Follow-Up Study on Free Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan Service Demonstrates Customer Satisfaction and Generates Improvements

Kathleen Reed

Abstract


Objective – Texas A&M University Libraries have delivered free documents and interlibrary loans for ten years via the Get it for me service. This study explores whether the needs of customers are being met, areas for improvement, acceptable turnaround times, why some resources are never picked up, preferred format and steps to obtaining resources, places searched before submitting a request, and whether users ever purchased resources after obtaining them through Get it for me.

Design – Online questionnaire.

Setting – Large academic library system located in Texas, United States.

Subjects – Researchers used responses from 735 registered users of the Get it for me service (12% undergraduates, 49% graduate students, 21% faculty, 15% staff, 1% distance education, 2% other).

Methods – The authors emailed all currently registered users of the Get it for me service (n=23,063) inviting them to participate in a survey. The survey ran for two weeks, with no follow-up emails sent.

Main Results – The return rate of 3.18% (n=735/23,063) surpassed the participant goal to achieve a confidence level of 95%, with a confidence interval of 4%. Researchers found that 79% of respondents are satisfied with turnaround time, with 54% of respondents desiring items within three days. Expectations increased with position in the academy. Time is the significant factor in users not retrieving ordered items; items are no longer needed after deadlines pass or other related materials are found. Responses revealed that 55% of users prefer print to e-books, although 70% of participants would accept an e-book version if print is not available. Participants were evenly split between reading documents online and printing them to read offline. About one quarter of respondents bought or suggested that the library purchase an item requested via Get it for me. When participants encountered a problem, 55% of respondents would contact library staff and 45% would check the service FAQ. Of those that contacted staff, there is a 94% satisfaction rate. Overall, 95% of respondents checked the libraries’ online catalogue for availability, 83% looked in e-journal collections, and 74% checked Google or Google Scholar. Get it for me was complimented on its user-friendly interfaces and policies, and the money and time it saves its users. In terms of criticism, users requested better quality scanned documents, longer interlibrary loan times, and a PDF instead of a link when an article is found by staff.

Conclusion – The author concludes that the document delivery and interlibrary loan services delivered by Get it for me are meeting the expectations of users, with 99% of respondents reporting that the Get it for me service meets or somewhat meets their needs. Areas that required improvement were identified and strategies put in place to improve service. This questionnaire can be applied to other libraries to assist them in learning about document delivery and interlibrary loan service users and their expectations.

Keywords


interlibrary loan; academic librarianship; document delivery

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