It behooves the information professional or knowledge worker to self-manage continuing education opportunities, especially when training resources are freely available on the Web. Do you want to learn more about a service within the profession? Locked into Reference, but hanker to know how to catalog or expedite the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) process? If so, free training abounds.
Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan Services Guide (DDILL) is a paragon of a professional education site. It's an oasis of help and how-tos for those new to Interlibrary Loan and it's a solid resource for experienced professionals, too. In sum, it's a no-frills, bare bones directory of useful content. Aesthetics--thumbs down. Content and utility--thumbs up.
Recently, I've been researching OCLC's ILL Web product. But lacking the philosophical and conceptual background of the Interlibrary Loan process, I decided to read DDILL's Crash Course in ILL. Surely, a "For Dummies" manual could be produced from this material. DDILL offers online help with various software packages and links to free training materials, including the free Web tutorial that OCLC provides.
Among other features, users can view sample interlibrary loan forms and policies, explore copyright law, learn about obtaining dissertations, and read the debate about where ILL service should be located--Reference, Circulation, Technical Services?
Reference and ILL staff will find DDILL's "Verification Tools and Free Full-Text Sources" incredibly helpful. A shared knowledge of these tools would only serve to improve communication and collaboration between the two staffs. DDILL links to citation databases (e.g., Agricola), OPACs (e.g., Libdex), media directories (e.g., Publist), e-texts (e.g., Online Books Page), and so on. However, I did not see a link to the awesome troubleshooting tool known as JAS (Journal Abbreviations Server).
DDILL is a truly egalitarian site that caters to tyros as well as seasoned professionals. The site offers the user the chance for a more holistic, integrated view of library services and functions. If it's that macro understanding that you lack, this Web site will fill in the holes and empower you. One drawback of the site is that it is not searchable. Drill away!
C. Brian Smith