by PJ Grier, Outreach/Access Coordinator
There are two prime resources managed by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) where the public can locate the contact information of our members in the Southeastern Atlantic Region (SE/A) of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM). The resources are MedlinePlus and NN/LM Members Directory. A third resource is LoansomeDOC® which is also used by the public, but requires registration for access. All three frequently rely upon some type of dataset transmission from DOCLINE®.
For consumers needing information on libraries in their local communities that are open to the public, they can perform a “look-up” search using a feature of MedlinePlus called Find a Library. The feature works by selecting a state from a drop-down menu and then clicking on the “Go” button. The result lists libraries alphabetically, by city or town. Library information (including address, phone number and URL) is pulled from the Institution Page of the DOCLINE® account holder on a weekly basis. Consumers rely on the accuracy of this information to inform them of choices that they may want to make in contacting and/or visiting a local health sciences library. If your library is listed in MedlinePlus, we urge you to locate your library by searching for it, as described above. Once you locate the MedlinePlus library record, please verify that all information is correct, especially any URLs that are shown. Click on the URL to make sure that you are taken to a viable and working library site at your institution. It is strongly recommended that you incorporate this process into your library’s workflow at least once a year or sooner if there is an organizational change. On the other hand, if you want to be listed in this optional service, visit the DOCLINE® help page for instructions on being listed in the MedlinePlus Consumer Health Libraries service.
The NN/LM Members Directory is purposed differently. It is a database that includes records of NN/LM’s members, their services, and how to contact them. It also contains a subset of detailed data from DOCLINE® and it is imported to the NN/LM servers every night, and access is provided to the public via the Members Directory interface. Data includes various types of services offered to the public, unaffiliated health professionals and affiliated individuals among other things. Importantly, anyone can use this resource including private sector business vendors, self-employed worker, competitors, consumers, etc. to get an accurate picture of a library’s service offerings. The SE/A office will often refer callers inquiring about document delivery/LoansomeDOC® services and associated pricing to search the directory for a library that meets their needs. In other instances we’ll refer callers who are seeking information about accessing a health sciences collection that is open to the public. The database satisfies the public’s need for library information and has multiple ways to search via the Basic or the Advanced Search feature to return local, statewide, regional or national results.
A third resource managed by NLM but not publicly accessible unless a person is a registered user is LoansomeDOC®. LoansomeDOC® also relies on the accuracy of library information data in DOCLINE®. For example, during the end-user registration, LoansomeDOC® performs a real-time query of a selected library’s data to complete the registration process. You’ve guessed it: DOCLINE® is key to all three of these NLM services. Keeping your DOCLINE® institutional account information up-to-date is also very essential to the SE/A Regional Medical Library office and to other network members for communicating. It is the only official means that we have to contact network members for any reason and for network members to contact each other. Typically, items needing frequent updates are the staff contacts (including phone numbers and email addresses) on the People Page in DOCLINE®, because staff changes occur at any time. More static items include library, billing, document delivery, and internet addresses. These addresses should be reviewed yearly for accuracy. Pay particular attention to internet addresses (URLs) as these may change without your awareness, especially if another department within your institution controls them.