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E-ZBorrow Upgrade Coming

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
July 16th, 2010

Using E-ZBorrow is about to get easier as software changes will streamline the book-borrowing process.

“Users will appreciate the upgrades that we’ve made,” said Dan Iddings, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc, (PALCI). “The new E-ZBorrow eliminates a few steps and provides an advance search option. Searches will be faster and more effective.”

PALCI, a group of academic libraries with a reciprocal lending and borrowing agreement, developed E-ZBorrow in 2004. The resource, which is a self-serve version of interlibrary loan, enables a user to search the library holdings of more than 50 colleges and universities and then request that a book be sent to a library on his or her campus. The new website, powered by Relais software, becomes operational this fall.

Hilary Fredette, Head of Access Services for the Downtown Campus Library, said one frustration of the outgoing system is that it divides libraries into three groups and requires users to search each set individually to find a desired title. Under the new system, one search simultaneously scans the catalogs of all participating PALCI libraries.

“I think a lot of people didn’t realize that constraint,” Fredette said. “They’d search the first group but not the others. They missed two-thirds of the catalogs. Now, everything will be open to them automatically.”

Users can also expect better results because of an advanced search option that will enable them to narrow their inquiries. Results will be displayed in order of relevance and can also be sorted by author, title, newest, or oldest. Response time will be almost immediate.

“I think people will like the speed,” Fredette said.

The upgrade also means the end of dead-end searches. If a book is not available, the user will be given the option to request the title through interlibrary loan.

“WVU Libraries have taken advantage of one of the new features and set the E-ZBorrow interface so that patrons won’t have to do anything else if a book is not available; they’ll be able to link to our ILLiad interface.” Fredette said.

E-ZBorrow is a popular resource, with member libraries completing about 5,000 transactions in an average week. Last year, the WVU Libraries delivered the one-millionth book to be requested through the system.

WVU benefits significantly from E-ZBorrow. In a typical year, students and faculty here use the resource to obtain about 15,000 books.

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