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.


The name for the national union list for print journals.  The task and finish group which is managing the project will add any further information here. 

Why printDocs?

INCDocs has been a tremendous success; you report it as having been transformational!  Following a review into the impact of INCDocs, we found:

  • about 33% of document supply requests were being satisfied from print holdings
  • INCDocs is estimated to save 15,000 hours of staff time each year

As INCDocs is the place to go for NHS electronic journals, it makes sense to have one place to go for NHS print journals, hence printDOCs.  It will save staff time having to search mutliple regional catalogues for print journal holdings.

How will it work?

printDocs will combine all details of NHS print journal holdings in one place and be hosted on Koha.  This ties in with the majority of regional LMS systems and will be able to take advantage of the integrations and streamlining we're commissioning for the Koha ILL module.

Services already using Koha will use the ILL module to check availability and place requests.  Services not using Koha will be able to search printDocs and place requests for articles via their local module or use the requesting functionality included within printDOCs.

Affiliates (non-NHS libraries) which are members of the INC Scheme will be able to add their holdings to printDOCs too.  Our analysis found that there were a substantial number of requests which could only be satifsfied from affiliate journal holdings.

Holdings will be migrated from the existing regional catalogues and systems.

Administrative support will be provided.

What should I do?

Ensure any holdings you have listed on your regional catalogue or system are accurate.  We will be issuing further guidance on the standards for records later. 

For the moment please ensure your print journals have an ISSN, delete any holdings which no longer exist on your shelves, and delete any e-journals,

Holdings Manager is the place for your e-journal holdings.  This data populates INCDocs.

A task and finish group has been established to manage this project.  It may ask for your help to test printDOCs.

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.

Professional collections

The library staff professional collections within KSS and PANDDA are available to library staff in the NHS in England.

Requests should be submitted via local NHS libraries and the usual interlending processes.

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