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Mickey G Honchell

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BEACON Express FAQBEACON Express FAQ

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about BEACON Express

What is BEACON Express?

BEACON Express is an online request system which the JPL Library has implemented to automate document delivery and interlibrary loan processes. It is based on a Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software product called ILLiad licensed from OCLC, Inc.

BEACON Express which is also known as ILLiad is the electronic system you use to request an item through the JPL Library and Interlibrary Loan.The name ILLiad can be thought of as an acronym for InterLibrary Loan internet accessible database.

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How is ILLiad better than traditional document delivery and ILL systems?

  1. You will find it easier to submit your requests. With this request system, you enter your name, address, and other personal information into the system only once, at the time of your first request.
  2. Your request will be handled more rapidly and accurately as problems relating to misinterpretation of hand-written requests are eliminated.
  3. You can get many of your photocopies more quickly through Electronic Delivery.
  4. You can get information about the status of your request through the Web at any time from any location without having to call the Library.
  5. Library personnel are able to serve you better because all data about your request and its handling is stored in a searchable database. We are able to respond quickly to your inquiries about your request. We are also able to gather statistical information about the performance of the libraries that lend to us, enabling us to make better decisions when choosing a lender to supply an item.

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Who can use BEACON Express?

JPL employees, interns, on-site contractors, and affiliates.

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Why do I need a username and password to use BEACON Express?

By using your JPL username and password, BEACON Express users are automatically validated against the JPL Directory using LDAP, thus allowing us to give you secure access to your personal account and information about your library requests.

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What if I forget my password?

Please refer to https://eis.jpl.nasa.gov/dir/jpldir for information about your JPL password.

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Is my address and user information automatically updated when I change locations?

No. Unfortunately our database is not linked to any internal directories. When you log in, the automatic validation that checks against the JPL Directory is used only for access purposes. You can update your user information by selecting on “Change User Information” from the Main Menu under the Tools options.

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Will I be charged for my request?

The library does not charge for its services. The only time you will be charged is for photocopies when we send an item to Reproduction Services or if we are charged by another library for an Interlibrary Loan request. We always try the free sources first when submitting Interlibrary requests for photocopies or books. The average cost for an Interlibrary Loan from an institution that charges is from $10.00 to $15.00 – some may charge up to $20.00. If you prefer to use free lending resources, then you can add an account called “Free Sources Only” to your BEACON Express user account and select it when placing a request.

Book Purchases are list price minus the vendor’s discount which ranges from 5-20% plus shipping.

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What Web browser should I use?

You need a Web browser that can handle forms, tables, and preferably Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). We recommend the current versions of either Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.

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Why don’t I see all my older requests when I look at my request history?

From time to time we purge older records from ILLiad. Our policy is to keep requests online for several years in order to comply with record keeping requirements of the copyright law.

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What is electronic delivery?

Many libraries ship photocopies of articles to us in electronic format. In the past we printed these articles before delivering them to you. Now, through ILLiad, we are able to offer you the option of electronic delivery of these articles in PDF format (Adobe’s Portable Document Format).

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Who do I contact if I have problems with or questions about ILLiad?

System Problems or InterLibrary Loan Questions: InterLibrary Loan office at (818) 354-9258 or e-mail to beaconexpress@jpl.nasa.gov

Technical Support Questions: E-mail anytime to beaconexpress@jpl.nasa.gov

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Why does my browser say that you’re sending a cookie? What’s in it?

The technology that we use sends a Session ID to be stored on your machine. You can refuse this cookie and still be able to use ILLiad without any problems.

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