Rethinking the Subscription Paradigm for Journals: Using Interlibrary Loan in Collection Development for Serials

Authors : Gail Perkins Barton, George E. Relyea, Steven A. Knowlton

Many librarians evaluate local Interlibrary Loan (ILL) statistics in order to affect collection development decisions concerning new subscriptions.

In this study, the authors examine whether the number of ILL article requests received in one academic year can predict the use of those same journal titles once added to library resources.

There is little correlation between ILL requests for individual titles and their later use as subscribed titles. However, there is strong correlation between ILL requests within a subject category and later use of subscribed titles in that subject category.

An additional study examining the sources from which patrons made ILL requests shows that database search results, not journal titles, dominate. These results call into question the need for libraries to subscribe to individual journal titles rather than providing access to a broad array of articles.