ILL Committee Liaison Reports--National Library of Medicine

January16, 2003

Kenneth Niles
Head, Collection Access Section
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
(301) 496-5511

Summary Highlights of Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery at the National Library of Medicine for FY 2002


Late in 2002, the DOCLINE Interface Review Team awarded a purchase order for web application design and usability support for a redesign of DOCUSER, the library address and ILL information module of DOCLINE.
NLM programming to implement the redesign will follow and should be completed in time for a late spring/early summer release.

The specific goals of the redesign include:

· Improved usability overall
· Adding requested enhancements received from user feedback
· An improved HELP system. NLM has selected RoboHelp Office to produce a new Help system.


In mid-December, NLM signed an agreement between OCLC and NLM for the implementation of the SERHOLD to OCLC program. After matching OCLC records with NLM records and when NLM is satisfied that the correct records have been updated, we will load OCLC numbers into our database and proceed with the next phase of the SERHOLD to OCLC pilot project. Once the pilot project is successfully completed, NLM and OCLC will announce to the network the implementation of the SERHOLD to OCLC batch update program.


Two libraries are participating in the OCLC to SERHOLD pilot project, to electronically load holdings to Serhold directly from OCLC without rekeying data. OCLC has provided NLM with holdings data for these libraries and we are currently reviewing this data.

SERHOLD and LinkOut

For a trial period last year, LinkOut, for libraries to check their SERHOLD data, was made available to several libraries to test. In October this feature was made available to all DOCLINE libraries. LinkOut is a feature of PubMed that is designed to provide users with links from PubMed and other Entrez databases to a wide variety of relevant web-accessible online resources, including full-text publications, biological databases, consumer health information, research tools, and more. The SERHOLD/LinkOut program loads SERHOLD journal holdings data into LinkOut enabling users to verify if their library owns the volume cited in a PubMed record.

Billing – The Electronic Funds Transfer System (EFTS)

In October NLM announced the award of a sub-contract to the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC, Farmington) for the national implementation of the Electronic Fund Transfer System (EFTS, ).

The EFTS is used by health sciences libraries for payment of interlibrary loan transactions. It centralizes this activity by electronically billing system participants, thereby reducing the number of checks needed for invoice processing.

The National Library of Medicine is working with the University of Connecticut to implement the EFTS and NLM expects to become a participant this year. It is expected that, after implementation of EFTS is in place in the U.S., the Canadian health sciences library community will be invited to participate through CISTI.

An EFTS listserv ( ) is now available for subscription. Network members are encouraged to join the list to facilitate communication between EFTS and libraries in each of the NN/LM regions.

The list can be joined via (choose "Library Science," then "EFTS-L") or by sending a message ("subscribe EFTS-L your_name" or "join EFTS-L your_name" in the body or subject line) to or to The EFTS also has a toll-free number: 1-866-561-5045. DOCLINE libraries that want to know what the plan for EFTS in their region is should contact their Regional Medical Library at 1-800-338-7657.

ISO/Interlibrary Loan Protocol Interoperability Testing

As was previously reported at the Annual Meeting last June, NLM has tested the ISO/ILL Protocol with three vendors:
RLG's ILL Manager
· Fretwell-Downing's VDX system
· In April 2002, NLM began testing the protocol with OCLC. NLM's implementation of the ILL protocol with OCLC will allow DOCLINE users who do not have an ISO/ILL compliant system to send unfilled requests to OCLC from DOCLINE. From that point, the user will manage the request from OCLC.

During this year NLM experienced communication problems when testing, which was a major factor in the delay in any planned release for the protocol.

NLM purchased and installed a second server that will be used for production with the ILL ISO Protocol. NLM also completed initial testing of the new server with RLG and will conduct functional testing with RLG during January and February. NLM plans to release the ILL Protocol in production in the spring with a DOCLINE library that uses RLG's ILL Manager.

ILL Web Form

NLM has created a web form for customers to report problems for filled ILLs and is available at ( and it is also available through DOCLINE Help. The form is based upon feedback from production use. Submitted forms are transmitted directly into the NLM’s Customer Service System and greatly speeds up processing of reported problems.

Electronic Delivery of ILL

The first quarter FY2003 confirms the trend of reduced demand for print document delivery copies at NLM. Electronic delivery comprised 67 percent of the requests filled compared to 33 percent for mail and pick-up delivery. Electronically delivered requests were 39 percent for Ariel, 6 percent for fax, and 22 percent for e-mail.

Network requests show 66% for mail, 19% Ariel, 10% for fax, and 5% for email.

Document Delivery for Electronic Journals

There is little change in the process for interlibrary loan delivery of articles in electronic format. For onsite patrons, NLM provides access to over 1,150 items available electronically with only 135 of these items being used to fill interlibrary loans.
NLM continues to fill requests for items in dual formats, electronic and print, from the print equivalent. Additionally, articles that exist only in electronic format are printed off and processed for mail delivery. However, items available free in PubMed Central and other free e-journal sources may be rejected. NLM continues to investigate systems to automate the process of linking citations to the e-journals and delivering these articles electronically.

Reference and Customer Service

Customer Service requests were down 12% in FY2002 when compared to FY2001. New security measures implemented at NIH and NLM following the events of September 11, 2001, seem to be having a long-term impact, resulting in lower use and in fewer 1st time visitors to the library.

International Libraries

Mexico to join DOCLINE
With the February DOCLINE 1.5 release, selected libraries in Mexico will be able to add holdings to SERHOLD, enabling them to share resources among themselves and border libraries in Texas.

In FY2002 there were 49 libraries using DOCLINE and/or Loansome Doc in (37) countries outside of the U.S. and Canada. Loansome Doc is the document-ordering feature of NLM’s PubMed database of indexed medical journals. International Loansome Doc users accounted for 7% of all Loansome Doc traffic in FY2002, or about 51,000 requests. (The heaviest users are in Germany, and in a variety of Asian counties served by the Chinese University of Hong Kong).

There are 301 full DOCLINE libraries in Canada, and 5,680 registered Loansome Doc users.

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