A better shipping system

In ILL, we rely on quite a few different shipping services to get books into the hands of our patrons as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, some get lost along the way. Frustrated with the lack of information available to us when attempting to track down these missing items, we turned to a new tracking system–OBILLSK, or Online Based Inter-Library Loan Statistical Kit, developed under the direction of Ryan Litsey,¬†Texas Tech University.

Moving beyond traditional tracking methods, this system traces items every step of the way across a number of shipping services, such as USPS and Fed-Ex. We simply input the shipped item’s intended recipient, shipping label, and reference number into OBILLSK and have immediate access to full tracking information in one place. We’re thrilled to report that now, when items go missing, we can detect their location or prove their delivery.

OBILLSK Dashboard

Beyond tracking, the system reports on a number of helpful statistics, including our top receivers and the average number of items shipped per package.

One of the neatest things about this system is the interactive map of shipment recipients. OBILLSK tracks each shipped item and creates an interactive visualization that can be sorted either by recipients within the United States or the world. Beyond the practical benefits of having a robust tracking system, it’s interesting to see a visual representation of our resource sharing process.

-Contributed by Amie Freeman


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