Network of the National Library of Medicine
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Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan Plan

The goal of the NNLM Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan Plan (Plan) is to provide biomedical and health information efficiently and effectively to a variety of users in a shared resources environment that spans both traditional interlibrary loan (ILL) and other library mediated information services. The Plan ensures that affiliated and unaffiliated health professionals, researchers, clinicians, librarians, and the public have equal access to biomedical and health information. The principal objective of the Plan is to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public health through access to health information.

The NNLM DOCLINE Coordination Office (NDCO) is jointly responsible for carrying out this Plan with the Regional Medical Libraries (RMLs) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Together they foster collaboration among NNLM DOCLINE participants to improve access to health information through sharing their respective collections. The NDCO develops, implements, and evaluates a program designed to provide health professionals and the public across the country with a basic level of ILL and document delivery services to include:

  • Access to books, journal articles, and audiovisuals;
  • Access to online databases in the health sciences

Each RML serves as a resource library for its region to provide ILL and document delivery services, including services to unaffiliated health professionals. Unaffiliated health professionals are those that are not directly affiliated with an institution served by its own medical library. The RML identifies and negotiates formal agreements with other libraries in its region with sufficient collections to also serve as resource libraries for the NNLM.  
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) develops and maintains systems to help libraries provide equal access to biomedical and health information to health professionals and the public. DOCLINE is NLM's free, automated ILL request routing system that provides efficient ILL procedures among participating libraries.  
The NDCO supports NNLM members who participate in DOCLINE, in collaboration with the RMLs. The NDCO and RMLs monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan Plan (this plan) to assess its effectiveness in meeting NNLM goals and to identify and resolve problems which impede the effective delivery of health information services. The NDCO provides the National Network Steering Committee (NNSC) with regular feedback and participates in review of the program.