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Drexel Libraries Staff Reflect on the importance of DOCLINE as the Service Turns 35

February 2, 2021

Thirty-five years ago, the National Library of Medicine launched DOCLINE, an interlibrary loan system that supports resource sharing among medical libraries. The Drexel University Libraries has been a member since almost the very beginning. Drexel joined the service through its merger with MCP Hahnemann just two years after the service launched.

“MCP Hahnemann was already a member of DOCLINE when it merged with Drexel University in 1987,” said Lynda Sadusky, Librarian for Shared Access at Drexel. “At the time, it was MCP Hahnemann’s primary source of biomedical articles, and that continued after Drexel and MCPHU merged and up until we joined RapidILL, another resource sharing service. Now, Drexel Libraries uses DOCLINE to fulfill requests for medical articles not available through RapidILL.”

Thanks to DOCLINE and other services like it, libraries can provide clients with quick, efficient, and free access to a wider range of resources that goes beyond their individual collections. In fact, over the last 35 years, more than 65 million ILL requests have been made by libraries using DOCLINE.

It is that efficiency and breadth of service that made DOCLINE such a groundbreaking service 35 years ago—a benefit that continues to this day.

“Through this system, requests for literature are automatically matched to libraries that are able to lend their articles and books to clients. The service is completely free to members, and currently over 2,700 libraries across the US, Canada and Mexico belong to DOCLINE and utilize the service,” Sadusky explained. “The impact of this service—particularly on smaller hospital libraries and public health service libraries often with limited budgets—is amazing. For example, in FY20 alone, the Drexel Libraries sent 6,770 unique articles to libraries across the country. Without services like DOCLINE, some of these libraries (including the Drexel Libraries) couldn’t easily provide access to key research articles they need. We can’t wait to see what the next 35 years with DOCLINE brings.”

Learn more about DOCLINE and the other interlibrary loan services the Drexel Libraries provides for faculty, staff and students.