PCIRC Priorities

Every member institution of OhioLINK is assigned a PCIRC priority number for participating in the PCIRC online lending and borrowing system.  This page explains the "why" and "how" of the PCIRC priority.  If you still have questions, please contact Nichole Frederick (ncollier@ohiolink.edu) or Theda Schwing (tschwing@ohiolink.edu).



OhioLINK established the priority system in the early 2000s to help balance the lending across the state.  Prior to that, every institution had an equal chance of being a lender for any particular item.  The system just simply chose randomly from a list of available copies.  Since some institutions had stronger and larger collections than other institutions, this meant that those institutions often became the lender of choice.  This caused some inequities in lending where some institutions were major lenders while other institutions remained major borrowers.  It was decided that an attempt would be made to equalize the lending and borrowing so each institution’s ratio of lending to borrowing was as close to one to one as possible.  A priority table was established in which each institution was assigned a number to reflect their lending status.  The higher the number, the higher the chance of your copy being chosen to be the lending copy of all the available copies in the list.   This table, although not perfect, has balanced the lending to borrowing ratios for many institutions.


Initially, there were two levels of priority an institution could be assigned:  low or high.   If your institution tended to be a net lender, you were assigned a low priority.  A low priority caused your library to receive fewer requests on average than if you had a higher priority.  A high priority meant the opposite in that you were generally a net borrower.  In this scenario, the high priority would cause your library to generally receive more requests than if you had a lower priority.  We found that with just two priorities, some institutions would swing rather dramatically between being a net lender and a net borrower.  So, a third priority of medium and then a fourth priority of medium-high were added to make those swings less dramatic.

Priorities for each institution (and they are only by institution, not by PCIRC stop), change twice per year, once in July for the fall semester and again in January for the spring semester.  How they are determined is that OhioLINK staff review the lending & borrowing ratios for each institution (using PCIRC statistics).  The closer an institution’s lending & borrowing ratio is to 1, the more balanced their lending and borrowing are.  Any ratio that is more than 1.10 is considered a net increase in lending and the priority for that institution is lowered one level (i.e. they will lend less in the next semester).  Any ratio less than .90 is considered a net borrrower and their priority is raised one level.  If an institution’s ratio falls between .90 and 1.10, then they are considered in balance and their priority level stays the same.

Many institutions prefer to be net lenders.  These institutions are allowed to remain at high priority to maintain that status.  Other institutions may have some local issue with staffing or facilities and need to temporarily lower their priority to lend less.  This is allowed.  Just contact Theda Schwing if you have a special need.

Current Priorities

The current library priorities are posted here. They are updated approximately every six months.