Measuring the Effectiveness of Queen Elizabeth II Library Document Delivery Operations Before and After the Implementation of Relais International’s Enterprise Document Delivery Software

Patrick Warner


Objective - To compare the performance of the Queen Elizabeth II Document Delivery operation before and after the implementation of Relais International’s Enterprise document delivery software.

Methods - This paper employs methodology established in the Association of Research Libraries’ 1998 publication, “Measuring the Performance of Interlibrary Loan Operations” and repeated in ARL’s “Assessing ILL/DD Services: New Cost- Effective Alternatives,” published in 2004. In both studies, three measures were used to evaluate the efficiency of document delivery operations: fill rate, turnaround time and direct costs. Both studies offer ARL benchmark or mean scores for each efficiency measure. This paper compares Queen Elizabeth II Document Delivery (QEII/DD) scores for each efficiency measure with those reported in both ARL studies.

Results - Data for the two periods under review, 1999-2000 and 2004-2005, indicate that Borrowing fill rates remained relatively stable, showing only a 3% drop in the latter year, while lending fill rates showed a significant increase (11%). Turnaround times for filled QEII/DD borrowing returnable requests were faster on average by 4.2 days or 24%. Turnaround times for QEII/DD non-returnable borrowing requests also show improvement: a filled non-returnable request was faster on average by 1 day or 12%. The average cost of a QEII/DD borrowing request has remained stable: $22.82 in 1999-2000 and $22.61 in 2004-2005. In contrast, the average cost of a QEII/DD lending request has increased slightly: from $11.08 in 1999-2000 to $13.12 in 2004-2005.

Conclusion - Both the implementation of Relais document delivery software and the delivery of returnables (loans) by courier between consortium members have allowed the QEII/DD unit to post modest gains in both fill rates and per unit costs and more substantive gains in turnaround time.

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