Library Celebrates the 250,000th IBID Request

Today, Friday, June 2, 2006, the Library celebrates a quarter million Ibid requests thanks to Professor Jed Buchwald, Humanities & Social Sciences. That’s a milestone!

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Professor Buchwald, third from left, is surrounded by Shady Peyvan (Interlibrary Loans), Kimberly Douglas (University Librarian), and Dan Anguka (Document Delivery).

When informed that his was the 250,000th request, Professor Buchwald exclaimed “I am delighted to be the 250,000th user of IBID. The library staff has worked so hard to make this a first-rate resource for the faculty of Caltech. Our work in the history of science would be nearly impossible without the good efforts of this fine group of people, who have managed to obtain books and documents that would otherwise be unavailable. Thanks so much for a fine job well done!”

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Professor Buchwald with his gift bag!

frogIn 1999, on May 20th, Caltech launched Ibid, the library’s automated document delivery service. Caltech was the first major US academic institution outside of Virginia Tech to install the Ibid software and service. It is a transactional and user interface system that connects with other database systems and utilities, allowing researchers to request specific articles and books needed for their work. The registered users of Ibid are assigned their own account numbers, allowing each to keep track of their own Ibid request history.

In fulfilling requests, library staff interact online with numerous world-wide databases and utilities that facilitate identification and delivery over the network. Gone are the days of interlibrary-loan guess-work. The library links up with institutions such as the Linda Hall Library, Princeton, and the Canadian Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI). Documents come from the British Lending Library or Occidental College with the same ease and efficiency.

Our library staff is able to successfully complete over 98% of all orders, with most requests being filled on the day the order is placed (in some cases the user receives an electronic copy of their document in less than 5 minutes).

Several members of the Caltech community were asked “What difference has Ibid made in your life?” – here are some of their responses:

“It is hard to imagine our research and annotation on The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein without IBID services. Over the past six years, we have been able to obtain through the extraordinary talents and diligence of our interlibrary loan staff via IBID the most esoteric materials, including pre-World War I daily European newspapers, obscure scientific dissertations and books, hard-to-find pamphlets and biographical information, rare editions of scientific reprints and many other treasures. Without IBID we would have had to scour in person distant libraries and archives. We are deeply grateful.” Professor Diana Kormos-Buchwald, Director & General Editor, Einstein papers Project (May 19, 2006).

“I appreciate the promptness with which article requests are disposed of by library staff. In many cases it is of crucial importance to receive the article in a timely manner to resolve important research questions. Please keep up the good work! Marco Latini, Grad Student ’06, Applied & Computational Mathematics (May 11, 2006).

“IBID is a major force in my academic and intellectual life. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t get an article from IBID, and when I’m writing reviews or grant proposals, I order >10 a day.” Professor Paul Patterson, Biology, Behavior Biology (May 19, 2006).

“IBID is among the most valuable services provided by the library. Without it, and especially without the dedicated people behind IBID, Feingold and I would not be able to work on 17th and 18th century history of science. I’ve taught at the University of Toronto and at MIT, and neither of them has the expertise and dedication that IBID provides. It is truly a Caltech treasure.” Professor Jed Buchwald, Humanities & Social Sciences (May 22, 2006).

We quote Professor Henry Lester as stating “IBID is a good complement to modern databases and Web-based journals, especially because of the Library staff’s conscientious and rapid response. Even if Caltech lacks an online subscription to a journal, IBID gives me the power to work continually on scholarly activities–papers and grants–with a delay of just a few hours. I’m also impressed at the continual upgrades, such SFX and Caltech Connect, that the Library has made to the system.” Professor Lester further notes he would like to see the following feature added to Ibid: “Now for my IBID wish list. IBID would allow me to define a few “reprint buddy lists”. Each “reprint buddy list” contains the names of several Caltech people who share my interest on a particular project. When I order an article through IBID, the IBID interface asks me to check the appropriate “reprint buddy list” box. Those colleagues then receive an email describing the reprint I have ordered. I contend that this “reprint buddy list” procedure falls within “fair use” guidelines while conserving precious grant funds. Caltech’s intellectual property advisors are nearly convinced of my position; but I invite the Caltech research community to join me in this discussion.” Professor Henry Lester, Biology Department, Chair of the Faculty, Division of Biology (May 22, 2006).

“I do research in theoretical chemistry in a variety of different research fields and there are new not-understood or incompletely understood experimental results arising all the time. To treat them a detailed familiarity with earlier work and with background material is essential. On-line access to the journals has had a profound accelerating effect on my research in this respect, and Ibid plays a key role by providing articles whose text I do not have direct on-line access, as well as a much smaller role of physical access to non-Caltech books. All of my earlier research preceded this electronic age, and so I am keenly aware of the invaluable and for me now essential role that Ibid and the electronic journals provide. I looked at the list of my completed Ibid requests. While I didn’t actually count them I suspect they are of the order of 500! With best wishes and congratulations on Ibid.” Professor Rudolph Marcus, Chemistry (May 24, 2006).

This is an event that deserves to be celebrated! Ibid has allowed my research group to request an article and have it delivered without any of us ever having to leave our desks. The library staff manages to find whatever is needed no matter how obscure – this has literally allowed me to continue on with my research. I am most grateful for this system and for the people at Caltech. Professor Mordechai Feingold, Humanities & Social Sciences (May 23, 2006).

To quote an outside source, M. Jason Glover, President of Atlas Systems, Inc. says “This is a significant milestone – congratulations! Having Caltech as one of our very first licensees was a great boon and helped us get started successfully. We’re thrilled that ILLiad is still as useful today as it was 7 years ago and we’re striving to improve it on a daily basis here at Atlas and with our partnership with OCLC.” Dan Specht of Atlas states he “shares Jason’s congratulations and thoughts……..and we’d be happy to do a little write-up in the ILLIiad newsletter….and give some well deserved credit to a group that was on the forefront…”.

Ibid has clearly become, over the last 7 years, an important document requesting tool for faculty, students, and staff. Despite our small size, we deliver information in ways that far exceed the capabilities of much larger libraries. We are proud of our ability to support the research and education programs here at Caltech.