Document Delivery Policies


Document delivery and interlibrary loan services are provided expressly to support the clinical, research, and educational needs of the Feinberg School of Medicine community.

back to top

Order an Article or Book from Another Library: Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service is available to obtain books, articles and audiovisual materials not available in the Galter Library. This service is also used to obtain materials from libraries on the NU Evanston campus. Books are loaned in the original format and must be returned by the due date. Duplicates of articles are obtained in lieu of the original material and need not be returned. Loan periods and conditions vary. Users are expected to honor the conditions set forth by the lending library.

There is no charge for FSM faculty, staff, students and residents. On your behalf, the library pays any and all fees associated with borrowing an item from another library. However, there may be charges you are responsible for if an item we have borrowed for you is lost or damaged while in your possession. Alumni should use Loansome Doc for which there is a $25 charge per request.


To use ILL, users must create an account in the Interlibrary Loan @ Northwestern University system. A NU NetID is required. Order forms are available on the Galter Library website under Request Services and Materials or by using the following links:

Although the time varies widely depending on the availability of the item, typically users can expect to receive their requests within 7 to 10 working days. Materials coming from the Evanston campus generally arrive within 3 to 5 working days. The process can be expedited in the cases of emergency patient care or grant deadlines. Please contact the ILL staff directly for emergency requests.

Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery phone: 312-503-1908.

back to top

Order an Article the Library Owns: Photocopy Service

The library also has a photocopy service where FSM affiliates can request that electronic copies of print library materials be made for them. There is no charge for FSM faculty, staff, students and residents; alumni should use the Loansome Doc service for which there is a $25 charge per request. NU affiliates should not request articles already available in electronic format as these articles are accessible on the library's website. If you are unable to access an article for which the library has an online subscription, please contact the Reference Desk. Requests for items available to affiliates in electronic format will be canceled.

To use the Photocopy Service, users must create an account in the Interlibrary Loan @ Northwestern University system. A NU NetID is required. To request a photocopy, choose Order an Article or Book from the Popular Pages section on our home page or the Services menu on any library website page. Turnaround time is usually 72 hours. If you need it sooner, you may prefer to visit the library and copy the item yourself.

For more information, contact Document Delivery at 312-503-1911.

back to top

Eligibility for Document Delivery Services at Galter Library

Interlibrary loan (ILL) and document delivery services at the Galter Library are available to the following groups at no charge:

  • currently-affiliated Feinberg School of Medicine faculty, staff, students*, and residents
  • physicians and staff at NMH, RIC, NMFF, and NMPG
  • Feinberg School of Medicine faculty at locations other than NMH, RIC, and NMFF

*Students in the MS in Medical Informatics (MMI) and the MS in Clinical Research and Regulatory Administration programs should use the Schaffner Library's Interlibrary Loan services. You can still create an ILL account from this page, but you should choose Schaffner Library as your primary library in the online account profile.

Note for Alumni:  Document delivery services for alumni of the Feinberg School of Medicine are available through Loansome Doc.

If you are not a member of one of the above groups and you think you should still have access to document delivery services at the Galter Library, please contact User Services at (312) 503-8126.

back to top

Borrowing for non-Affiliates

The Galter Health Sciences Library provides access to biomedical journal literature to alumni, unaffiliated individuals and corporations via the National Library of Medicine’s Loansome Doc program exclusively.

Use of Loansome Doc services provided by the Galter Health Sciences Library requires a completed and signed Loansome Doc user agreement be on file at the library. Use of this service also requires the user comply with all regulations governing the service.

For more information, see Borrowing for non-Affiliates or call 312-503-1911.

back to top

Interlibrary Loan @ Northwestern University: Using the System

Is security a problem if I use a public workstation?

Yes. Web browsers cache information and create a history file on the local workstation. This allows a subsequent user of the workstation to access the system under your name using the browser's Back button to recall a page from the cache, or by finding a page with your personal information in the browser's history file. If you are concerned about the security of your interlibrary loan requests, you can take the following steps:

  • Access the ILL system only from your personal computer or an otherwise secure workstation.
  • When using a public access workstation:
    1. Delete from the history file those pages that contain your personal information.
    2. Exit from the web browser before you leave the workstation. This prevents the back button from accessing the pages you were using. It will also prevent the next person to use the computer from accessing your account.

Why don't I see all my older requests when I look at my request history?

From time to time we purge older records from the Interlibrary Loan system. Our policy is to keep requests online for several years in order to comply with record keeping requirements of the copyright law.

Due Dates

Lending libraries set due dates - and they are usually at least 4 weeks after the library sends the book or microfilm to NU.

Restrictions - No Renewal and In Library Use Only

These are conditions commonly placed on items by the lending library. These will be strictly observed.

back to top

Electronic Articles and Copyright

Whenever possible, we provide electronic copies of articles. There are times, however, that due to size or image intensity or quality we will provide them in paper format. Most documents will be in PDF format.

There also may be some copyright restrictions with articles and other electronic documents obtained through ILL. The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

back to top

Contacting Galter Health Sciences Library Interlibrary Loan

Stop by: ILL is open 8:30am - 4:30pm Monday-Friday and located on the First Floor of the Galter Health Sciences Library.

Call: (312) 503-1908 between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday -Friday


Any books you have requested will be available for pick up at the Galter Library Circualtion Desk during regular library hours. Any articles you have requested will be available for download when you log on to your account.

back to top

Updated: February 8th, 2018 10:37