Oh My! Connecting Users to What They Want – NORDILL 2016 conference in Copenhagen, Denmark

*This is a posting from a DDRS Standing Committee member, Jarmo Saarti from the University of Eastern Finland Library. And the picttures from the event are available through the twitter hashtag #nordill2016.

The NORDILL conference about the interlending and resource sharing in the Nordic countries, was held for the 12th time, this time the venue of the conference was Copenhagen. The conferences so far have noticed a rapid change from speaking about interlending towards discussing about sharing our resources in the digital world and about the new challenges and possibilities for the access and the joint use of documented science.

The new digital environment has created a wealth of opportunities to acquire and to find materials that were prior to digitizing bound to one place. At the same time the trend is in that the easily available digital documents are found by the users themselves – interlending services have been focusing on the hard cases where users need specialists that can them help in acquiring documents that are difficult to obtain or locate.

Towards the joint use of digital data and documents

Open access is becoming even more up-to-date theme and also a hot topic outside the library and information services community. The political pressures for quick and easy, as well as, affordable access have risen during the past decade. At the same time the needs and the possibilities to publish openly have increased. When academics do publish openly, they can get more visibility and readers for their work, this fact has also been a promotional fact for the open publishing. Thus one can ask crucial question already: if within a few years most of the scientific publications will be openly available, what would be the role of academic libraries in the world?

Open access as well as long-term storage raise the question of responsibilities: who is doing what and what the role of libraries will be in the future. The customer does not care where he or she gets the information needed as easily as possible.

Interlibrary loaning trends

Katie Birch from the OCLC emphasized the harmonization of information systems and practices relating to the practices within the interlending community globally. According to her, it is important that libraries and their information systems integrate with the information technology eco-systems that are used by users especially in the academic community. The change towards mobile information technology and related appliqué including payment software and access to the documented information in everyday life, requires libraries to develop their own systems so that they appear similar and provide equivalent services to the mobile application world.

The same trends appeared in the Subito’s presentation. Claudia Langer said that based on their findings the interlibrary loan of articles is clearly declining – approximately 15 – 20% per annum. One reason for this may be the growth of e-resources and the restrictions to their interlibrary loan use. On the other hand, the interlibrary use of books is growing in their system.

Also Subito is developing information systems towards a more user-friendly fashion. The biggest opportunity Langer saw, is the increase in the use of digital material. Subito has agreed with a number of publishers about a possibility of borrowing the digital material and the process of negotiating agreements to expand opportunities for interlending these materials is on-going globally.

Digital collections as a new common resource

During the conference one heard a number of speeches, that proposed that the different types of digitization projects and networks of researchers are increasing rapidly the availability of the scientific documents and data. The discussions highlighted the fact, that are the libraries marketing and using these resources efficiently: are the library information systems locating also this type of documents that are freely available in the Internet? This change towards the digital resource sharing was also reflected in the remote service report that was presented at the conference.

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