Interlibrary loan violating section 108?

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  • A faculty member at my institution requests ILL articles that he is then using to assist a local hospital with a project they are working on. The relationship between this faculty member's professional school on my campus and the hospital is such that the hospital pays the school for what are in essence consulting services. Since I know that the articles being requested will be used in this manner, i.e. to help the hospital, a paying customer, I'm not comfortable in supplying ILL articles. I know that the articles used are not being used for "private study, scholarship, or research." Am I within my rights to provide the articles? If the faculty member and his school choose to pay me (interlibrary loan office) for the cost I incur in getting these articles, does that act of paying me eliminate any culpability on my part? I don't think it does. I don't think I should get ILL items for this purpose, nor do I think that paying makes any difference. If the articles were not being used for a commercial purpose, then I wouldn't have these qualms. What do you think?
  • That's a difficult situation. Normally libraries have no responsibility for what a patron does with their resources, but in this case you know the user is doing something a little bit off. The factors against what he's doing are that the university has a commercial relationship with the hospital, and that the professor himself may in fact be getting paid as a consultant for looking for and obtaining these articles. On the other hand, is it possible the professor is using these papers in a collaborative research project with hospital staff, or using data from the hospital in his research? That may be okay. Is it a non-profit hospital? That may also help.

    The solution may be for the hospital to request these articles from you directly, and for you to apply whatever procedures you have in place for requests from non-university users. The professor could continue to supply them with citations as part of his consultancy, but leave obtaining the items up to the hospital. If you don't have procedures in place but are willing to set up something where outside users pay you for getting them ILL items, that might work.

    Or does the hospital have a library with which you can establish a cooperative arrangement that will benefit both sides? If your personnel collaborate on research, this could be a simple way to handle things.

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