Today the National Library of Medicine announced the consolidation of the LinkOut for Libraries programs into a single service: Library LinkOut using Outside Tool. NLM formerly provided three library services to allow PubMed users to access full text journal content through their institutional subscriptions: LinkOut via Submission Utility, LinkOut Local, and Outside Tool, which has seen great success and use. To continue providing excellent service, it became evident that upgrading and streamlining the system would be both necessary and beneficial. Each library’s holdings files include tens of thousands of PubMed queries for each journal subscription. Using new technology will provide a streamlined approach for more efficient, effective, and reliable daily PubMed indexing. No functionality will be lost as a result of this change.
Library LinkOut using Outside Tool, which has been renamed to Library LinkOut, has important advantages for libraries and their patrons. Libraries can place their icon on every PubMed citation. A link resolver directs users to the full text of an article that is available in the library or to the library’s Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service. Libraries no longer generate and maintain their extensive holdings records in the Submission Utility. NLM staff can now process new account registrations quickly. PubMed Mobile will be replaced by the new and responsive PubMed site that will display Library LinkOut icons. Considering over 40% of PubMed users access the site using a mobile device such as a phone or tablet where the icons are currently not visible, this will be a great improvement. Library users will not lose access to their library’s journals subscriptions during this transition, as the publisher supplied icons typically link to the same full text content.
LinkOut via Submission Utility and LinkOut Local will be available during the transition period, but libraries will need to switch to Library LinkOut to continue seeing their icon in the new PubMed. NLM will no longer process new registrations for the other services. NLM anticipates defaulting users to the new PubMed in late summer 2019 and will continue to run the old system in parallel until the end of 2019. To register for Library LinkOut (i.e., Outside Tool), libraries will need to set up a working link resolver that directs users to the full text of an article or to the library’s ILL service. Libraries will also need an ILL form that can pre-populate with PubMed citation information. Complete information on the registration process can be found in the NCBI Bookshelf.
To help with this transition, every LinkOut account will receive an email notice. A list of frequently asked questions is also available. Additionally, NLM staff will hold webinars in April and May about these changes to LinkOut for Libraries and answer questions about the transition. Details about the webinar will be announced soon. Questions about this process may be directed to the NLM Support Center.