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The IDS Project

The IDS Project was born out of the frustration of twelve New York State academic library directors who admitted to each other that there were only two choices for 21st century libraries: 1) to radically change the way they do business with each other or 2) to accept the fact that they would fail to meet the needs of current and future library users. The mission of the IDS Project is to advance the sharing of library resources through collaboration, innovation, and efficiency. The major goal of the Project is to continually implement and objectively evaluate innovative resource-sharing strategies, policies and procedures that will optimize mutual access to the information resources of all IDS Project libraries.

Developed and maintained at the State University of New York at Geneseo, the IDS Project is an openly-shared, multifaceted, resource-sharing management system that provides its members with a platform from which to efficiently and effectively maximize mutual, speedy access to each others’ holdings as well as to resources outside the system. Although OCLC’s ILLiad™ Interlibrary Loan (ILL) software provides the request management framework for the Project, the IDS Project is a collaborative librarian and staff effort to solve real problems. Based on a unified community of trust & support, IDS Project libraries abide by the maxim that "my library is your library and your library is my library." Sharing best practices, the IDS Project has created a unique and nationally recognized innovative and high-performance resource sharing network that provides a high quality alternative to the high cost, commercially available systems.

While participation is voluntary, members commit to meeting contractual performance standards based on a user-centric definition of an interlibrary loan transaction as, "from the time the user places a request until the time the user is notified the loan is ready for pickup or the article is ready to be retrieved from the Web." The standards for delivery are to complete article transactions within 48 hours and loans within 72 hours (excluding holidays and weekends). To date, the IDS Project has over 70 member academic, special, and public libraries including the New York State Library and the New York Public Library. Libraries and library consortia from several other states have expressed interest in one or more of the components of the IDS Project. The IDS Project is committed to providing improvements to the entire resource sharing community through the ongoing development and sharing of innovative tools and promotion of best practices.

KUDOS: The IDS Project received national recognition when it was named a 2008 Innovation Award winner by the Rethinking Resource Sharing Initiative for "Creating a Highly-effective & Innovative Resource Sharing System."

KUDOS: Ed Rivenburgh, representing the IDS Project, was awarded the Virginia Boucher/OCLC Distinguished Librarian Award by The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) and the American Library Association (ALA) in June of 2011.

Four Innovative Components of the IDS Project

1. The Workflow Toolkit - a wiki at https://toolkit.idsproject.org

The Workflow Toolkit is designed and updated regularly to help libraries adopt best practices to get the most out of ILLiad. It helps member libraries and potentially over 1,100 other ILLiad libraries by decreasing staff time spent processing requests and by increasing the efficiency of workflows in general. It can also save libraries money by reducing borrowing and lending costs as well as through better use of staff time, equipment, and supplies. It also serves users by improving turnaround times.

The Toolkit is organized by ILLiad workflows; Borrowing, Lending, and Document Delivery. Each Workflow section is broken down into the primary steps, and each step connects the user to the relevant documentation & video tutorials and then lists the Workflow Tools that apply. This allows users to learn the basics from videos and then implement the workflow tools they want to use. Updates to the Toolkit are syndicated, and users can easily find out when new tips are added or changed. The Toolkit is free for member or non-member library use. Harvard University Libraries, as well as, library consortia such as BCR, WILS, etc., and vendors such as Atlas Systems, Inc. have incorporated the Workflow Toolkit into their documentation and training.


2. Transaction Performance Analysis Module (TPAM) https://www.idsproject.org/Tools/TPAM.aspx

The IDS Project promotes cooperation through mutual accountability. "Trust but verify" is the guideline. In order to accomplish this, the TPAM is used for extensive data analysis that serves as a basis for informed decision-making. It queries transaction data from each IDS Project library’s ILLiad server and creates graphical displays useful for understanding and analyzing each step of the entire ILL transaction as an individual library or network of libraries.

The TPAM compiles the data to show overall effectiveness in meeting the performance time standards for all Project libraries or for any pair of libraries. Unique hierarchically-linked charts and tables enable IDS members to easily determine internal operational changes necessary to meet the standards and diagnose problems across the system. The data can be displayed at several levels, from Project performance overview level, to individual transaction details between two libraries.

Besides IDS Project libraries, TPAM is also currently being used by other library networks, including the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL), KUDZU, and USMAI (Maryland).


3. Article License Information Availability Service (ALIAS)

Working with Atlas Systems, the IDS Project has developed a service that allows ILLiad to perform unmediated article request processing. ALIAS is able to construct a lender string and send article requests straight to OCLC free up an average of 10 to 20 hours of processing time and decrease the turnaround time for article requests—especially since ALIAS is a unique system that promotes electronic over print holdings. ALIAS also performs load leveling, which is similar to a couple of commercially available systems that charge thousands per library for unmediated article requesting. Unlike any other system, ALIAS uses a generic licensing management system developed at SUNY Geneseo, now maintained by member libraries.

For the month of July 2009, 973 requests were processed by ALIAS, over 50% of all article requests were completed within 24 hours. Project wide, there was a 15% improvement in turnaround times. The estimated reduction in workload, assuming 5 minutes saved per article, was 81 hours across the project.

OCLC, a cooperative of over 71,000 libraries, has partnered with the IDS Project to help develop its version of unmediated article requesting, and hopes to bring their system online in the next year.


4. The Getting It System Toolkit (GIST) https://www.gistlibrary.org/

GIST is an innovative system that expands information supplier options and metadata for users and libraries.

GIST links users to useful information and services for accessing books or media (Amazon reviews, purchase options, open access full text, download an audio book, or traditional Interlibrary Loan). GIST consolidates request interfaces, reducing user confusion and enhancing the user request experience.

For libraries, GIST merges and streamlines the Acquisitions and ILL request workflows using ILLiad and enhances informed decision making, such as coordinated collection development. The library collections model is moving from just-in-case to just-in-time selection because speculative selection is not effective.

GIST version 1 was released under a creative commons license on August 2009, with a major update of functionality and streamlining of library processes is set for next August.