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Borrowing and Lending Tips

Duplicates (What to do when you receive duplicate copies of a requested item.)

Genealogical material from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Items requested in WorldCat that never arrive

Lost Items in LINKcat

"Not Wanted After " dates

NonLINKcat libraries--Monitor your LINKcat account!

Requesting Reference items

"Too New"

Trace Items in LINKcat

What to do when you receive duplicate copies of a requested item:

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Genealogical material from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA):

"The National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) is a very useful resource for patrons wanting genealogical materials and libraries that want to help their patrons obtain them.  The following web sites provide just a few links to help patrons on their way to discovering the wonders found there.  Patrons may use the National Archives themselves if the item they have requested through interlibrary loan is not available and happens to be owned there.  There are charges for some services offered by the National Archives, but since patrons may access the site themselves their library does not have to be involved.  Remember, public libraries may NOT charge their patrons for interlibrary loan.
The National Archives has published and is offering free of charge some finding aids for using their vast collections of materials.  You can view a list of these aids at .  Information about how to borrow NARA materials is found at .  Topics are listed alphabetically with separate headings including Census, Genealogy, Photocopying, and Fees.  For information about how to order frequently-requested family history records: .
For more information about NARA, go to their web site at "

--thanks to Terry Wilcox, Reference and Loan Library, for this tip. 

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Items requested in WorldCat that never arrive:

What to do if your request is updated to Received, but you didn't receive it:

Contact the Outerlibrary Loan office by email or at 608-266-6302 with the transaction number and/or title of the item and a note describing the situation.

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What to do when an item is indicated as Lost, Trace, Damaged, AV Repair, etc. in LINKcat

When you find the item in LINKcat, but the only copy (or all copies) in LINKcat displays the status of Lost, Trace, Damaged, AV repair, etc. check the date the status was set before placing a request in OCLC WorldCat. OLL practice is to wait four weeks after the status is set to request an item. Put a note in the Notes field, for example: "The only copy in LINKcat is Lost (trace, damaged, AV Repair, etc.) and status was set on (date)."

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"Not Wanted After" dates:

Many library patrons (and sometimes library staff) think that when they request an item, if they say an item is not wanted after a certain date, it will somehow come sooner.   Please remember, and help your staff, colleagues, and patrons understand, that this is NOT the case. In fact, it can have just the opposite effect.

To determine if a patron truly has a "Not wanted after " date, and if so, what it is, you might try asking "What is the latest possible date this material will be useful to you?"

One more thing: If the "Not wanted after " date is TOO soon, you likely won't get it, no matter what date you enter! Anything with a "not wanted after" date of a week or less is too short. Two weeks may also be too short, but may be possible.

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NonLINKcat libraries--Monitor your LINKcat account!

If you are a nonLINKcat library, you have a LINKcat patron account for your library, so that you may place holds for your patrons on items that your library doesn't own, that are in LINKcat.  See "Using LINKcat (for nonLINKcat libraries.)" [password required]

It is very important that you:

It is very important that you contact the owning library, or Madison Public Library, at 608-266-6357, when:

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Requesting Reference items

Do not request items cataloged as Reference that are owned by SCLS public libraries through OuterLibrary Loan.  You can contact the owning SCLS library to see if they will photocopy a particular section for you. If you feel you have a special case and/or know of a library outside the system that circulates the item, send the request on WorldCat only if you have photocopy information (if patron doesn't know what they want, ask for a photocopy of table of contents or index. Please remember to tell your patron that 30 pages is the maximum that can be photocopied.)

"Too New"

Items that are less than 6 months old, as determined by the publication date on, are too new to request outside of SCLS.

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What to do when an Item is indicated as "Trace" in LINKCat

When you find an item in LINKcat, but the only copy in LINKcat displays the status "Trace," contact the owning library first.  They may find it by checking their shelves.  If they cannot find it, you may request in OCLC WorldCat, but not until 4 weeks from the time it was marked Trace (nonLINKcat libraries can not tell when it was marked trace without contacting the owning library, or another LINKcat library).  Put a note in the Notes field, for example:  "The only copy of this in LINKcat is Trace.  I contacted [name of owning library] and they can't find it."


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For more information about Interlibrary Loan, contact Jean Anderson.

For information about placing OuterLibrary Loan requests for your patrons, contact Madison OuterLibrary Loan by email or at 608-266-6302.