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Frequently Asked Questions

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What's the difference between Summit and Interlibrary Loan?


Both Summit and Interlibrary Loan (ILL) are services to share resources among libraries, but they fill different needs. Here is a brief description and comparison of the services. 

Summit is the borrowing system for member libraries of the Orbis Cascade Alliance--academic libraries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. To maximize efficiency and predictability, libraries agree to basic policies and procedures. For example, 

  • All books in a library's general collection circulate through Summit. Individual libraries may allow additional physical collections to circulate, such as audiovisual items.
  • Summit supplies physical loans only--no copies of articles or chapters. 
  • The standard book loan is 6 weeks. If a library allows an additional collection to circulate through Summit, the loan period is either 6 weeks or 6 days.
  • There are no renewals.
  • There is no cost associated with each individual request, since a contracted courier delivers materials on a fixed expense to the library.
  • You find and request materials through Primo

Interlibrary Loan involves over 10,000 academic, public, and special libraries across the United States and the world. There are standards of practice but no shared policies or procedures for participating libraries. 

  • All kinds of materials are shared through ILL. The broader network of libraries loans books, audiovisuals, microforms, and other physical items not available through Summit borrowing, and it supplies scanned copies of articles and book chapters. Some libraries also scan items they will not lend physically (special collections and archives, for example) to share electronically.
  • The owning library sets the due date for a physical item loan. When you receive an electronic copy, it is yours to keep. 
  • Renewals are at the discretion of the owning library.
  • Expenses associated with individual requests vary due to lending fees and shipping costs. 
  • One pathway to make a request is to log into My Library and select the New ILL request tab. 

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