ILL & the practice of requesting the same article from same journal

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  • Hello!

    I have the following situation:

    During the past year or so, a faculty member has created an assignment that requires the students to search for an article through one of our online databases. If that database does not have the full-text article, then the student is encouraged to put the request through Interlibrary Loan. So what has been happening for the past 4 semesters is that I get three or four students creating similar searches and requesting the same article from the same journal. I'm planning to discuss this with the faculty member -- first by explaining some of the logistical issues of their assignment (i.e. the students could use a different database that does have full-text), but I also wanted to explain some of the copyright issues and I want to make sure I explain the copyright issues correctly to the faculty member.

    I know there is a "rule of 1" -- one request for a single article from the same journal -- however maybe I am applying this too strictly. Is it "a library" can request a single article from the same journal issue in the same year? Or is it "a patron" can request a single article from the same journal issue in the same year? If it's the latter, then I could make several ILL requests for the same article from the same issue, and not worry about copyright (unless it goes over the Contu/CCG limit of five -- but that's not the issue I need clarification on).

    Are there any other copyright/fair use issues that I should consider when discussing this situation with the faculty member? Or maybe getting a handful of ILL requests for the same article is not enough to be considered "aggregate copies" and I should just allow the practice to continue?


    Liz Davis
  • The "Suggestion of Five" (I prefer 'suggestion' since this is a guideline, not a law) refers to the library requesting more than five articles from the last five years of the journal in one year. It could still be the same article every time; the exact wording in the CONTU guidelines is "article or articles." The purpose behind this quideline is that if you are requesting more than five recent articles per year, you should be subscribing.

    If the point of the assignment is for students to gain experience using ILL, perhaps the professor could make sure they have more widely differing subject assignmnets so the requests will be spread over more journals.
  • Unfortunately, the assignment is not to gain experience using ILL; but rather an assignment in finding an article related to a book ("Brave New World"). I'm part of a specialized university where most of our collection revolves around aeronautical engineering, so our collection does not have as many Humanities related materials/databases. With 25 students working on the same assignment, I get 3-4 students requesting the same article that they found doing their searches using a specifice database (MLA).

    However, if I can apply the Suggestion of 5 under the Contu guidelines, then I won't worry so much about 3 students requesting the same article.

    Also, as a side note, some of these "articles" are actually chapters from a book (e.g. a collection of essays). I'm assuming that the same rule applies, right?

    Thanks for your input! I just want to make sure that I'm following the guidelines and rules without being too restrictive :)


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