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Region 5 Blog April 12th, 2024
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Spring Cleaning for your DOCLINE Routing Tables

Posted by on February 13th, 2024 Posted in: Resource Sharing & Document Delivery

Are you ready for Spring Cleaning? With a bit of tidying up, you can keep DOCLINE running efficiently for your library.

DOCLINE® is the National Library of Medicine’s interlibrary loan (ILL) request routing system. The purpose of the system is to provide efficient document delivery service. Tutorials and the manual are available online.

DOCLINE finds potential lenders for ILL requests via a routing algorithm that matches requests based on reported journal holdings.​ The routing algorithm is what makes DOCLINE ILL prompt and accurate. The system is intended for reciprocal ILL among biomedical libraries in the United States and Canada. Check your licensing agreements to see if you can lend internationally. 

DOCLINE enables libraries to borrow from and lend to one another. DOCLINE is not an article purchasing mechanism.​ The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some DOCLINE activities are suspended on U.S. national holidays. ​​Scheduled maintenance is announced to subscribers of the DOCLINE-L Email Discussion List.

There is no charge for participation in DOCLINE; however, interlibrary loan transactions between libraries may have a cost. Charges vary by lender.​ Medical Library Association’s EFTS program is an online billing system that collects an ILL charge and pays it to the lender, less a transaction fee.

To select lenders for your routing table, consider factors such as EFTS participation, ability to handle Rush and Urgent Patient Care requests, the lender’s performance statistics, and how much they charge per article. You can check Base Fees for any DOCLINE Library in the Lend Information section of their library profile. Look for Request Charges to see what the Base Fees are for individual lenders and if those lenders participate in Library Groups.

DOCLINE Library Groups consist of DOCLINE libraries who follow a shared set of lending rules when lending to each other. More information about Library Groups is available in the DOCLINE ManualMembers of the Library Group FREESHARE lend to other FREESHARE libraries at no-cost ($0.00 base fee). To participate in FREESHARE, your library must follow these guidelines:

  • Review your licensing agreements to make sure your library is legally allowed to provide no-cost lending for Interlibrary Loan.
  • Participate in FREESHARE by lending and borrowing in equal measure.
  • Contact your Regional DOCLINE Support coordinator (email link below) for more information or to be added to the group.

Libraries who participate in FREESHARE but do not follow the group’s guidelines will be notified and removed from the group. More information is available from NNLM.

We recommend that you check your Routing Table annually. If you see the label NLM Only, this means that the library is borrowing from the National Library of Medicine only. The library is not lending, and you will want to delete the library from your Routing Table. ​You may see the labels Temporarily Closed​ and Closed. You can keep the temporarily closed libraries in your Routing Table, but you will want to remove closed libraries. ​

If you would like a deeper dive, check out the recorded training that Margot Malachowski (Region 7) conducted for Maine librarians in December 2023. Routing Table Basics starts at 19:25 minutes.

Thank you to Margot Malachowski of Region 7 for writing and sharing this post with Region 5!

Need help with DOCLINE? Contact Region 5 DOCLINE Support, docline@uw.edu. 

Image of the author ABOUT Emily Hamstra
Emily Hamstra is the Assistant Director of NNLM Region 5.

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Developed resources reported in this program are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012343 with the University of Washington.

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