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Interlibrary Loan

how does interlibrary loan work

Interlibrary loan is a reciprocal lending service through which the CIIS Library obtains materials from other libraries for use by CIIS students, staff and faculty.

Normally, Interlibrary Loan is only for materials not present in the CIIS Library collections .

If you want to obtain materials from other libraries through ILL, you can request them by creating and logging in to your ILL account. Please see our list of Frequently Asked Questions below regarding Interlibrary Loan Policies before creating your account.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Interlibrary Loan & Privileges

Getting Started with Interlibrary Loan

How do I know that Interlibrary Loan is the best way to get a book?

(Steps to take before requesting a book)

Interlibrary Loan book requests should be submitted after checking for the item in the CIIS Library catalog as well as your local public library's catalog. In short, if there's an easier, quicker way to get the book, check there first, for your own benefit, as well as ours.

How do I know that Interlibrary Loan is the best way to get a journal article?

(Steps to take before requesting an article)

Similar to books, you should check to make sure that the CIIS Library (and your local public library) doesn't already own or have access to the journal article you want before requesting it through ILL. Searching for articles in journals available at CIIS is a bit different than books, we recommend getting assistance with learning how to search for journal articles by making an appointment with one of our Reference Librarians. You can also use Serials Solutions. a comprehensive list of CIIS print and online journal holdings that you can search by journal title. If you don't see the issue containing the article you want in the CIIS holdings, and your local public library doesn't have it, put in an ILL request for it.

Can I use Interlibrary loan to get required readings for my classes?

Interlibrary Loan cannot be used for required readings. Your required readings may be on reserve at the CIIS Library, and others may be available for sale at the InnerLight bookstore.

How do I fill out an ILL request?

**It is very important that you put the correct citation information in your request to ensure that your request is quickly and accurately filled.** The Library offers resources on writing & citations on its Web site. Fill in as many of the fields on the request form as you can to speed up the processing; at the very minimum you must fill in the fields labeled "required". Information like date published and ISBN can often be found on book publishers' Web sites or on If you'd like further assistance on citations, you can e-mail askref [at] ciis [dot] edu or make an appointment with a Reference Librarian. Sometimes we get ILL requests that lending libraries cannot fill due to incorrect citations, which means we have to cancel the requests and patrons have to resubmit them with correct citations.

Note: If you click through ProQuest or another database Web site that automatically fills out the ILL request form for you, PLEASE double-check the accuracy of the citation BEFORE you submit. ProQuest does NOT always correctly autofill the ILL form, and we have to cancel requests that are improperly cited.

How many requests can I submit?

Each patron can submit 10 ILL requests per week. If you submit more, we will process the rest the following week, in the order they were submitted. We strive to provide prompt service to all of our patrons, and in order to ensure that everyone's requests are going through in a timely manner, we need to limit the number of requests we process per person per week.

When should I set a MaxCost higher than $0?

Many materials requested through interlibrary loan are available free of charge from reciprocal lending libraries. However, not all materials are available for free and if you know that there is an item that you would be willing to pay for, especially if it is an obscure, out-of-print, or foreign language book or an article from a minor, out-of-print or foreign journal, please set the MaxCost higher than $0 in order to optimize processing time. We will always make every effort to obtain material for free, regardless of the MaxCost set when you submit the request.

Invoices for materials you elect to pay for are posted on your library Koha account when we receive the invoice from the lending library. You can pay it by cash, check or credit card in person in the Library Office or by calling 415-575-6184.

How many items can I have checked out at a time?

Each patron may have a maximum of 10 physical loan items - including books, dissertations, and A/V materials - checked out at a time. This does not include photocopies of book chapters or articles. There is no limit to number of articles checked out at a time, but see above policy for limitations on requests you can submit per week.

How does copyright affect my Interlibrary Loan requests?

Due to copyright restrictions that the Library is bound to, we cannot fill requests for:

  1. More than one article from the same journal issue at once. Note: You may request articles from the same volume at the same time, as long as they are not in the same issue (example: journal – Dreaming, year - 2003: vol. 13, no. 4, pages 193-209; vol. 13, no. 1, pages 3-12).

If you need more than one article from a journal issue, consider your options for accessing the entire issue - check other local libraries, or consider purchasing it.

  • More than one chapter from the same book at once.

    If you need several chapters from a book, consider requesting the entire book.

  • The Interlibrary Loan Borrowing Process

    Where do I pick up my Interlibrary Loan item?

    Books and A/V materials can be checked out from the Circulation Desk during Library hours. Please be ready to show your CIIS ID to the Circulation staff.

    Articles are delivered electronically to your ILL account. To access an article click on "Electronically Received Articles" under "View" then click on the PDF icon to open the document. The article will be accessible for you to read and download for 30 days after it is sent to your account.

    How can I check the status of my request?

    There is a "View Outstanding Requestss" section accessible in your ILL account. which can be accessed from the home page. If you have further questions, you can contact ILL staff at ill [at] ciis [dot] edu, or (415) 575-6186.

    How can I renew Interlibrary Loan materials?

    There is a "View" heading of

    the left sidebar section of your ILL account. click "Checked Out Items". Then click on the transaction number of the item you want to renew. On the individual item's transaction page, click "Renew Request" at the very top. Clicking Renew does not automatically renew the item. The renewal request gets submitted to the lending library, which will either accept or reject the renewal request. There is a chance that the lending library will recall an item even if it seems like the renewal was accepted by the system. If that happens, you will receive a loan recall e-mail, in which case you should return the book by its original due date. If the renewal is approved, we will send you an e-mail with the new due date. You can also log back in to your ILL account a few days after you request a renewal and the new due date will be reflected in the transaction details.

    Please note that our system does not automatically generate due date reminder e-mails. It is your responsibility to keep track of your items' due dates and renew them before the initial due date.

    Fees, Overdues & Fines

    Do I have to pay for ILL materials?

    While we do our best to obtain Interlibrary Loan materials for free, very occasionally there is a fee from the lending library which patrons are responsible for paying. The CIIS Library has no control over lending libraries' charges. Most often, fees are associated with articles and dissertations. Some lenders charge fees for lending the actual items, usually between $5 and $20, and some lenders charge similar fees for photocopies. If the requested material is older than five years, it may be held on microfilm, which is more expensive to copy than standard sources.

    When you submit a request, you can designate on the form (in the "MaxCost" field) whether you wish to authorize the Library to obtain items that may have an associated fee, or whether you only want items if they are free of charge. The Library will respect the cost parameters indicated; if it would cost more than MaxCost indicated in the request to obtain the item, we will contact patrons to get permission before going further. Payment is due when items are picked up at the Library's Circulation Desk, and can be made through check, cash, or credit card.

    Please note that the CIIS Library gets charged fees when the item is ordered from the lending library, regardless of whether you actually pick it up. If you do not end up picking up your item, you will still be held responsible for paying associated fees.

    If there is a fee for an item that is delivered electronically or mailed to a distance student (articles/ chapters only), it will be applied to your Koha Library account (CIIS Library Account) when it is delivered. Please note that outstanding fees of $10 or more in your Library account will block you from being able to check out CIIS Library materials.

    What is the policy for overdue Interlibrary Loan items?

    As of Spring Semester 2013 the Overdue Policy for Interlibrary Loan is:

    Overdue notices are sent daily via email. After an item has been overdue for seven days, your ILL account will begin to accrue a $5 per week fine for each late ILL item. After an item has been overdue for three weeks, in addition to the $5 per week fees, your ILLiad account will be blocked and you will not be able to request materials through ILL until you return your overdue item(s). Your CIIS Library account will also be blocked and you will not be able to check out books from the CIIS Library until you return your ILL books.

    What is the policy for lost Interlibrary Loan items?

    If an ILL item is lost, you will be billed the replacement cost that will be determined by the lending library. Please note that unlike the library policy for replacement of a lost item, ILL does not accept physical copy replacements.

    How do I pay my fees or overdue and lost fines?

    Fees and fines are posted on your library Koha account. You can pay by cash, check or credit card in person in the Library Office or by calling 415-575-6184.

    Using your Illiad Account

    How do I log in to the Illiad system?

    From the ILL login page. new users can click the "First Time Users" link below the logon boxes, where you will be directed to read information about choosing a username and password, copyright, and Illiad FAQ, after which you can register by clicking the button labeled "First Time Users Click Here". On the next screen you will create your account by entering your name, CIIS ID number, contact information, username and password. Your account will be created once you click the "Submit Information" button, at which point you'll be able to access a home screen from which you can submit and review requests and review/update your registration information.

    Why do I need a username and password to use this system?

    Your username and password allows us to give you secure access to information about your interlibrary loan requests. We can also enable you to edit your personal information such as your address or phone number.

    Your username can be anything you like, such as your name, abbreviations, or an alphanumeric code. Your password also can be anything you like. We recommend that you follow good security practice and choose a password that is different from those you use to access other systems. However, no one but you will know your password, not even the Library staff. The password you set is stored in an encrypted file.

    What if I forget my password?

    In the event that you forget your password, on the ILL log-in page click on "Forgot Password?" and you will be able to reset it. If you have problems, call (415) 575-6186 or send e-mail to ill [at] ciis [dot] edu.

    Alternatives to Interlibrary Loan

    (Other ways to get materials that aren't in the CIIS Library collection)
    • SF Bay Area Libraries

    A nearby library may have the item you want. Check the local academic and public libraries in the Bay Area. Many public libraries offer great Interlibrary Loan services and/or Link+. which might be faster or more convenient than our services.

    CIIS students, staff and faculty may borrow items directly from NCCPL member libraries.

    Use LibDex to find library catalogs online by location or institution throughout the world.

    Try also using WorldCat, which searches the contents of thousands of libraries simultaneously.

    If you are in a rush, a commercial document delivery service (you pay for their services) such as Ingenta or Infotrieve, may be able to help.

    Information for Other Libraries

    Category: Credit

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