After accepting the multipart American Library Association interlibrary loan request forms for nearly a half century, the Library of Congress has decided no longer to accept the paper form.
The decision was triggered by the Library's plans to acquire an automated system for managing its interlibrary loan traffic. If the system is to be efficient, all requests must be machine-readable and in a format that can be accepted without being rekeyed. (For now, foreign libraries that must send IFLA vouchers with their requests will continue to use paper forms out of necessity.)
More than 90 percent of incoming requests are now received by the Library in electronic form. Only a few U.S. libraries still send requests by mail, fax and unstructured e-mail. To assist these institutions, the Library has installed a special electronic request form on its interlibrary loan Web page.
U.S. libraries that cannot send their requests by a bibliographic utility (OCLC or RLIN) should go to www.loc.gov/rr/loan and click on the heading "Sending a Request via OCLC, RLIN or E-mail." This will take the user to a structured loan request form that is part of the Library's Web site. Libraries should note that using this form does not require them to have their own e-mail, only to be able to access the Web.
For those interested in technology, the final verison of the form is intended to be compliant with the ISO Interlibrary Loan protocols 10160 and 10161. The form can be copied from the Web, complete with HTML coding and the protocol field labels (including hidden fields such as date and time stamps). Other libraries interested in developing protocol-compliant Web forms are invited to take advantage of the Library's form.