After spending an entire week working on the Periodicals Renewal List project (phase I), I began the hunt for document delivery suppliers (phase II). The phrase "Document Supply" or "Document Delivery System" is completely new to me, so I've had a lot to learn for this project.
The method of providing articles (document delivery) for patrons is related to Interlibrary Loan (ILL) because information not currently owned by the host institution is made available. Interlibrary Loan is a process to receive borrow books or scanned/photocopied articles from other institutions that own the material. With the rise of databases and electronic resources that are not technically owned by an institution, Document Delivery is necessary to obtain materials that cannot be supplied by another library. This may include something as simple as a single journal article.
The point of this project is to learn more about Document Delivery and then discover what institutions supply documents and how the process works. Of course, it is important to compare costs and coverage (scope) of titles in each Document Delivery system. The other reason for this project is to find if any titles from our Renewal List that are covered in a database with a short embargo can be purchased through a supplier. We will have more confidence in our decision to cancel certain print or e-journal titles if we have access to a decent supplier.
Our confidence in making the decision to cancel print titles that are also covered by a database is rooted in the premise that many [undergrad] students who are learning to research will choose articles with full-text access. If there is an embargo for a periodical in a database, articles from that periodical that fall within the embargo period will not be provided in the search results. Students will not be aware of these articles unless they leave the "Full-Text" limiter unchecked or are looking for a specific article. An article from a periodical that has an embargo will display if it is prior to the embargo period. This means that if a document supplier can be found to provide the article that is within the embargo period, we can cancel the periodical and not have unnecessary duplication. The hope for this decision is to save money by canceling a periodical subscription and making the money available to purchase articles as necessary. If requests to purchase articles are infrequent money will potentially be saved.
Although this project will take several hours and another week or so to complete, I have made at least one interesting discovery. In order to help make the decision of finding a document supplier easier, there exists an article entitled, "Document Delivery - Best Practices and Vendor Scorecard" that can be found here: http://www.swets.com/sites/default/files/outsell_documentdelivery.pdf. This document is from the v. 11 (April 10, 2008) issue of Information Management Service: Briefing, created by Outsell, a syndicated research and advisory firm. For my Document Delivery project I used this resource to discover and evaluate document suppliers that will potentially be used to obtain requested articles. This article is worth the read if you are interested in learning more about Document Delivery.
I will continue working on this project, along with other practicum projects, and will keep you informed as the journey continues!