I don't see any ethical issues with filling or not filling non-work related ILL requests. Some institutions are able to offer unlimited access to ILL as a side benefit to employment or even as a general service available to all validated customers. Many institutions choose for reasons of institutional priorities and funding to restrict ILL access. Both are valid, ethical choices. As for the workload of ILL colleagues in other institutions, in my opinion that is not a valid reason to restrict ILL. If a particular institution chooses not fill an ILL request the customer is free to take that request elsewhere, generally to a school or public library. The workload at the institution that owns the item would be unlikely to change based on the institution that originated the request. Lisa Lisa Olsen Kilburn Information Resources Specialist Southern Regional AHEC 1601 Owen Dr. Fayetteville, NC 28304 910-678-7222 [log in to unmask] >>> Donna Beales <[log in to unmask]> 7/28/2011 10:31 AM >>> Hello, I sent this yesterday (below), but find that in detailing the problem, I neglected to put the emphasis on the *ethical* issues, not the personal ones. Although I greatly appreciate the back-patting, sympathetic response was not my intent in posting. I would be interested to move discussion away from how we personally handle such problems to the bigger picture of the professional ethics involved, and a profession-as-a-whole take on the following, specifically: * The use of ILL services for non-work-related purposes drains dollars and energy from the institution; I feel an ethical duty, and have a managerial obligation, to act in responsible manner to avoid unnecessary expense. I would add that this includes *Federal* programs like Docline. The cost is not merely to my institution, but institutions beyond my own. If you look at this closely, if we all do this "a little bit" the end result is a big drain on resources and what probably amounts to a significant cost. * The use of ILL services for non-work-related purposes adds a burden to my ILL colleagues, and I feel an ethical responsibility to avoid adding to others' workloads for such requests. I don't think this has been well-addressed anywhere. I see nothing about use of Docline for such requests in the Docline policies, unless I missed something, and MLA is also rather silent on the issue. But there is a broader ethical and professional problem here, and it involves not just my institution, but many institutions if the response so far is any indication. Donna Beales, MLIS Lowell General Hospital Health Science Library 295 Varnum Ave. Lowell, MA 01854 Email: dbeales AT lowellgeneral.org http://www.lowellgeneral.org/library Tel. 978-937-6247 Fax 978-937-6855 Thank you for using our services. Tell us how we're doing. <http://www.kwiksurveys.com/online-survey.php?surveyID=BMDHI_cd5c65f1> From: Donna Beales Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 3:04 PM To: 'Medical Libraries Discussion List' Subject: ILL and Ethics This may have been discussed previously, but I don't recall any recent dialogue... I'm interested to hear from colleagues on the issue of ILL requests that are really outside of your institution's purview and policies. Please reply to the list for the benefit of all. Recently, I had a complaint about a refusal to provide ILL services for a non-work-related educational request. I referred the individual back to her school library; I believe at the time I also explained that the request would cost the institution upwards of $45 dollars for ILL fees and copyright clearance. The individual did not approach me in any way to question the refusal; the interchange was so benign in my POV that when the complaint was brought to my attention, I was very surprised, and at first had difficulty remembering the exact circumstance. So far as I recall, I was polite and took time to explain the reason, something I routinely do. I've assisted the person in the past and had what I thought was a good relationship with her. At the time, the person seemed to take in the information and appeared accepting, but left the library and brought the matter to the Director level. I should clarify that I almost never refuse a ILL request from a staff person & will fill it as long as the need is occasional, I have the time, and I can obtain the work for "free." But if a request is going to impact the institution's bottom line, or I just don't have the time to handle it (I was short-staffed for several months during the interchange and handling a CME reaccreditation) that's when I politely refer to a more appropriate venue. I'm thinking of a few examples of the types of ILLs I'm referring to, but I'm sure there are many more: "I need a few articles for my son's/daughter's science fair project..." A staff member begins to order dozens of articles because s/he or a family member has a disease/personal issue. A staff member is in school, but the education is clearly unrelated to their work or the mission of the institution, and they want to use ILL. Clearly, these are issues of good policy writing. One's policies on ILL and document delivery services should clearly spell out the types of requests that are appropriate, and management should buy in to them. My policies are clear that an ILL request must be of a work-related nature; they were put in place because neither budget nor personnel resources are infinite, and my Director was involved in the approval process. The policy has stood for 11 years and has never been challenged. There are several ethical and personal issues as I see them: * The use of ILL services for non-work-related purposes drains dollars and energy from the institution; I feel an ethical duty, and have a managerial obligation, to act in responsible manner to avoid unnecessary expense. * The use of ILL services for non-work-related purposes adds a burden to my ILL colleagues, and I feel an ethical responsibility to avoid adding to others' workloads for such requests. * There is a "feel good" component to this; refusal, no matter how politely stated, runs the risk of engendering bad feelings which in a relatively small environment can impact library marketing. * There are shades of grey here; not every request is so clear-cut, and there are exceptions to every rule. Rules are made to be broken-sometimes. * I explained to the person at the time that the ILL system I would be using to place her request (not Docline) was the same one her school would utilize, probably with quicker turnaround due to system parameters that prioritize certain library types higher than my own. If you have any thoughts on these issues, please do share. I am considering inviting the person who made the complaint to participate in potential revision of policy, but I would like to have collegial feedback to share with my manager as we approach a rewrite. TIA. Donna Beales, MLIS Lowell General Hospital Health Science Library 295 Varnum Ave. Lowell, MA 01854 Email: dbeales AT lowellgeneral.org http://www.lowellgeneral.org/library Tel. 978-937-6247 Fax 978-937-6855 Thank you for using our services. 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