Effectiveness of Borrowing Ebooks via Interlibrary Loan

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How effective are we at borrowing ebooks via interlibrary loan? This is the driving question when evaluating ebook workflows. The increasing desire to borrow materials electronically is reflected in the increasing numbers of ebook requests made via interlibrary loan (ILL) at UMCP. Ebooks are challenging to borrow due to publisher licensing restrictions as well as software limitations which can lead to low fill rates. In response to the pandemic and an increased necessity for digital over print materials, we established an ebook workflow which included increased decision points and communications with patrons when an ebook could not be borrowed. This new workflow privileged customer service with an offer to request a portion of an item or a number of chapters. This was vital work during the pandemic due to the limitations of physical items. Once the library re-opened we asked ourselves if this workflow was sustainable with the increased staff workload combined with how effectively UMCP can borrow ebooks. Fill rates, displayed via graphs, of ebooks and book chapter requests during FY21 and FY22 were calculated and evaluated quantitatively to determine effectiveness over time according to workflow. Qualitative feedback from a user survey done in April 2022 has results coded and displayed via a chart. These measures combined with an analysis of the workflow, shown via diagrams, demonstrate that borrowing ebooks via ILL is rising in effectiveness. Therefore, returning to the original workflow in managing ebook requests is reasonable and reduces staff workload.