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ILL for e-books: four years of experience - learning to walk
Gillitzer, Berthold
Currently, ILL is sometimes regarded as an old-fashioned standard service of libraries which becomes obsolete through the plenty of information available on the internet. In contrast to that opinion, I want to emphasize that ILL considered as a network of libraries for sharing scarce resources is a very modern concept. Due to the lack of contract clauses or restrictions within existing contract clauses of licensed e-journals or licensed e-books, in the last few years a permanently growing gap within ILL has arisen. More and more documents are not available via ILL and, in consequence, they are not available at all for users needing them urgently. For this reason, the Bavarian State Library and the Bavarian Library Network have since 2013 developed a concept for a solution for this problem. A server for the storing of license information and provision of the respective documents are part of this project as well as the development of appropriate license agreements. While a solution for e-journals is successfully up and running and more than 30% of copies from articles within ILL are provided from e-journals (at least in Bavaria), e-books seem to be a hard nut to crack. There are not any license clauses for ILL at all for e-books in ILL and the modalities for delivery and respective license conditions are controversial between libraries and publishers. The Bavarian State Library started a project to solve these problems together with the Bavarian Library Network. A pilot service has been running successfully since July 2015 and five publishers are cooperating for the test of the conception and first experiences with e-books and ILL. Nevertheless, publisher and holders of rights are sceptical and much work is still to be done until ILL for e-media becomes a regular part of the services provided by libraries. Perhaps international cooperation could be a key to convince the big publishers that a solution for these problems is necessary. The pilot period over the last 4 years shows that the technical solution and the conception are basically successful.
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