Dear Del ILLa

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Dear Del ILLa answers questions about interlibrary loan issues in the Minitex region. Ask Dear Del ILLa a question and the answer might be posted here!

Who to Contact for OCLC Questions – April 2013

Dear Del ILLa,

I know that Minitex isn't providing support for OCLC anymore, but I always forget who to contact. What should I do if I have a problem with my OCLC ILL requests now?


Dear Confused,

For issues with specific interlibrary loan requests that you have sent to Minitex, you can still contact Raquel Franklin.

If your question is about billing, an issue with the OCLC system or how it works, or your migration to WorldShare, you can contact OCLC at: or 800-848-5800.

Del ILLa

Book Returned / Bill Received – November 2012

Dear Del ILLa,

When I receive a bill for a lost book, and I have just returned the item, what should I do with the bill?


Dear Belately,

It is common for a bill and the item to cross in the mail. Sometimes the threat of a bill is the only thing that makes the patron return a book! If this happens to your ILL office, please make sure that the online record has been completed in your ILL system (meaning we have received the item and cleared that record.) If that is the case, you can go ahead and discard the bill. If you notice that Minitex has not yet closed the record, you should check to see if there was a problem with the return by contacting Agnes Lee.

Del ILLa

Bookmarks – July 2012

Dear Del ILLa,

I have noticed that Minitex has stopped using bookmarks in items that are shipped to me. What is the reason for this change?

Just Curious

Dear Curious,

Minitex has moved to a slightly larger request form that eliminates the need to create a separate bookmark. We hope that you and your patrons find it easier to keep track of a little less paperwork now. So, when you are ready to return the book, just flip the request over and it is ready to return.

There are a couple of other benefits. One is that a standardized form makes it much easier for new staff members in the Minitex office to look at a request and know where they are going to find the information they are seeking. The larger size of the new request form also allows us the space to add some extra information that helps us internally. Now, staff who work on the request have enough space to write pertinent information along with their initials. That is helpful if a supervisor needs to follow up with a question about the request or offer some additional training tips.

Del ILLa

Worldcat Resource Sharing New Features – November 2011

Dear Del ILLa,

My library uses OCLC Worldcat Resource Sharing and I've heard there are some new features, but I don't know where to find out about them. Can you help?

Feeling Left Out

Dear Left Out,

You can catch up on the latest news by checking out webinars by OCLC Worldcat Resource Sharing that occur on a quarterly schedule. If you missed the web session when it was presented live, you can look at the OCLC archive.

One of the new features available is OCLC's Article Exchange. Libraries in our region are using it to deliver requested articles to Minitex. If your library is interested in using this service to send articles to Minitex use this email address:

Janine O'Malley-Lortz from Saint John's University says "we have been using OCLC's Article Exchange for two months now and are very pleased with it!" Check online for more information about Article Exchange.

You might also want to check out the new Lender String report. This report provides details about your library's interactions with specific lenders up to one year in the past.

If your library uses Custom Holdings, there are two new features which will make it easier to manage your paths. One is the Custom Holdings symbol searcher which will help you find the groups where your symbol has been assigned. The other new feature is expansion of custom holdings group names from 8 characters to 20.

Del ILLa

In Library Use Items – November 2010

Dear Del ILLa,

How come I get items that can only be used by my patrons in the library?

Sissy Circulation

Dear Sissy,

As the collection at the University of Minnesota (and other libraries) ages, materials may begin to deteriorate from normal use. In some cases, the item may be out of print or irreplaceable due to budgetary concerns. We do try to find alternative lenders if they exist, but if the copy appears to be the only one in the region, and it could be further damaged by sending it out on interlibrary loan, we need to make a determination of whether or not that item should leave the library. In some cases, the loan might be the patron's only opportunity to view and use the item. Whenever possible, Minitex staff try to fill your patrons' requests, but sometimes we limit the patron's use to "in library" to protect items that require special handling.

Del ILLa

Packaging Materials– April 2010

Dear Del ILLa,

I want my loaned items to stay in good shape, so what is the best way to package my items to make sure the paperwork stays with the item?

Fretful lender

Dear Fretful,

To answer this question, I talked to our experts in the processing area at Minitex, (AKA "The Backroom"). What I learned is that after processing tens of thousands of items every year, the staff who work there are pretty sure that for printed materials, the best way to send the paperwork is simply to insert it between the pages of the item. For audiovisual items, a single or double rubber band works best to secure the paperwork. What really can slow things down for them are plastic bags, excessive use of tape or rubber bands, and unnecessary, extra packing material around the item. The delivery article in the April 2010 issue of Resource Sharing News on page four gives some good tips about packing your items. Also, check out the photo on page six for an example of what works and what doesn't, related to attaching your paperwork.

Del ILLa

OCLC Symbol for Minitex – December 2009

Dear Del ILLa,

I use OCLC to send requests to Minitex. Wouldn't my request be filled faster if I used the symbol MNU instead of MII?

Confused A. Boutcampus

Dear Confused,

Some people mistakenly believe that sending a request on OCLC to MNU instead of MII will speed up service; however, that is not the case.

The MNU lending staff is actually located within Minitex as a sub-unit called Documents to U (DTU). All of the requested items are retrieved on campus by the same Minitex staff 2-3 times a day. However, while our DTU staff is working on the ILLiad system to process requests for libraries outside of the Minitex region, Minitex staff process MII OCLC requests using our internal database system, Alexis. Requests are downloaded two to three times a day from all the systems on which we receive requests.

When a Minitex library sends an OCLC request to MNU instead of MII, it can delay processing somewhat because our staff must send a conditional message asking your library to redirect the request to MII. The reason for this is two-fold. First, requests from Minitex libraries are handled through the MII account and non-Minitex requests are handled through the MNU account. Secondly, MNU charges for filling requests – $15 for requests from libraries in the United States. This is why we do not process requests for Minitex network libraries under the MNU symbol. The revenue collected from filling those requests for MNU, after expenses, is turned over by Minitex to the University Libraries.

Though Minitex libraries will not utilize it, InfoNOW is a fee-based information service provided by the University of Minnesota. It serves patrons who are not affiliated with a library, or whose library is within a forprofit organization. InfoNOW requests are handled by a separate staff outside of the Minitex office.

Del ILLa

Referral Locations – November 2008

Dear Del ILLa,

I've sent some requests to Minitex with locations I think should be OK, but I have received the message that the location was not accessible. How can I tell if a location I find on OCLC is a place that Minitex will refer a request?

Nola Cashen

Dear Nola,

For information on referral locations, check the Minitex website:

Our list of referral priorities is set up based on turnaround time to our office. This list may be helpful to your library if you are developing referral priorities, Rotas, or Custom Holdings on OCLC. Remember, when you are setting up your list that you will need to take into account any local borrowing arrangements and edit the list accordingly.

Del ILLa

Ordering Bookmarks – April 2008

Dear Del ILLa,

I don't know how this happened, but I just ran out of bookmarks and I need to send some items via Minitex delivery. What is the quickest way to get them?

Ina Hurry

Dear Ina,

We fill requests for all routing forms every Friday. This time, you have an urgent need for the routing slips, so please call a delivery staff member and we will send them out immediately!

Del ILLa

E-Journals and ILL – January 2008

Dear Del ILLa,

I'm getting more and more requests for articles that we own only as e-journals. I'm not ever sure whether or not I should supply them. How can I tell if it is OK to use electronic resources to fill ILL requests?


Dear wondering,

The only way to be sure is to check the license agreements your institution has with the various publishers. Publishers that do allow use of an e-journal for ILL often have stipulations and lengthy explanations such as:

The Licensee's library staff may supply to an Authorized User of another library (whether by post, fax or secure electronic transmission, using Ariel or its equivalent, whereby the electronic file is deleted immediately after printing), for the purposes of research or private study, a single paper copy of an electronic original of an individual document.

The license agreement with publishers that do not will say something such as:

Interlibrary loans are limited only to the print version.

It would be time consuming to check the licenses every time you have a request. A good project would be to make a list of the publishers that allow you to share e-resources, then prepare one alphabetical list of the titles owned by the publishers who say "yes." Then you would have a single list to consult when you get requests for e-journals.

Del ILLa

Electronic Copies of Resource Sharing News – May 2006

Dear Del ILLa,

My office is small and I'm trying to cut back on all of the paper I receive. No offense, but is there any way I could get my copy of Resource Sharing News electronically?

Macon Changes

Dear Macon,

No offense taken! Yes, Resource Sharing News is available on the Minitex website along with all of the other serial publications coming from our office:

If you are subscribed to the Minitex email list, you will receive a notice when the latest issues of all Minitex publications are available online. If you are not on the list, and you would like notice of the latest issue of Resource Sharing News, just send an email to the editor at: She can also remove your name from the print copy list if you prefer to receive just the electronic version.

Del ILLa

Resource Sharing News

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Resource Sharing News keeps readers up-to-date about interlibrary loan activities in the Minitex region.


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Use MNLINK to:

  • Search multiple libraries and databases at once.
  • Request materials.
  • Search the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) to view and download articles about numerous topics.