Hello all:

Does anyone have specific policies regarding how long or how many ILL
requests they will make before they give up?

I ask because I have been attempting to obtain articles from two journals
for two different patrons for nearly a month now.  My basic
policy--nothing official--is to go through DOCLINE.  If it is refused, I
try again with specific library codes, usually the ones suggested by NLM.
If this request is refused and there is a second code to try, I go there.
If the person is really desperate, I go onto FirstSearch and check for any
other owners throughout the country and fax requests to them, but I know
this is always a long shot since those owners are usually large
universities who have better things to do than to send something to a tiny
library like mine.  As a last resort, I ask this group and I have gotten
some responses (thank you!).  Is this enough?  Am I missing a step
somewhere?  I am new to medical libraries, so feel free to tell me what is
obvious to you.

We do offer to pay up to $10 and I highly doubt my cost-cutting hospital
would approve more.  Is that the problem?  The money?  Or is it our
library size?  We are very, very small and have very little to
reciprocate, though I always loan if I'm asked.

Does anybody have any ideas?  I have tried to tell these two patrons there
is just no way to get these articles, but they keep insisting I try.  Even
when I tell them what I've done, they insist I can do more.  Is there
more?  Or are they just expecting too much?  One woman did work for Loyola
Medical Center, a huge Chicago hospital, at one time, and she is always
making derogatory comments on how things were done better there.  I'm sure
they are, but they also have a ton more money, staff, time, computers,
etc. than we do.

Any comments, ideas, suggestions, etc. would be helpful.  Personal replies
are fine if you think this is of little interest to the group.  By the
way, if you work for a huge institution and have rules about not loaning
to smaller libraries for whatever reason, I'd love to hear from you as

Melissa Hudak    [log in to unmask]
Northern Illinois Medical Center
McHenry, IL 60050