Researching Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery Usage by Health Sciences Libraries during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jeannine Creazzo, Caitlin Bakker, Jessica A. Koos, Phill Jo, Kristine M. Alpi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the spring of 2020, a number of health sciences library personnel who continued to provide Interlibrary Loan (ILL)/Document Delivery (DD) during the COVID-19 (COVID) pandemic anecdotally noticed an increase in the volume of requests. These were presumed to be from peer libraries that were unable to access their print collections, and few seemed specific to COVID-information needs. This raised the question, “What are libraries doing about providing requested materials in this resource sharing environment, especially when requests cannot be filled through ILL/DD?” This report introduces a multi-institutional research effort by health sciences library staff that is being planned to understand the demand for, and efforts to supply, content from library print and online collections, as well as third-party providers, during COVID. The purpose of this report is to describe the research-in-progress and encourage additional research into maintaining access to information during extraordinary conditions. The expectation is that the results of such research efforts may provide insight on how libraries can adapt their ILL/DD services and workflows during emergencies to license and share resources even more effectively in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery and Electronic Reserve
Issue number3-5
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
No financial interest or benefit has arisen from the direct applications of our research. We thank the National Library of Medicine?s Lisa Theisen, Elisabeth Unger, Gillian Takamaru, and Allison Fisher for consultation on DOCLINE data from participating libraries. This research plan was previously described in the following lightening talk: Alpi KM, Meyer E. Researching ILL/DD usage by health sciences libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Northwest Interlibrary Loan & Resource Sharing Conference, September 11, 2020. We acknowledge the other members of the project team who are not co-authors of this article: Margaret Hoogland, Jennifer Lloyd, Elizabeth Meyer, Jenny Pierce, Debbie Rand, Priscilla Stephenson, and Holly Thompson.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • COVID-19
  • document delivery
  • health sciences libraries
  • hospital libraries
  • interlibrary loan
  • pandemic
  • print collections


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