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Public Services Division

Collection Access Section

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) holds nearly 19 million book and non-book items, with the majority of these being held in the General Collection. The Collection Access Section (CAS) is the department of NLM that provides access to library materials held in this collection. These materials include printed journal literature published after 1870 and books published after 1913, as well as more than 30,000 current audiovisual materials. Earlier materials are managed by the History of Medicine Division (HMD).

CAS provides access to the General Collection mainly through on-site stack access and through interlibrary loan (ILL) and clinical emergency service.

CAS also manages DOCLINE®, NLM's automated interlibrary loan request, routing, and referral system, for sending and receiving document requests. More than 3,000 health science libraries across the U.S. and Canada, and many libraries worldwide, use this system to process their document requests. Loansome Doc®, an end-user program used by health professionals to submit their individual loan requests for articles to their library electronically is also provided through DOCLINE. Loansome Doc® is also linked to PubMed, which provides free access to MEDLINE, NLM's database of more than 11 million bibliographic citations and abstracts in the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, health care systems, and preclinical sciences.

More information on all collection access services provided by NLM

On a typical workday in the Collection Access Section,

  • More than 7,000 requests are processed by the DOCLINE system
  • 1,200 DOCLINE requests for materials from NLM are received by CAS
  • 20 clinical emergency requests are supplied within two hours of receipt
  • 500 stack requests are processed for Reading Room patrons