ILLiad for Medical Libraries

Angela S. Galvan / @galvan_as

The Ohio State University Health Sciences Library

In this presentation...

  • Case study: “Sink or swim” ILLiad administration.
  • Configuring ILLiad & DOCLINE.
  • Embedding library advocacy into ILL.
  • Cultural concerns.

OSU's Health Sciences Library


Lending   10,000
Borrowing   2,500
Document Delivery   2,000


ILL Staff: 1 FTE | Students: 0.5 FTE

Separate network from main campus.
2012: Significant retirement for ILL.

This kind of overhaul doesn't happen without
support, trust, and willingness to try.

Assume everything is possible.

Learning To Swim


  • What is time consuming about our work?
  • Can we automate the boring?
  • Are we duplicating a process/information?
  • What do users experience and how do they speak to us?
  • How do reciprocal partners serve the library?
  • Who doesn't borrow from us?
  • How do we teach ILL?
  • What data would be useful?

Environmental scans

  • Physical workspace
  • User experience
  • Kindness audits
  • Workflows
  • Policy
  • Consortia

Kindness Audits

ILL as virtual branch.

How many times are patrons told NO versus a 'soft' no?

Ask a non-librarian to read an overdue notice.
How does it make them feel?

Read the policies page. Is it written for non-librarians?

Would you want to work here?


  • Get rid of Ariel.
  • Use Article Exchange.
  • Trusted Sender for all libraries.
  • Update constant data.
  • Adjust DOCLINE settings.
  • Configure all.
  • Stop using Notes field to figure out Borrowing.


  • Remove references to patron fees. 
  • Service over systems. 
  • Bridges over demarcation and unhelpful rules. 
  • "Teach to fish" vs "So, this is a fish..." 


  • Evaluate which resource sharing agreements serve the library.
  • Seek existing consortia: local, regional, national. 
  • Creating new agreements where gaps exist. 

Configuring DOCLINE

Loansome Doc

  • Lending webpages can (and should) manage this.
  • Easier (or harder) depending on authentication.
  • Generic accounts can help--to a point.
  • Loansome Doc statistics aren't granular.
  • Outreach at best, legacy system at worst. 


realitieS and challenges

possible strategies

  • Custom flags.
  • Most Unfilled/Most Loaned Journals reports.
  • Compare SERHOLD to OCLC Holdings...this might be an unpleasant, but useful project.


Title Text

Configuring ILLiad

Email routing & custom Queues


Users speak through ILLiad

Beyond request data, users speak the most during Registration.

What are they saying? What are you asking?

Balance your needs with theirs.

Password Recovery



Hospitals run 24/7, calls are for reference and troubleshooting.



 <a href="https://yourILLiadserver/illiad.dll?Action=10&Form=84">Forgot password?</a> 

Cultural Concerns

"We have always done it this way."

...and generalized resistance are other ways of saying

"I am afraid of failure."

This would be fine, except...

the real cost of fear

Borrowing is difficult without any Custom Holdings.
How much time was lost to this workflow?

"But it's only 5 minutes!"

Workflow math:

5 minutes x 20 requests = over 1.5 hours lost.


What else could you have done?


Breaking through resistance requires dismantling fear.





  • Document.
  • Start small.
  • Time/$ as leverage.
  • Incremental change.
  • Ask for a trial period.
  • Data, data, data.
  • Find allies in patrons.
  • Exploit fragility.

Start small means different things depending on skills and access to resources.


Achieving small goals creates motivation.


Try to be patient with yourself.

how do i start?

Finding Help



IDS Project

Nearby ILLiad institutions

Social media

Right now!


"This is great Angela,

but what does it get me?"

600 more Borrowing requests. Reduced article turnaround time by 20 hours. Empowered staff, improved communication, created a more positive work culture by eliminating tedious workflows, and reclaimed 40% of staff working time.




ILLiad for Medical Libraries

By A. Scarlet Galvan

ILLiad for Medical Libraries

ILLiad Conference, 2015

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