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Resource Sharing: Overview

BC ELN facilitates resource sharing services that effectively and efficiently extend, as seamlessly as possible, resources available to British Columbians beyond local collections.

Whenever possible, BC ELN facilitates direct and immediate connecting of partner library patrons with journal articles, books, and other types of resources. This is reflected in database licensing services; fulltext options are preferred wherever they are available and affordable. When patrons begin with metadata (descriptions of the item, rather than item itself, as with library catalogue records and citations in indexing services), they benefit from BC ELN-facilitated linking, searching, requesting and document delivery services. Libraries enjoy considerable efficiencies through centralized coordination of ILL invoicing services and facilitation and development of the resource-sharing network through communication, planning, and policy development.

Linking happens through the GODOT link resolving service. GODOT is part of the open source reSearcher suite of services developed by SFU Library, and an important part of BC ELN history as OJAC, the precursor to GODOT developed by BC ELN, was one of the first services of its type in the world. GODOT automatically coordinates library (and sometimes patron) authentication, searching, fulltext retrieval and item requesting. GODOT is a BC ELN / COPPUL partnership. BC ELN staff provide training and support to BC ELN non-COPPUL libraries.

Searching happens through the OutLook OnLine service and the CUFTS knowledgebase.

Requesting among partner libraries and partner libraries in BC and Western Canada is automated through GODOT and OutLook OnLine. Both systems provide flexibility to allow libraries to prioritize local or special partnerships, and to facilitate load leveling, or prioritizing smaller libraries as lenders to create a more equitable system where borrowers can offset borrowing costs through lending to the greatest extent possible.

Document delivery for journal articles is high-quality and electronic through the Ariel document delivery network. Combined with the outstanding commitment to service by BC partner library staff, documents are generally delivered within two days - and same day service is not unusual. BC ELN coordinated purchase of the Ariel software and scanners at highly advantageous pricing in 2001, and updated in 2005, thanks to special one-time funding through the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, resulting in equitable quality service throughout the province. Affiliate members benefited from highly discounted pricing. The Ariel document delivery service is self-sustaining, as individual libraries take responsibility for ongoing (infrequent) equipment upgrades.

Efficient ILL Invoicing

BC ELN coordinates an annual invoicing cycle for all partner libraries. Each library enters statistics, and one invoice or cheque is issued to each library based on net lending or borrowing. This greatly reduces library and financial workload at each partner library, freeing time to process more requests for patrons.

Resource Sharing Network Development

The resources that are shared do not belong to BC ELN, but rather to partner libraries and the libraries of partnering organizations. BC ELN provides ongoing support to the resource sharing network, including efficient communications on resource-sharing issues, and coordination of policy development. Efficient communications includes both providing information about current and emerging technologies, and listening carefully to libraries regarding local patron needs and workflow issues. Policy development coordination at BC ELN involves providing a neutral point to assist partner libraries to move forward towards policies to provide more resources and better service to patrons, with sensitivity to the impact of policy changes at the local library and assisting with research on the latest in policy trends. BC ELN maintains close relationships with key resource-sharing partners, including BC public libraries (through PLSB), COPPUL, the BC Media Exchange Cooperative, and other libraries across Canada through Library and Archives Canada.