United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Fact Sheet
Interlibrary Loan

Most of the general and historical collections of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) are available through interlibrary loan to any library. NLM provides copies of journal articles and loans books, audiovisuals and microforms. NLM's interlibrary loan services are available only to libraries.

NLM is the library of last resort for materials that are not available from local or regional libraries. Individuals who need access to medical literature should make a request through a local library or register with a Loansome Doc® library that agrees to provide articles to them. See also more information on free biomedical literature resources from NLM and other sources.

Requests sent to NLM must comply with the following instructions and with the provisions of the National Interlibrary Loan Code of the American Library Association (ALA).






Note: post-1913 monographs, post-1969 audiovisuals* and microfilm should be returned to the Collection Access Section. Pre-1914 monographs and pre-1970 audiovisuals* should be returned to the History of Medicine Division.


CHARGES - Effective December 2003


Do not send payment with the loan request. NLM issues its bills quarterly. NLM prefers to bill customers through the Electronic Fund Transfer System (EFTS). As needed, NLM can issue invoices to libraries through the National Technical Information System (NTIS). Interlibrary loan service will not be provided to libraries with delinquent accounts.
Keep a copy of each loan request form. The loan request number appears on the detailed transactions reports provided by EFTS and NTIS and is needed to interpret the charges. NLM is unable to provide a second copy at the end of the quarter.
Electronic Fund Transfer System (EFTS)
The Electronic Fund Transfer System (EFTS) is a transaction-based electronic billing system developed by the University of Connecticut Health Center for ILL and document delivery charges. NLM participates in the EFTS for billing DOCLINE libraries for NLM-supplied documents.
All DOCLINE libraries are encouraged to join. EFTS reduces the need to create invoices and to process reimbursement checks for interlibrary loans between participants. EFTS also provides monthly detailed transaction reports, the ability to handle differential charges (such as additional rush or fax charges), the ability to vary charges to members of special groups, and the ability to handle non-DOCLINE transactions.
National Technical Information Service (NTIS)
Libraries must establish a deposit account with NTIS to facilitate payment. After establishing an account, the library should deposit an estimated amount of funds in U.S. currency that it expects to spend.
Invoices will be issued quarterly by NTIS, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Virginia 22161 and are payable to "NTIS". Coupons are not accepted as payment for these charges.


Many of the photographs or slides of portraits, prints, charts, and other pictorial works in the collection may be viewed in the Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/ihmfact.html). See more information about ordering copies from this database.
Interlibrary loan policy and charges also apply to audiovisual materials. An exception is made for laser discs -- this format is not circulated. For questions about borrowing audiovisual* material produced before 1969, contact the History of Medicine Division.


For journal material published after 1870, monograph material published after 1913 and audiovisual* material produced after 1969:

National Library of Medicine
LIBID: MDUNLM (Regular) or
LIBID: MDULMF (Clinical Emergency)
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20894
Telephone: (301) 496-5511
Fax: (301) 496-2809
Email: custserv@nlm.nih.gov
For journal material published before 1871, monograph material published before 1914 and audiovisual* material produced before 1969:

National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20894
Telephone: (301) 496-5405
Fax: (301) 402-0872
Email: custserv@nlm.nih.gov

*All 16 mm audiovisual films are serviced by the History of Medicine Division.

A complete list of NLM Fact Sheets is available at:
(alphabetical list) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/factsheets.html
(subject list): http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/factsubj.html

Or write to:

Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20894

Phone: (301) 496-6308
Fax: (301) 496-4450
email: publicinfo@nlm.nih.gov

Last reviewed: 04 November 2008
Last updated: 04 November 2008
First published: 10 June 2003
Metadata| Permanence level: Permanent: Stable Content
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