About INCDocs, the INC scheme and ILDS


INCDocs is provided by Third Iron using their LibKey technology.  It uses the electronic journal holdings listed in Holdings Management of all instances of the NHS Knowledge and Library Hub.  It provides:

  • links to the PDF of articles available in nationally, regionally or locally subscribed content
  • links to the PDF of open access articles
  • the functionaility to request articles from other NHS libraries with electronic holdings of the journals in which articles are published

INCDocs uses randomisiation to select a library, from those with holdings, to supply the article in response to a request.  More information may be found on the service desk

See what are the copyright implications of INCDocs? for information about copyright and the statement to send to your requestors.

Standards for INCDocs

  • use INCDocs first for journal article requests
  • respond within 24 hours and a maximum of 2 working days
  • if a request is urgent, contact the supplying library to check whether they can supply within your time frame
  • you must process INCDocs requests, unless your reason for declining is listed in the guidance
  • ensure your holdings are kept up-to-date and accurate
  • remember that there are alternative sources for articles; if you receive more than three declines from INCDocs, consider using one of these alternatives

Print journals

Currently print journal holdings are listed on 6 regional catalogues. Following an analysis of the impact of INCDocs on the volume of requests for articles being sourced from print holdings, NHSE has decided to set up a national union list of print journals.

INC scheme

The Inter-Network Collaboration (INC) scheme is a reciprocal inter-library loan and document supply scheme for NHS libraries in England.

There is a rota to determine the order in which to approach networks to satisfy ILDS requests.  This is to ensure a fair distribution of requests between regions.  


EDEN may be approached for journal article and book ILDS requests

The order in which EDEN libraries approach other INC networks is:

  1. EDEN
  3. SWIMS
  4. LENDS
  5. MIDS
  6. KSS (SENDS)

Check availability: East of England NHS Libraries

Libraries unable to supply articles: CM

Libraries unable to supply books: CM

For INC scheme members, see the list of EDEN libraries on HLISD.  For EDEN network members see the full list of member libraries.

EDEN network lead: Beverley Walsh

Alternatively the the INC rota is available as a chart.

If you cannot source the article you are seeking within any of the networks, and your user is likely to need to share the copy with others, consider obtaining a Copyright Fee Paid (CFP) copy.

See copyright for more information.

Important information about using the scheme:

  1. Use the good practice guidelines, and any regional or local protocols for supplementary information.  See the summary/training aid.
  2. State your network and network code clearly when requesting from another network.
  3. Check whether a potential supplying library has last resort status and apply elsewhere if possible.
  4. Treat LENDS and MIDS as separate networks. Other networks should ignore the ‘Request publication’ option on the Lawmunion catalogue.
  5. In your library record on HLISD please do not list the other networks in the INC scheme – please only list the collaborative networks of which you are a member.

Other sources

As a last resort, before turning to paid-for services, email requests to the HealthILL or LIS-ILL mailing lists.

These are sources for which you need to pay to obtain articles, books or chapters:

Strategic Inter-Network Collaboration Group (SINC)

SINC has oversight of inter-lending and document supply (ILDS) in NHS Knowledge and Library Services (KLS) in England.

The resource sharing environment

In 2020, HEE commissioned Ken Chad Consulting for a market review and options appraisal for KLS resource sharing in the NHS in England.

See Ken's final report: NHS library resource sharing: market review and options appraisal.  It was published in June 2021. 

Page last reviewed: 2 February 2024