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FAQ for Research Assistants Working for Others

How to obtain authorization, charge departmental accounts for library copying, and more

What is proxy authorization?
How do I check out library materials on behalf of faculty members? Can I renew items checked out by faculty members?
Can I have books or articles sent to a campus office?
Can I email articles from databases to faculty members?
Can I place interlibrary loan requests for faculty members?
How can I charge photocopies, computer printouts, or microfilm copies to a departmental account?
Can I place materials on reserve for my professors?
How do I apply to act as a proxy?
More questions?

 

What is proxy authorization?

University of Illinois faculty members, graduate students, and other library borrowers with extenuating circumstances may authorize another library borrower to charge out library materials for them. This authorization is usually extended to students who are assisting a faculty member or a graduate student in his or her research, but a spouse, staff member, etc. can be designated as a proxy patron. Also, a library borrower can designate more than one proxy. Library materials will receive faculty or graduate loan periods. The length of the authorization is specified for up to one year. The individual is responsible for all library materials charged to their account, including those materials that his or her proxy checked out.

How do I check out library materials on behalf of faculty members? Can I renew items checked out by faculty members?

University of Illinois faculty members may authorize research and teaching assistants to check out library materials on their behalf. The length of the authorization is specified for up to one year and faculty members are responsible for all library materials charged to their accounts.

To obtain authorization, faculty members must complete and sign a Proxy Form, available in the Circulation Office (room 203, Main Library) or at the Circulation Desk. The application form requires the library ID numbers (printed on i-card) and signatures of both the faculty member and you (the proxy).

Once authorization is obtained, you can charge materials from Main Stacks and departmental libraries to the faculty member's account. Upon checkout, just inform the circulation desk clerk that you are acting as proxy for a faculty member. Your proxy status will be tied in with your i-card, so when your card is scanned, the circulation clerk will be able to select your professor's account instead of your own.

If you have any questions about proxy authorization, please contact the Circulation Office at circlib@library.uiuc.edu or via telephone at 217-333-8400.

To renew items checked out by a faculty member, call the circulation desk at 217-333-8400. Inform the circulation desk staff of your proxy status and give the name of the professor you are assisting. Phone center staff will verify your status by looking at your account information. They can then renew needed items on the professor's account. There is no way to do this online.

Can I request books or articles online from the library collection for professors?

Books:
You can't use your proxy authorization to request books for professors through the Online Catalog or the I-Share Catalog. However, if a professor uses his or her own account to request items through the library catalog, you can pick those items up at any library location if you are the authorized proxy.

Articles:
Generally, you will not be able to request articles online from the library collection. The exception will be the Library's DocExpress service, available through the Interlibrary Loan Office. DocExpress allows you to request article photocopies for a fee. If the articles are available electronically, they can be sent to a campus email address as a PDF attachment. Faculty and staff pay $3.00 per article; students pay $5.00. Most articles can be made available in two days.

You can use DocExpress as a proxy on behalf of your professor. The Interlibrary Loan Office needs a signed letter on file from your professor stating that his or her account can be charged for items you request for them using DocExpress. For for information, please visit the DocExpress tutorial. To place a request, visit the Interlibrary Loan website and click the University of Illinois DocExpress link. This service is recommended if an article is needed quickly.

Can I email articles from databases to faculty members?

If the database interface includes an email option, you can often send articles or citations to your professor. Be sure to notify your professor that you are emailing articles so that they aren't accidentally discarded. Many databases let you attach a note when you send articles--it's a good idea to identify yourself here so the professor knows where the articles are coming from.

Can I place interlibrary loan requests for faculty members for material not held at the University of Illinois?

Proxy students cannot currently place interlibrary loan requests for professors. Professors will have to place interlibrary loan requests themselves, but they can request that proxy students be authorized to pick up their items. In order to do this, the interlibrary loan borrowing office (room 104A of the Main Library) will need to have a letter from the professor stating that his or her proxy student can pick up interlibrary loan items. The proxy student's name should be included in this letter.

How can I charge photocopies, computer printouts, or microfilm copies to a departmental account?

Photocopies:
To obtain copy cards that are charged to a University of Illinois departmental account, please visit the Library Business Office in Room 111A, Main Library building. You will need:

  1. The FOAPAL account number (a 25-digit number). You should be able to get this number from your department's secretary or business office.

  2. Contact information for, or a letter from, the person in charge of the account. The Business Office will then provide either a 100, 300, or 500 page copy card to you (and charge the account accordingly).

Computer Printouts:
To charge printouts to a University of Illinois departmental account, please visit the Library Systems Office in Room 314, Main Library building. You will need:

  1. The FOAPAL account number (a 25-digit number). You should be able to get this number from your department's secretary or business office.

  2. Contact information for, or a letter from, the person in charge of the account. The Library Systems Office will then set up an account for you that enables you to print from a computer and charge it to the departmental account.

Microfilm or Microfiche Printouts:
To charge microfilm or microfiche to a departmental account, tell a staff member at the library housing the microform printer your department's FOAPAL account number (a 25-digit number), your professor's name and your department. All the printouts will then be charged to the departmental account.

Can I place materials on reserve for professors?

Yes. Fill out a Reserve Form, available on the Information Processing and Management reserves page. On the form, you'll need to fill in your professor's name and course number(s), but if you are to be the contact person for these reserves, you can use your own telephone number and email address. If you do this, indicate in the "Notes" section of the form your name and position with the professor. To find out more about reserves, please visit the Collection Management Services website.

How do I apply to act as a proxy?

To obtain authorization both parties must complete and sign a "Proxy Request Form." The form may be filled in online but must be printed and signed by both parties. Completed forms may be turned in at the Circulation Office, Room 202 Main Library or the Circulation Desk on the second floor of the Main Library.

Proxy Form (92KB PDF)

Incomplete forms will not be accepted; Library ID numbers and signatures for both parties are required.

More questions?

If you have questions or need additional information, please Ask A Librarian!