We have a pretty extensive collection here at the University of Alberta Library. Between print books & periodicals, electronic books, journal articles, streaming video and audio, and miscellaneous kits, games and more, there’s no lack of resources to explore. As Junelle explained in her recent post, there are limits to what we have access to. Sometimes we have to cast our nets wider and borrow items from libraries outside of the NEOS consortium. We call these interlibrary loans (ILLs).
ILLs are your best course of action when you’ve done a thorough search of the library’s resources and can’t find what you need. How do you know you’ve covered your bases? Here are a few tips to follow to ensure you’ve done your due diligence.
Verifying whether we have a book in our collection is as simple as checking our catalogue. To do this, use either EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) — the main search field on our homepage– or through our public catalogue. If you’re a current student staff or faculty member you can use both.
If you’re using EDS, you may need to use the drop down menus in the advanced search and the limiters on the left hand side to find what you’re looking for.
The public catalogue’s interface is a little less complicated. If you’re searching a book title make sure to adjust the drop down menu to title.
Submit an ILL request if you come up empty-handed after taking these steps. Please note, that ILL requests for books can take several weeks to fulfill. Need a single chapter from a book? You can request that one chapter as opposed to the whole book and our ILL team will try to find and send a scanned copy of it. If the book was published in the last few years, you could also recommend that we purchase a copy by filling out our Recommend a Purchase form [current UAlberta students and staff only].
Here’s where things get more complicated and I like to use a multi-step process.
Search the title of the article in Google Scholar (the version available through the library’s website).
More often than not, if we have access to the article a link to the FullText article will appear next to the article in the search results.
What if the article doesn’t come up, or there’s no link to the FullText article?
First, confirm that we have access to the journal it was published in. Our eJournal search comes in handy here. Copy the journal’s title (the title of the journal not he article) and paste it into our eJournal search. If we have access to the journal, follow the links on the journal’s Get It @ UAlberta page to view our access options for the journal. Find the corresponding volume and issue the article was published in by clicking the corresponding link and searching through the journal’s issue archives.
Do we have a physical copy of the journal it was published in?
Sometimes we only have articles available in a physical format. Search the journal title in EDS or the public catalogue to find out. Using the drop-down menus in both interfaces to specify periodical title simplifies things exponentially. There should be a catalogue listing for it if we do, and two options you can take.
- Place a hold on the volume that contains the article and have it sent to the NEOS library of your choice.
- OR, you can place an interlibrary loan request for the article and our ILL team will scan and send you a copy.
Place an ILL request for the article, if these steps don’t result in your accessing the article.
Theses and Dissertations
First, check the databases listed on this subject guide. There are databases where you can look for UAlberta authored theses and databases for Canadian and internationally published ones.
Feeling ambitious? Look to see if the institution the thesis was completed at has a digital repository. Many universities and institutions have open access digital repositories, like ERA, where theses and dissertations can be accessed.
Can’t find the theses in these places? Place an ILL request for it.
Determining if we have an item can be complicated. Reach out and Ask Us, is you’re ensure! We’ll do our best to confirm whether an ILL is the right course of action.