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Policy Considerations

Use your circulation policies to better manage ILL requests and communicate with your patrons. Circulation policies are set in the WMS Circulation module in OCLC Service Configuration.

Loan Limits (Loan Limit Policy and Loan Limit Matrix)

ILL renewal requests need to be processed through WorldShare ILL. You should consider limiting patrons from renewing items they have on loan via ILL. If you limit patron ILL renewals, you can allow staff to override a renewal after receiving a new date from the ILL department.

In the Loan Limit Matrix, the most restrictive limits that match Patron, Material Format, and Location will be applied to the circulation transaction. It is recommended that you rely upon your existing loan limits, but you should consider creating a “No Renewals” Loan Limit Policy and apply it to all items in the WS ILL holding location in the Loan Limit Matrix.

Edit loan limit policy screen

With these policies in place, Circulation staff will see the Acknowledgement window when attempting to renew the item. If patrons try to renew the item in WorldCat Discovery, they will get an error message indicating that a limit has been reached, and they will not be able to renew the item without staff assistance.

Loan Policies (Loan Policy)

You should consider creating a Loan Policy for ILL items if you want different loan and renewal periods, bills, notifications, and recalls.

Loan periods – The due date for an ILL item is determined by the lending institution. Circulation staff will need to adjust the due date of an item based on your library’s procedures. You may want to establish a typical loan period as a default. For example, you may want to set your Loan Period to 3 weeks if you know from experience that you usually get 4 weeks from the lender.

Bills – Your overdue fines for ILL items may be calculated differently. For example, you may have higher overdue fines as an added incentive to get materials returned on time so that you can get them back to the lending institution. Overdue notifications should mention the item in question is an ILL item.

Recalls – Since the lending institution has the right to recall the item at any time, it is a good idea to include a Recall Notification and expect any recalls to be immediately returned.

Notifications (Notification Policy)

You should consider creating notification policies for ILL items if you want different messaging to go out to patrons when their ILL items are due.

Here is an example of a notification. If you want to add additional notifications, see the Notification 2 and Notification 3, etc. areas.

Edit notification policy

This sample Loan Overdue Notification stresses the importance of returning materials shared through ILL. It also reiterates that you cannot renew ILL items.

Hold Policies (Hold Request Policy and Map, Hold Fulfillment Policy and Map)

There are two hold policies:

  • Hold Request Policy – Determines how long holds remain active in the system (holds expire if they are not fulfilled within the Default Hold Request Period)
  • Hold Fulfillment Policy – Determines how long holds remain on the hold shelf waiting for pickup.

Both policies include notifications, which can help keep your patrons informed of the status of their ILL request and the actions they need to take.

ILL requests follow the same process in circulation as hold requests. Patrons will be notified when their hold expires (the Default Hold Request Period has been met). The Default Hold Request Period for ILL items begins when the ILL request is sent to lenders and lasts until ILL staff mark the item as received from the lender. Depending on the request, it may take several days to weeks to find a lender for the ILL request and get the material.

Since the Hold Request Policy Map does not take into account location, you may want to add some wording to your standard Hold Request Expiration Notification Policy, such as “If you requested an interlibrary loan item, this item is still active in the system and you will be notified when it arrives from the lender. Your ILL request has not been canceled.”

The notifications sent as part of the Hold Fulfillment Policy include the notice sent to patrons when the item has been checked in by Circulation staff and is ready for pickup (Hold Pickup Notification Policy) and the notification sent to patrons who failed to pick up their items (Hold Shelf Expiration Notification Policy).

This table illustrates when hold notifications are sent:

Situation Hold policy and notification policy applied Considerations
Hold request expires before the ILL item is received from the lender

Hold Request Policy

  • Hold Request Expiration Notification Policy
  • The Hold Request Policy Map does not consult location
  • Use standard hold policy
  • Add special wording to notification regarding ILL requests.
Hold request is fulfilled (the ILL item has been received from the lender and is checked in by Circulation staff)

Hold Fulfillment Policy

  • Hold Pick Up Notification
  • Indicate in the Hold Pick Up Notification that the item has been received through ILL
  • Consider fewer days allowed to sit on the hold shelf
  • May want to send a daily reminder until the item is picked up
  • Only one expiration notification is allowed
The patron fails to pick up the ILL item

Hold Fulfillment Policy

  • Hold Shelf Expiration Notification Policy

Final tips and reminders

Think about how to take advantage of the benefits of WorldShare Interlibrary Loan and WorldShare Circulation when considering how to best integrate the modules.

  • The ILL Request ID is a unique number which can serve as the temporary item barcode when marking the item as received from the lender. This creates an easy connection between the system if you need to research the request and its circulation in more detail (including archived requests).
  • Weigh general hold policies with your ILL policies. Consider how you can best balance policies so there will be fewer exceptions during the integration process.
  • Customize notifications so that patrons know the message relates to an outstanding ILL item.
  • Encourage patrons to check My Account in WorldCat Discovery to track their ILL requests via the Holds tab.
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