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LinkOut for Libraries Survival Guide

LinkOut for Libraries is a service that provides access for PubMed users to their library's journal collections, both electronic and print. When a user finds a citation in PubMed, he can click on his library's icon and see either the full text of the article or a listing of his library's print holdings. To test drive LinkOut, go to the NN/LM LinkOut Demo Site. Click on to the NN/LM Demo Site tab to see articles with the NN/LM Demo icon. (Note: this site provides access to one large library's print collection and to free full text journals so that you are able to experience clicking through to the full text.)

This page is designed to help you plan for LinkOut in your library.

How to Get Started

Here is an overview of what you need to do to have your library participate in LinkOut. These are explained in complete detail in the LinkOut Online Manual.

  1. Learn about LinkOut - Read especially the How LinkOut Works for LibrariesBefore Registering, and the FAQ.
  2. Manage your journal records - Discuss the program with your serials staff. To prepare for linking to full text of electronic journals, analyze your electronic journal holdings information. Make sure your DOCLINE serials holdings information is up-to-date. Determine who in your library will be responsible for maintaining your serials information in LinkOut.
  3. Register for LinkOut - Send an e-mail to NLM to get an account.
  4. Add your print holdings - Use the LinkOut Submission Utility to add your DOCLINE holdings or upload a text file if you do not participate in DOCLINE. Watch the 5 minute animated tutorial Library Submission Utility:Print Holdings.
  5. Add your online holdings -- Use the LinkOut Submission Utility to enter your online holdings or contact your journal vendor to see if they provide a service to do this for you. Watch the 3 minute animated tutorial Library Submission Utility: Finding Journals, and 5 minute animated tutorial Library Submission Utility: Online Holdings.
  6. Create and upload LinkOut icons - We recommend two icons, one for your print collection and one for your electronic collection. If you do not have staff to create icons, contact your LinkOut representative or use the LinkOut default icons.
  7. Create a Shared My NCBI account - With a Shared My NCBI account, you can include a filter in PubMed that will display the holdings of your library.
  8. Update the URL on your library web site - You will use a special URL to point your users to a version of PubMed that will display your icons. If you do not have a web site, let your users know the URL so they can access it directly.
  9. Publicize LinkOut - Let your users know about LinkOut, what it does for them, and how best to access your library's information.
  10. Ask questions - If you have questions, contact your LinkOut representative in your region of the NN/LM.


A good place to start is with the LinkOut for Libraries Training and Educational Resources


Here is a selection of resources that are available to help you use LinkOut:

More information is available on the LinkOut web site.

Journal Vendor Information

Some vendors provide assistance to libraries by uploading serials information for them to LinkOut. This is a valuable service that can save considerable time. Please note that, when a library uses a commercial vendor to upload holdings data, their data will not appear in the Submission Utility. A list of vendors that provide this service is available on LinkOut's Information For Libraries page.

LinkOut Contact

If you have any questions about LinkOut, please contact the National DOCLINE Coordination Office (NDCO) at 410-706-4173 or by email.