Interlibrary Loan Policies

Listserv Policy

The Association of Vision Science Librarians (AVSL) listserv was established in order to facilitate the timely exchange of information among persons interested in vision science and related fields, especially as they apply to libraries/information centers. Exchange of information includes, but is not limited to, answering questions related to the literature of these fields, reference and bibliographic assistance, requesting copies of articles, and/or the distribution of books, journals and non-book material, among members of the AVSL.

To send messages to the list use The AVSL listserv is closed; to have an email address added to or removed from the listserv, please contact Jeff Loo

Interlibrary Loan Policy and Use of the AVSL Union List

The Association of Vision Science Librarians wholeheartedly supports the concept of the widest possible access to vision-related information. In practice, however, it is impossible for us to respond to requests from individuals. Only requests from MEMBER LIBRARIES/INFORMATION CENTERS will be honored.

Eligibility to participate in this resource-sharing service is limited to 1) libraries whose holdings are in the Union List; 2) HINARI, Indian and Chinese libraries that receive free copies of the Union List; and 3) libraries that have purchased the Union List.

Please note: Some institutions may require use of standard ILL policy (e.g., mail, fax, DOCLINE, OCLC, etc.). DOCLINE users should consider using the AVSL DOCLINE group.




    When making a request for a journal article, consult the latest edition of the Union List of Vision-Related Serials to verify which libraries hold the journal title being requested. Select only the libraries that hold the title(s).

    If your institution does not own the latest edition, you may order it from Pamela Forbes, University of Houston School of Optometry, at Members in HINARI-eligible countries, India and China are eligible for free copies of the Union List.

    For U.S. libraries, please first send requests to those libraries within your own time zone. If it is after business hours for the libraries in your time zone, it is acceptable to contact libraries in other time zones.

  2. Request ILLs only for vision-related materials. This includes articles from journals in the Union List of Vision-Related Serials and vision-related articles in non-vision journals. When requesting vision-related articles in non-vision journals, it is acceptable to email the entire listserv. Most member libraries do not have large general medical or scientific collections.

  3. Type ILL/AVSL as the first word in the subject line as well as the names or abbreviations of both the borrowing and lending libraries. This will help recipient determine the request is directed to her/his library and not the entire AVSL membership (e.g., ILL/AVSL-UCB to NIH).

  4. Use PMID, if available.

  5. Use the listserv to request items for your institutional clients only.

  6. When emailing your ILL request, include your mailing address and fax number. The choice of whether to fax, mail, or scan material will be at the discretion of the lending library.

  7. Please DO NOT request more than 3 articles at a time.


  1. Prior to filling a request, please verify that the requester is eligible to participate by checking the eligibility list posted at Responding to people who are not eligible is discouraged.

  2. If you cannot fill request, please respond to the requester within a reasonable amount of time, so that the request can be redirected.

  3. When filling urgent requests or for material in non-vision journals, if more than one library is solicited by the borrower, use “reply to all” (email option) to let both borrower and other libraries know you will be filling the request.

  4. Read all responses prior to sending material to be sure that no other library has already filled the request. If you use an email client that periodically downloads mail, please be sure to check mail manually.


rev. 8/2/11