Loansome Doc® Information for Librarians

Loansome Doc® is a document ordering feature for PubMed® users. It provides a Web-based automated method for patrons to request copies of articles from your library. Because Loansome Doc is integrated with the National Library of Medicine's DOCLINE system, it can increase the accuracy, timeliness, and convenience of document delivery to your users. Any library that is a DOCLINE participant can provide Loansome Doc services.

If you have questions about Loansome Doc not answered in this document, contact the NN/LM DOCLINE Coordination Office (NDCO) or call 410-706-4173

Advantages of Loansome Doc

  • Requests received via Loansome Doc will contain correct citation information.
  • Requests may be conveniently receipted by the library, any time DOCLINE is available.
  • All requests will be in the same format.
  • Each request will carry a legible and correct user's name and address.
  • Users can check on the status of their loans themselves, using the Web interface.
  • New user services may enhance the status of the library in the eyes of the administration of the institution; particularly one that may attract referrals.
  • Requests are quickly and automatically routed to potential lenders.
  • Documents can be delivered directly to patrons.

Is Loansome Doc really any faster than the present system?

What is your present system? The user's request is transmitted to the library sooner than it would be if you had to wait for a note or play phone tag. Correct, legible, and automatic identification of the citation solves the problem of illegible or incomplete citations. In addition, the system will tell you which titles are held in your library, speeding library processing. System supplied ILL request numbers enable the transfer of requests into the regular DOCLINE system without re-keying. Direct delivery of DOCLINE fills to the requesting patron by mail or fax speeds the patron's receipt of materials.


Will you serve people who are unaffiliated with your institution?

You are not obligated to serve unaffiliated people, but you may be fulfilling your institution's mission by doing so. You may want to serve unaffiliated people if:

  • Your hospital or institution has an outreach mission.
  • You have a collection that can be of real use to a wider group of people.
  • You have the only library collection in an area that is largely underserved.
  • Unaffiliated users approach you for Loansome Doc service, indicating that they see you as "their" library.

Which unaffiliated people will you serve?

  • Only health professionals?
  • Non-health professionals?
  • Health professionals with a speciality that is appropriate for your library? For example, a nursing school library might serve unaffiliated nurses.
  • Only people within your city, county, zip code area, or state?

Patrons' Selection of an Ordering Library

How will NN/LM Regional Offices select the DOCLINE libraries to recommend to the health professional?

When a patron contact an NN/LM Regional Office, the office will suggest at least three potential ordering libraries. The Regional Office will tell the patron that charges and services vary by library and that arrangements must be made individually with each library.

A Loansome Doc patron may register with as many as four ordering libraries. The patron selects a principal library and, in addition, any request can by directed to one of the other libraries with which he or she is registered.

The Regional Office will use the following criteria in recommending libraries to patrons:

  • For health professionals, the library of a hospital where the patron has admitting privileges.
  • The closest library to the patron's workplace or residence that serves unaffiliated users.
  • At least one library with a very large collection, such as a Resource Library.
  • When appropriate, a library with a strong collection in the patron's area of interest.

NN/LM Regional Office office staff will not attempt to tell users about the various pricing or service policies of a library, merely that prices and services vary and that arrangements must be made individually with the library.

When a health professional calls an NN/LM Regional Office, will he/she receive a list of library names and LIBIDs?

No, only the library names, contact persons, and telephone numbers.

Is every DOCLINE library obligated to offer Loansome Doc service?

No, Loansome Doc participation is voluntary.

Can a library stop participating easily, if necessary?


Services to Be Offered

What services might your library offer?

  • You might provide "pull-only" service for items held in your collection.
  • You might give Loansome Doc users a list of your journal title holdings to make it easier for them to see what is available locally.
  • You might offer training on NLM search interfaces (such as PubMed and MEDLINEplus) and the Loansome Doc service.
  • You might offer rush service, either for clinical emergencies or any time it is requested.
  • You might provide fax delivery from your library to another office in your institution.
  • You might provide long distance fax delivery.

What service might a library provide for health professionals in the hospital when the library does not normally "pull" or photocopy materials for them?

Loansome Doc may prompt health professionals to request additional services. It is up to each library to set its own service policies for different categories of users. Your service agreement for affiliated users could state that the library reserves the right to decline to make copies from journals held in the library.

Charges and Billing

What should you charge?

You may set whatever charges you need to; there are no recommended national charges. Comment cards sent to health professionals to gauge their reactions to the program indicated that the single greatest concern was about charges. So, if you want to attract Loansome Doc customers, your charges will be highly influential.

Some libraries have formulated contracts, approved, in some cases, by the hospital risk management department. Your charges may depend on the following:

  • Whether the individual is affiliated with your institution.
  • Whether the individual is a health professional.
  • The method of delivery (pick-up in the library, fax, mail).
  • Whether it is a rush request.
  • Which costs your institution requires you to cover: paper? your time? wear and tear on the collection? postage? long distance fax charges?

Remember: the more complicated your charging structure is, the more complicated your billing mechanism will need to be.

How might you collect charges?

  • Establish standard prices that average costs of individual requests; this reduces time spent figuring charges and also lets your users know exactly how much documents will cost when they order them.
  • Establish deposit accounts. (This cuts down the cost of the invoicing and eliminates the problem of uncollectible bills.)
  • Bill monthly or quarterly (to cut down the cost of invoicing).
  • Offer comprehensive library services, including Loansome Doc, for an annual fee.
  • Have users pay when they pick up documents in the library.
  • Charge to department budget numbers within your institution for service to affiliated users.

Who bills the user? The Loansome Doc library or the DOCLINE library to which a request has been referred?

The originating Loansome Doc library bills the user. DOCLINE libraries will continue to bill the originating library.

If a request is entered into DOCLINE, and the lending library sends the document directly to the patron, the requesting library will have no proof of the copy being delivered other than the date on which it was updated as filled in DOCLINE. What should be done?

It is up to the library whether or not they will have the fills mailed or faxed directly to the health professional, or have them sent to the library first. That policy could be covered in your written service agreement.

Consortium and Local Group Participation

What sort of Loansome Doc plan might a consortium or state group have?

Elements of such a plan might be:

  • A recommended charge for Loansome Doc within your area so that health professionals can know what to expect.
  • A referral arrangement, e.g., DOCLINE libraries could arrange to accommodate users who are affiliated with a non-DOCLINE library; a pediatric hospital could arrange to take all unaffiliated pediatricians.
  • An agreement that libraries won't bill each other even if they are billing the users.
  • An agreement about the appropriate library for Loansome Doc service for a health professional who has multiple affiliations (e.g., has admitting privileges at several hospitals).

DOCLINE Institution Record

Verify that the Loansome Doc information in your DOCLINE Institution Record is current and correct.

Confirm that your "Provides" service and "Charges" for service values accurately reflect your service policies for each user category (e.g., Affiliated user, Unaffiliated Health Professional, etc.) Check the box under Provides if you provide service for that user population, and the box under the Charges column if you charge that user group for Loansome Doc service.

Consider using concise "Loansome Doc Comments" to describe your library's services.

Loansome Doc Comments are entered in the "Loansome Doc Services" section of your DOCLINE Institution record's "Services and Fees" screen. They display to potential and current Loansome Doc users on the "Find a Loansome Doc Library" search results. These comments allow libraries to communicate key facts to users searching for a document delivery provider, and will depend on local policies and procedures. Sample wording:

  • If you require a deposit account or other advance billing arrangement, "Deposit account required for users not employeed by institution. Call 626-555-1212 to establish account using credit card. See our web site for available services and fees."
  • If you offer special service and charge for it, for example same day service, "Same day service for articles requested by 10am Eastern Time. $7 per article for materials owned by library. $11 fee for material obtained from other libraries."
  • If you serve affiliated users only, "Service provided to faculty, staff, and full-time students of Anytown University," or "Service available to employees and medical staff at all facilities in the Anytown Health system."
  • If you require your Loansome Doc customers to complete a separate registration with your library, "Must also complete library registration form. See our web site to complete library registration. No requests will be processed until both Loansome Doc and library registration are completed."

DOCLINE Routing Table Changes

Should your DOCLINE routing table change because of Loansome Doc?

The advantage of Loansome Doc is that it simplifies and speeds up getting the requested document to the user. If you have libraries in your routing table that do not provide speedy service, now may be the time to remove them. Cost will probably be more important to your Loansome Doc users than speed of service, but, if you are charging, you may well hear complaints when service is not good. Good service may also include accurate work, clear photocopies, cooperation with special requests, etc. Your cells may be more profitably used to list larger libraries with high quality service and moderate charges than libraries with minimal collections that do not charge. Those larger libraries could be placed in higher cells to allow use of the smaller, less expensive libraries first.

Can DOCLINE libraries that do not wish to participate refuse Loansome Doc requests?

Once the Loansome Doc request are put into DOCLINE they become regular requests and will be automatically routed like all other requests. A DOCLINE library does not have the option of automatically refusing Loansome Doc requests. Remember, Loansome Doc represents a change in the method of transmitting document requests from a user to his or her library; many DOCLINE libraries have traditionally served non-affiliated health professionals for a charge.

How does Loansome Doc affect copyright law compliance?

In Loansome Doc, before users can Order, they must read the standard copyright compliance notice. For more information on library photocopying and copyright, you may want to refer to Circular R21, "Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians" issued by the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, telephone (202) 479-0700 or "The Copyright Law and the Health Sciences Librarian," revised edition, Medical Library Association, 1989.

Are requests that come from Loansome Doc users that are transferred into DOCLINE included in the CONTU guideline of five, in which articles from the last five years of a journal may not be requested more than five times within the past year?

Yes. Once a request is transferred into DOCLINE it should be treated like any other DOCLINE request that your library initiates.

Other Library Policies

About your library and its policies...

In addition to a description of your services (see What Services Might You Offer above) users may also ask you about the following:

  • Your LIBID. Users will ask for your "ordering library ID." This is the piece of information your users must get from you in order to activate their Loansome Doc document ordering capability.
  • What turn-around time to expect from your library: 1) how quickly you read their requests, 2) how quickly you fill requests for items you own, and 3) how quickly other libraries fill your interlibrary loan requests.
  • How they can check the status of their requests.
  • How they can cancel a request. (For example, will you accept phone cancellations?)
  • When you will cancel charges. (For example, will you cancel charges only if they notify you in time for you to Cancel the request on DOCLINE?)

Loansome Doc Training

Who trains the health professional?

Librarians currently offering instruction on NLM search interfaces, such as PubMed and MEDLINEplus, might expand their training to include Loansome Doc. Other libraries may want to offer Loansome Doc instruction as a way of promoting the service.

Will Loansome Doc training sessions be held for library personnel?

Contact the NN/LM DOCLINE Coordination office (410-706-4173 for DOCLINE or Loansome Doc training and presentations.


How can a library market Loansome Doc?

  • Create a special Web page to publicize the service. Here are examples from some Loansome Doc libraries:
  • Design bulletin boards, posters, or other displays for the library or staff.
  • Place announcements on a hospital's computer or web site.
  • Place announcements in state, county, and local health association journals.
  • Place announcements in in-house newsletters.
  • Place announcements in the local newspaper.
  • Place announcements in college and university newsletters or alumni bulletins.
  • Exhibit Loansome Doc at medical fairs.
  • Offer Loansome Doc instruction.


What will be the impact of Loansome Doc on QuickDOC?

QuickDOC accommodates Loansome Doc.