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Cite Checking Guide for Law Reviews & Publication: Interlibrary Loan

ILL Procedures

When considering if an ILL request is necessary for an item, take the following steps. Record your steps on the ILL Checklist worksheet. First, verify that Eckstein Law Library and Raynor Memorial Libraries (and the Milwaukee Public Library if you are on the MULR) do not have the item, and that the item is not available from a database as a PDF. After you have completed each of the steps below to verify the item’s unavailability, you will bring the Checklist and meet with a librarian, who will sign the request if they cannot locate the source. Then, give the ILL Checklist that the librarian approved to the editor assigned to your article. The editor will submit the ILL request to the library using the Eckstein’s electronic ILL form.  Once the item comes in, your editor will be notified.  Pick up the item from either the Law Review office or the Circulation Desk, and return it to the Circulation Desk before the item’s due date. Printed ILL materials like books will require reshipment to the lending library in time for the due date. Your editor will be held personally responsible for any overdue fines. 

Step 1:  Verification of unavailability (search in this order, 1-4):

1.   Check the MU library catalog, MARQCAT, to determine if the Law Library or Raynor Memorial Libraries has the item you need.  

2.   Check the relevant Short Guide and the Cite Checker Guide to determine how to find out if the item is available in PDF format.

3.   For MULR members only: Check the Milwaukee Public Library catalog to determine if the item is available at a Milwaukee Public Library location. If it is, MULR members will be responsible for checking out the item using the MULR account at MPL, and retrieving it themselves. 

4.   Final check with a reference librarian to see if s/he can locate the item.

A librarian needs to sign off on the unavailability of a source that leads to an ILL request.  You will need to meet with a reference librarian and get confirmation and an initialed sign-off by the librarian before giving your ILL form to the appropriate articles editor.  The librarian will check what you have done and see if s/he can locate the material another way.  This meeting can take more than a few minutes, so plan ahead!

Step 2: Prepare and submit the ILL form to your articles editor

Once you have determined the item cannot be accessed through a Marquette library, MPL, or as a PDF, and you have met with a librarian, submit a completed, initialed Marquette University Law Library ILL Request Form for Law Journals to your editor.  

You might want to use pencil when completing the form, so that alterations can be made once you meet with a librarian.  It’s likely some changes may be necessary.  It’s fine to work with the librarian on the request but organize as much as you can ahead of time. 

It’s a good idea not abbreviate title or author names on this worksheet.  Try to give as clear a picture as possible of the source, for someone at the loaning library who may not be trained in citation and legal abbreviations.  An ILL librarian or staffer at a lending library needs as clear and accurate information as possible.  Proofread your request for accuracy and completeness. The more complete your information is, the easier it will be to locate the item.  You will receive an email from your editor if the request is insufficient.

Step 3:  Use and return the ILL item in a timely manner

It can take anywhere from one week to more than three weeks to receive items requested through ILL. Your editor will be notified by the library when your ILL item has arrived. Pick the item up right away.

Give ILL items high priority.  Copy what you need, and ask your editor whether you should return the item to the circulation desk. Do not let your ILL items become overdue. The due dates on ILL items are set by the loaning libraries. If it is necessary to keep an item beyond the due date, request a renewal by contacting the circulation desk before the item becomes overdue and as soon as you become aware that you will need an extension. By doing so, you will allow the librarians to find an alternate copy if the loaning library does not extend the ILL (this is not uncommon).  Your editor will be held responsible for overdue fines on ILL items.

If you are proactive at each step of the way, that helps your sourcing and editing process, and it helps the library maintain a good relationship with fellow lending institutions.

Article Editors

EDITORS:  After the cite checker has confirmed with a law librarian that ILL is necessary for an item, and you have received the completed ILL Checklist form, please submit the ILL request using the digital ILL form available on the library's website. (There is one for periodicals and one for books.) Supply the citation information and relevant comments written on the Checklist. Our library uses that information to request the material from other lending libraries. Put the name of the librarian the sourcer worked with on the electronic form you submit.  Thank you! 

ILL Request Form

Tips for Completing the ILL Request Form:

  • Complete a separate form for each item. So, if you need two different versions of the same Indiana statututory section, e.g., one from 1945 and one from 1955, you must fill out an ILL form for each year.
  • Include full titles and author names. Do not abbreviate. If you think that you do not have a full title or author name, run a search in WorldCat to find a catalog entry, run a search in Google to find an author bio page or relevant publication, and/or run a search in HeinOnline (available as a link on the law library landing page under databases and subscriptions) to find another article that has cited the item.
  • Include dates and edition information. If you do not include a date or edition and there are multiple versions of your requested item, the ILL request will be sent back from the lending library with a request for more information, or it will simply be unfilled.  Our circulation supervisor gets these messages from lending libraries.
  • Include page numbers, sections, chapters, etc.  You can speed up the ILL process by limiting your request to a specific portion of an item. If you are in doubt about what page numbers, sections, or chapters you need, err on the side of being over-inclusive in requesting the relevant portions. Ask your editors and discuss with a reference librarian if you are confused about what to include.
  • If you have located the OCLC number on WorldCat, you will verify it with the reference librarian. The OCLC, a/k/a accession number is unique to the item as published. Each edition, reprint, etc., has a unique OCLC number. If you or the reference librarian can find the item in WorldCat, include the OCLC number. The OCLC number will direct the lending library's ILL staff member to the precise item record.  Remember that you also are looking for the appropriate OCLC numbered item to validate that the material exists. Ask questions of a librarian if you have questions about using WorldCat. 
  • Complete the comments section. More information is better.  For example, if you are asking for a state statute, request the name of the publisher if you know; if it is a current statute, ask for the precise statutory section in the most current version of the printed edition, plus any pocket part or supplement updates for the statutory section.  If it is a historical statute that Eckstein does not have in print or fiche, or it is not on HeinOnline, be very precise in the request.  A librarian can help with this.
  • Check all spelling for complete accuracy. Carefully check all numbering. If your ILL request is incorrect, the lending library’s staff will not be able to identify the item and your request will be sent back unfilled.

ILL Insider's Tip

WorldCat allows you to search the holdings of libraries across the world for any item that is owned and has been cataloged on OCLC by a lending institution. You can use WorldCat to verify that an item you are cite-checking actually exists, even if Marquette or the Milwaukee Public Library does not have the material. 

WorldCat can help you identify which, if any, other libraries own a copy of the precise item you need. A Circulation supervisor at Eckstein will figure out which lending library will be used, but you can consult the WorldCat records to make sure that your source exists.  If you are unsure, a librarian can be helpful identify and resolve questions about editions, printings, reprints, and other differences among search results for a title you are sourcing.