receiving the item. The information is updated in real-time and is also available in the Primo interface for the patron to view.

    How is copyright compliance dealt with if library staff create the ILL request?

    When a request is created by the staff a message may be triggered to the patron requesting a reply to consent to terms. The request may be stopped from further processing until this consent is received.

    Are temporary circulation records created for incoming ILL items?

    When physical items from a partner are received in Alma, a full temporary item is created, from the bibliographic description down to the holdings record and the physical item.
    • The bibliographic record is created as a suppressed record and is not published to the discovery interface (as can be seen in the following screen capture):
    • The item is temporarily owned by the receiving ILL department. Being an independent organization unit within the institution, the resource sharing library is where the fulfillment terms of use that apply to the temporary item will be set. The entire fulfillment lifecycle of the item is managed using standard Alma fulfillment procedures, including:
      • Setting up loans and the loans’ terms of use
      • Managing the loans, in terms of overdue/courtesy notices
      • Allowing return of the item at all desks, or at designated desks
    Creating the temporary item, including assigning of the temporary barcode to the item, may be done manually in Alma at receive time, or automatically via the NCIP AcceptItem message.
    • When the item is shipped back to its owning institution, the entire item gets deleted, from the bibliographic record down to the physical item

     

    How does Alma handle barcodes from other institutions for ILL?

    When physical ILL items are received in Alma, a temporary bibliographic and item record is created. Creating the temporary item, including assigning of temporary barcode to the item, may be done manually in Alma at time of receipt, or automatically via the NCIP AcceptItem message.

    Can patrons or staff cancel requests?

    From an end user perspective, there is no difference between a regular resource request and a resource sharing request. From a system and staff user perspective these involve different workflows and costs. Alma is able to transform one type into the other, based on the situation and institutional policies.
    At request placement time, Alma identifies if the requested material has self-owned inventory that can fulfill it. In that case, Alma is able to transform the more complex (and expensive) resource sharing request into an institutional, patron initiated, resource request. This depends on:
    • The Primo 'My Account' provides users with the ability to view current requests and cancel requests.
    • In Alma ILL/digitization requests may be canceled or changed as long as they are not transmitted.
    When Alma acts as the owner of the request, it’s communications with the peer potential supplier can done with ARTEmails, which allows to cancel a request on a waiting list or ISO ILL, which allows cancel requests as well. If the ILL/document delivery is based on emails this has to be agreed with the peer supplier. 

    Can certain item types be defined as unavailable for resource sharing?

    It is possible to configure an item policy exception that indicates that the item should not be shipped for a resource sharing request. An item policy can be set to either True or False. Setting the policy to True will create the item policy exception, which means it will be unavailable for resource sharing. Setting the item policy exception to False means that no exception will be created and the item will continue to be available for resource sharing.

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