DOCLINE is an online interlibrary loan routing and messaging system for health sciences information. DOCLINE is meant to encourage resource sharing among libraries with collections in the health sciences.
DOCLINE matches requests for journal articles to potential lenders who report holding them. DOCLINE then sends the request to each of those potential lenders in turn, starting with the lenders which are considered most desirable by the borrower and progressing down the list until all potential lenders have been exhausted or until the request is filled.
Each library develops a routing table which lists the other DOCLINE libraries that the library wants to consider as potential lenders. These lenders are grouped according to preference. When a library puts a request into DOCLINE, DOCLINE will only send the request to the libraries on the requesting institution's routing table which report holding the required article; a potential lender of a request is a library which both appears in the requestor's routing table and which holds a copy of the needed article.
A routing table can consist of as many as 180 libraries arranged into 9 groups, or cells. Within each cell, libraries are given equal priority, but DOCLINE will try all potential lenders in cell 1 before trying any potential lenders in cell 2, and so forth.
Using DOCLINE can increase both the rate and the speed with which your ILL requests get filled. DOCLINE can reduce the overall workload of your ILL activities while at the same time enabling you to both borrow and lend more.
DOCLINE is a product of the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM). NLM started DOCLINE in 1985 to encourage local resource sharing and to reduce the burden on its own document supply services. In 1993, libraries in British Columbia joined DOCLINE as a pilot project. By the late 1990s, libraries in all provinces across Canada were participating in DOCLINE. By 2000, nearly 200 Canadian libraries were using DOCLINE.
More information about DOCLINE is available from NLM's Web site.
When the National Library of Medicine (NLM) started DOCLINE in the mid-1980s, it assigned responsibility for local administration of the system to eight regional medical libraries across the United States. When Canada started to participate in DOCLINE in the early 1990s, NLM assigned CISTI the responsibility for administering DOCLINE throughout Canada.
The DOCLINE coordinators provide support for users within their region. As DOCLINE coordinator for Canada, CISTI provides training and technical assistance, answers questions about the system, determines the suitability of new applicants, oversees the application process, disseminates information about the system, and acts as a liaison between Canadian participants and other libraries.