Getting to know “doc del”
A core activity of the College library is delivery of copies of articles and other documents such as white papers and book chapters to registrants, a service affectionately known as “doc del.”
Occasionally, registrants enquire about “doc del” and library staff are pleased to provide answers to some of those questions:
- Will the library locate copies of articles for registrants?
The library locates and delivers copies of articles upon request. Almost 20,000 articles were located by library staff in 2019 (more than 63,000 articles were downloaded by staff and registrants using the library website).
- Is there a limit to the number of articles a registrant can request?
No, registrants can request as many single copies of articles as they like. The first 200 documents per year are free and beyond that are $3 each. The library has handled requests from one article up to 250 articles at a time. Registrants may download an unlimited number of articles directly from the library website.
- How quickly are documents delivered?
Turnaround time is routinely within 24 hours, Monday to Friday. With COVID-19, some sourcing is more complicated and can take a little longer. Obscure articles may also take longer, such as articles from nineteenth and early- to mid-twentieth centuries or very highly specialized journals. Requests for numerous documents may also take several days to deliver.
- What if all the details of an article are not known?
If all the information known is that an article by Smith was published five years ago in a journal with a red cover, library staff can work with that. Registrants should supply whatever details are available and staff will do their best to track documents down. Of course, more accurate details can lead to faster response times.
- What happens if there is no copy in the library’s collections?
Library staff borrow and lend with Canadian and US medical and academic libraries. Among these libraries are those at NASA, Johns Hopkins University, and the US National Library of Medicine. Their various geographic locations can impact the turnaround time because of time zones. Typically, the library absorbs the cost of locating copies from other libraries.
- Can registrants request articles on non-medical topics?
Yes, articles on practically any topic can be located. Non-academic formats can be sourced too, such as newspaper and magazine articles.