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The Basic Search Interface


The Basic Search page offers the most common searches people seek in the Members Directory: Looking for network members (a) in a particular state and/or (b) offering a particular service. All elements in this page are restrictive; that is, if you choose an options both drop down menus, you are likely to get fewer results than if you use just one of the menus.

Interface Elements

State: This drop down menu provides a means to filter by state (and other US territories recognized by the US Postal Service). You may only filter by one state at a time.

The second drop down menu provides a means to filter by the services the network member offers. Following is a list of possible options:

  • Loansome Doc articles. Loansome Doc® is a feature of PubMed and the NLM Gateway used to order documents found in MEDLINE. It is available to users in the United States and internationally. A user can order articles from a list of citations retrieved from PubMed or the NLM Gateway by sending them to a library to request the full-text documents. (Note: Some charges may apply for this service.)
  • Reference services (answering or referring reference questions).
  • Access to books and journals.
  • Database search training.
  • Database searches by librarians.
  • Internet training.

Access to these services may be searched for the following groups:

  • For the public:
  • For affiliated users:
  • For unaffiliated health professionals:

Note that both start off as "Any" or blank, meaning that no filter is applied by default. If you were to run a search without filtering, the result would be all NN/LM members.

The Advanced Search Interface


The Advanced Search page offers access to a wider variety of searchable fields than the Basic Search. Note that every field represents a new filter; by adding additional criteria, you further restrict which NN/LM members will appear in your results.

It is important to note that "less is more" here. The more qualifiers you enter into this search form, the less results you will get, on average. If you make a mistake in one entry, you can eliminate the result you were looking for entirely, even if your other entries are accurate for the network member you are seeking.

If you do not see the results you were expecting, try eliminating search terms to broaden your search.

Interface Elements

Institution/Library Name: This field searches for the names of network members. Your results will include all network members that at least partially match your text. For example, "child" will retrieve all members with any of the following words in their names: Child, Children, Children's, Childrens, etc. "Enter" will retrieve all members with any of the following words in their names: Center, Centers, Enterprise, etc. Please note: Some institutions, including many government agencies, can be "hard to find" if the recorded name includes an abbreviation (e.g., "Dept" instead of "Department" or "US" instead of "United States"). When you have trouble locating an institution that you are sure should be in the Members Directory, try increasing your retrieval by minimizing the text you are entering to something you are sure you will partially match (like shown in the examples above).

Staff Person's Name: This field is for the name of a person who works at the institution in question. You may enter any part of the person's first or last name. For example, "dan" will find Dan, Daniel, Danny, Daniels, Danielson, etc.

City: The city where the network member is located. This field can be shortened on the right hand side to include similar cities. For instance, entering 'Sea' in this field yields network members in the cities of Searcy (Arkansas), Seabrook (New Hampshire), and Seattle (Washington). Be careful about assuming you know what city an instituion is in! For example, many federal agencies are located in cites near Washington, DC (e.g., Bethesda, Alexandria, etc.).

State: This search field exists on the basic search form, and is covered in the basic help documentation.

Zip Code:This entry may be anywhere from 1 to 5 digits. Wildcard searches may only be done on the right side of the entry; that is, an entry of 981 would find all entries of the nature 981XX, and none of those like XX981 or X981X.

Region: The states and territories of the US are grouped into regions. There are eight NN/LM regions. To find out which region you belong to, take a look at the map (opens in separate window) on NN/LM's national homepage. Each region of the network is served by a Regional Medical Library. Each region also has Resource Libraries (which usually have larger collections and offer more services than other network members).

County:This entry is the county where the network member is located. The word 'county' should not be added here; when searching for 'Madison County', you would simply enter 'Madison'. Wildcard searches may only be done on the right side of the entry; that is, an entry of 'Mad' would find all entries starting with 'Mad'.

Area Code:The NN/LM Member's area code. This is an exact text only search field.

This search field exists on the Basic Search form, and is covered in the basic help documentation.

NN/LM has two different membership levels: full and affiliate. Checking both boxes will retrieve ALL members; checking one box restricts the results to just that one type.

Membership level differences are described here.

"Type," in this case, is the DOCLINE® library category, which is fairly self-explanatory.

Restrictions in this section are done in a boolean AND fashion. For example, if you were to check both "Only DOCLINE libraries" and "Only Ariel libraries", you would find only network members that offer both services, not one or the other.

Only institutions that serve health care consumers: Restricts to local libraries that provide services to consumers. (This is, in effect, whether the library is listed in the MedlinePlus® Find a Library directory as providing services to consumers.)

Only libraries with a consumer health website: This restricts to libraries that have consumer health website. (This search is independent of MedlinePlus status.)

Only resource libraries: The requirements for a resource library are fairly elaborate, and differ from region to region. Broadly speaking, a resource library may include (but are not limited to) the following criteria:

  1. Be willing to provide materials to whomever may ask for them
  2. The quality and size of the collection or uniqueness of materials must add significantly to the resources of the region.
  3. The library must provide special expertise which contributes to improving regional or national programs, in areas such as distance learning, advanced applications of technology to solving information delivery problems, digitization of information, library and information research.
  4. Agree to provide health professionals and other network libraries with access to books, journals, and audiovisuals via interlibrary lending mechanisms (possibly at a charge).

Only DOCLINE® libraries: DOCLINE is the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) automated interlibrary loan (ILL) request routing and order referral system. The system was developed to improve document delivery service by linking the holdings of member libraries and routing the ILL requests quickly throughout the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) and Canada.
For more information, see their info page.

Only Ariel Libraries: Ariel is a system used by some libraries to provide Internet document delivery. It provides a method for scanning paper-based literature and converting it to bitmapped image form for both interlibrary loan and document delivery to the desktop.

Only libraries with serial holdings: "Serial Holdings", in this case, refers to the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) database of machine-readable holdings statements for biomedical serial titles held by U.S. and selected Canadian libraries, primarily members of the NLM-supported National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM).

LIBID: The LIBID is an internally assigned identifier to libraries in the DOCLINE system. This feature is mostly for internal use.

OCLC Symbol: Founded in 1967, the OCLC Online Computer Library Center is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs. For more information, see their About OCLC page. The 'OCLC Symbol' is a 3- to 8-character unique identifier assigned by OCLC for each bibliographic record.

The Results Page

The results page displays a list of network members retrieved from your particular search. It contains controls to navigate through your list.

The navigation bar

These navigation structures are present at the top and bottom of a page of results. They have four control structures:

of XX
"Page": This button sets what "page" in the results you land on. How many pages there are depends on how many results you have in your search results, and how many you've set to display at a time. For instance, if you have 300 results, and use the default of 10 results per page, there will be thirty "pages" of results.

Show per page: The default number of members that are displayed at once per page is 10. Results outside the amount currently displayed on page are reached via the Quick Links section. The user may change this limit if they wish to view more or less results at once. Increasing the amount tends to slow the page down, as the results take longer for the server to process, and for their browser to display the page. This control also affects which "page" in the results you are viewing.

←Prev X (...) Next X→: This is another way of continuing to the next or previous "page" of results.

Google Map: This control will take all the network members in your result set, and attempt to display them on a Google map. Due to technical limitations, this system will only display 500 results or less at a time. If a network member is missing from the system, it usually means that Google was unable to determine a location with the available address data. The Google Maps system requires javascript to be enabled in your browser in order to function properly.

These links allow the user to navigate quickly through the states and cities that have been retrieved. Clicking on one of the blue hyperlinks in the Quick Links section will reset your displayed results to the first entry for that city. Note that display of the Quick Links is optional; you may hide or display the section by clicking on the Quick Links headline. If you do not need the functionality it offers, you may prefer to keep it hidden.

Results output

This is where the results of your executed search show up in summary form. Each summary has three main sections.

Here is an example of a network member result summary:

2) University of Iowa, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences - Interlibrary Loan
600 Newton Road
Iowa City, Iowa
Reference: Edwin Holtum, (319) 335-9154
Reference: Kathy Skhal, (319) 335-7636
Reference: Eric Rumsey, (319) 335-9875
Reference: Chris Shaffer, (319) 335-7221
  • Academic Library
  • Full NN/LM Member
  • Resource Library
  • Serves Health Care Consumers

The results in each column provide you with a brief synopsis of the network member. You can click the "Show Details" button to obtain a more in-depth look at the network member's information.

The following are provided in each column:

  1. The name and city, state location of the network member.
  2. A primary contact listing for the network member. (If a contact type was included in the search, this will be displayed, along with any reference telephone number listings).
  3. The type and membership status of the network member, optionally followed by other status information. Additionally, if the request included a SERHOLD restriction, the SERHOLD count is displayed here as well.