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NLM Technical Bulletin

NLM Technical Bulletin 1997 May-Jun; 296



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NLM Online Users' Meeting - May 1997


MEDLARS Remarks
DOCLINE Remarks
dot Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

Question: When you use FTS2000 to access MEDLINE, after logging off (by entering STOP Y) you are disconnected and have to log back in to get into DOCLINE. If you are connected to DOCLINE, after exiting you are returned to a menu screen and can get to MEDLINE without having to go through the process of logging in again. Why is this?

Answer: We are currently limited to this system of disconnect in order to allow Grateful Med for DOS and Grateful Med for the Macintosh to recognize the fact that a search session was completed.

Question: Will the comments requesting "Refer On" to another library in the notes field (in DOCLINE) still work after the Library has changed over to Relais?

Answer: Yes, the automatic referral will continue to function as it does now. The comment "REFER ON" will be ignored by Relais. However, if NLM is unable to fill the request, then DOCLINE will check SERHOLD to identify a potential lender that reports holding the title and year and/or volume requested. The request will be referred to the potential lender.

Question: What is the announcement that NLM will be making tomorrow?

Answer: The announcement will deal with Web-based access and pricing issues. [Editor's Note: See the cover story of this issue for a late-breaking update.]

Question: My question is about the address that prints at the bottom of the sheet showing the location of the library that is filling the DOCLINE request. Would it be possible to add the LIBID for the library that has filled the request? This would be very useful to non-university libraries who use a coupon system that requires a LIBID to identify the filling library and the charges.

Answer: Anything is possible. One of the limitations is the amount of space available on the sheet. It hasn't been requested before. NLM will evaluate this request for further enhancements.

Question: NLM's preference for electronic document delivery (faxing) can mean an expensive surcharge for requesting libraries. Interlibrary loan requests may be filled by local libraries long before reaching NLM and selecting FAX as the preferred mode of delivery is likely to be costly. Selecting FAX (when you don't know who will ultimately be filling the request) makes predicting the cost of the delivery of a particular article difficult. The additional cost may be minimal if NLM fills the request, but substantially more if another library is providing the service.

Answer: NLM does not have a "preference" for faxing documents; the Library is interested in knowing what your preferences are. If you have a preference that documents come by FAX or Ariel, that will work very well for NLM under the Relais scenario, as those documents will be scanned and delivered automatically. However, if you prefer that the request go to one of your local providers, regardless of fax delivery, you can continue to put "Please fax or Ariel" in the Comments, which will work if it reaches one of your local providers first. With the advent of Relais, in the future there may be a variable rate for delivery where the cost of paper document delivery may rival the cost of electronic document delivery.

Question: When is Relais being implemented? Is there any talk of opening up SERHOLD to read only access? When you have finished with a DOCLINE request, you cannot go into the DOCLINE system and get a status report. There is no ability to print a record from the past if you've lost the paperwork. Will the new Relais system permit this?

Answer: Relais will be implemented at the end of summer/early fall. NLM is evaluating the possibility of allowing users to have read-only access to SERHOLD. Once the request has been updated in DOCLINE, the potential lender cannot retrieve any information on the request. As a borrower, requests remain available in STATUS for fifteen days from the date the request is completed, i.e., filled or not filled. This will not change when Relais is implemented at NLM because Relais is an internal, independent system from DOCLINE. The DOCLINE system transfers requests to Relais for NLM processing and the results (filled or not filled) are then transferred back to DOCLINE. No outside user has access to the requests when they are in the Relais system.

Question: I have a question about routing through different levels. I always check the first level to see if somebody has the journal; we've set up our table based on cost. It appears that some requests have skipped the first three tables, where we know somebody has the journal. Is there some reason for this?

Answer: There is always a reason why this happens. The program does not arbitrarily skip a table, it will go through the whole first cell looking for a hit. If you have a specific example, call the DOCLINE Service Desk and they will trace it for you and give you a reason.

Question: Regarding the delivery of documents, for those of us who can't use Ariel because of security concerns at our hospitals, is there any consideration being given to document delivery via e-mail?

Answer: NLM will be testing e-mail as a method of document delivery here at NIH. Relais is being installed at the NIH Library. They are part of the agreement with the Relais contractor. Documents will be sent to NIH physicians via e-mail in the test phase and this option will be made available to the public once it's been tested.

Question: I am teaching Internet Grateful Med to health professionals and the classes are held on the weekend. When Internet Grateful Med goes down it creates big problems, because support is limited.

Answer: Internet Grateful Med (IGM) is normally available 24 hours a day, except for a few minutes at 11:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and for a few hours starting at 11:00 p.m. on Fridays. There is no other regularly scheduled downtime. The IGM Development Team generally fixes bugs and does updates when the mainframe is scheduled to be down.

IGM has been in production for slightly over a year now. Unscheduled downtime has occurred, but generally has been brief. Staff at the Customer Service Desk is alerted to IGM server or network problems that occur on weekends. Therefore, the 1-888-FINDNLM number should be your contact point if you suspect problems.

NLM is working toward a long term solution that will ensure that IGM receives the same level of support as the mainframe computer. This should provide adequate staffing to deal with most problems that occur.

Question: With the new delivery method as a selection on your DOCLINE request, if you put in Ariel, but you would rather that it would go to one of your local providers first, and get it as quickly and as cheaply as possible, is there a way to put it in DOCLINE with an option for a two tier mode?

Answer: There is no way to do this currently. The best solution currently available is to put mail in as your delivery method and in the comments continue to put "Fill by Ariel". The only place that won't work is at the National Library of Medicine, because we read the delivery method by machine. Everyone else can continue reading the comments and fill by whatever method is established, either in the delivery method or by the method given in the comments field.

Question: If when I'm searching a MEDLARS database, I find a gap in coverage for a journal title, should I report this to you? Should I report it even if it's an old issue that appears to be missing (from the seventies)?

Answer: If you believe that an issue has been published that should be cited in MEDLINE, please contact us. We want to hear about gaps, even if they are from older issues. Send in your reports of gaps to the MEDLARS e-mail address, mms@nlm.nih.gov or you can call the Customer Service Desk at 1-888-346-3656 [corrected 12/31/1997] with the information.

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