Resource Sharing

Resource sharing is a service whereby a user of one institution can receive material that is owned by another institution.
The user makes a request with his local library, which, acting as an intermediary, identifies owners of the desired item, places the request, receives the item, makes it available to the user, and arranges for its return. The lending library usually sets the due date and overdue fees of the material borrowed.
Although books and journal articles are the most frequently requested items, some libraries will lend audio recordings, video recordings, maps, sheet music, and microforms of all kinds. In many cases, nominal fees accompany interlibrary loan services.
Resource sharing has two main players: borrowing library and lending library:
  • The borrowing library sends a request for materials needed by their patron.
  • The lending library (owning library) fills the request by sending materials to the borrowing library or supplies a reason why it cannot fill the request.

The borrowing library and the lending library communicate in order to enable the requesting patron to receive material, and return it to the owning library after it was used.


Alma supports 2 main Resource sharing workflows:
  • P2P – in this workflow the borrowing library and the lending library communicate directly.
Supported protocols: ISO, NCIP
  • Broker based – in this workflow the borrowing library communicates with an ILL broker. The broker passes the request to potential suppliers, and handles the request against the borrowing library.
Supported protocols: NCIP


See related blog entries