We're in the preliminary stages of a similar project at Duke, so I'm interested in this question too. We have been using GFA to manage offsite storage of books and manuscript material for a few years now. We use Aleph as our ILS and we have created item records and barcodes for all of our manuscript containers (both onsite and offsite).
Patrons can initiate requests for offsite items through the OPAC (Endeca). Basically, they click a "get this title" button, authenticate through Shibboleth, and then select the items they want. For circulating library materials (not mss. or rare books), the requests are automatically transmitted to the GFA, the items pulled, and then sent to whatever service point the patron selected. For special collections material, however, the requests are mediated by reference staff through a very low-tech solution whereby the requests are printed out and then reference staff email lists of barcodes to our off-site stacks managers....not very efficient. We've found that the mediation is necessary because patrons were requesting more boxes than our shipping and receiving staff could reasonably handle.
So where does EAD come in? We haven't figured this out yet either. We are considering implementing Aeon, which allows patrons to make requests from finding aids, but currently we do not encode barcodes in our finding aids and I doubt we will undertake a project to insert barcodes in all of our existing finding aids. In short, like you, we haven't found a way to initiate requests for material in GFA directly from EAD.
We do display our container lists in our OPAC in a seperate "Inventory" tab, but patrons would have to find the container they want, then toggle to the "location" tab to make a request for that container.
See the following example for the tabbed display: http://find.library.duke.edu/results.php?type=books&recordid=DUKE004190949
At any rate, I'm very interested in this topic and curious what others are doing. Thanks for starting the discussion,
Archivist for Metadata and Encoding
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library
Box 90767, Smith Warehouse
Durham, NC 27708
[log in to unmask]