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Q. What's the difference between getting an item from the OHSU library, Summit, and ILL (Interlibrary Loan)?

Answered By: Amanda Woods
Last Updated: Nov 05, 2015     Views: 56

The basic difference between these three ways of requesting items is the scope of the search when searching the catalog. There are also differences in how long it takes to get an item, how many items you can get for free, what kinds of items you can get, how long the checkout period is, and whether the item can be renewed.

The OHSU Library is the first stop when searching for an item. Items owned by the Library are normally readily available, unless checked out or under a special restriction. Students, staff, and faculty are usually able to view electronic holdings or check out physical items without any cost. The duration of the checkout period varies by item type, but most books have a 28-day checkout period and most journals have a week checkout period. Physical items are usually available for renewal up to three times, unless someone else has requested the same item.

Summit is a "consortia of 37 regional academic libraries who reciprocally share their book collections with one another." These items are held by nearby academic libraries. There are many more books available from Summit than from the OHSU Library but they do have to be shipped to OHSU for pickup. This usually takes about 5 days. Summit is a free service for students, staff, and faculty but is limited to only physical items (no eBooks or electronic journals). These items have a 6-week checkout period with no renewals.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a system that allows users access to items owned by libraries throughout the country and even some international libraries. This system has access to a much larger number of titles than OHSU and Summit but it often takes longer to receive the requested items. Students may get 10 free interlibrary loan items per quarter, while staff and faculty may get 10 free items per year. Interlibrary loan provides access to physical items as well as to PDFs of scanned articles. Physical items can take up to 3 weeks to get to OHSU and PDF scans can take up to a week to arrive, but most often physical items arrive within a week or two and PDFs are usually available within 2 business days. Checkout and renewal periods depend on the policies of the lending library, but you can usually check out an item for 2-4 weeks and renew it once.