Extras – Document Delivery on the World Wide Web

Frank Warren is President of Instant Information Systems and has been providing full-text medical document delivery for over a decade. Instant Information Systems developed and maintains www.docdel.com – a free directory indexing hundreds of document delivery resources and host of the document delivery listserv.

While providing medical document delivery, I have seen the demise of some major document suppliers and witnessed several new methods for retrieving documents. But most surprising, to many of us in the field, is that we still send runners to libraries to physically copy articles for our clients. Fax machines, scanners, and online ordering have altered some parts of the process but much has remained unchanged since copy machines were introduced to libraries.

When I started Instant Information Systems in 1988, the fax machine was being introduced but the Internet was largely unknown. Now the Internet provides myriad resources available for document suppliers and those who use them. In fact, there is so much information available now that it can be difficult to separate the good from the best. The following collection is a select list of the most valuable URLs we have found after a decade of service. Enjoy your peek into our “URL little black book”.

Metasites and General Directories

This is one of the most comprehensive document delivery directories on the Web. A well organized metasite containing hundreds of resources and suppliers world-wide. All the URLs listed here and more can be found there.
FIDDO (Focused Investigation of Document Delivery Options)
This site profiles dozens of document delivery services. Very detailed listings make this a useful URL for single site comparisons. Sponsored by Loughborough University, FIDDO provides an international scope on DocDel projects, standards and resources.

Finding the Right Supplier

The Document Delivery Finder
This tool allows the user to search for a document retrieval service by country or subject specialty. Over 60 subject specialties make this an ideal source to find the right document delivery provider.
The Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP)
Here the user will find a membership directory from the association and while most members do not provide document delivery as their primary service, many do. The search instructions found at the top of the page make it simple to locate those members who specialize in supplying documents.
Burwell Enterprises
The Burwell World Directory of Information Brokers is the most comprehensive list of independent information professionals in the world. A searchable database makes it easy to quickly find those companies that specialize in document retrieval.

General Copyright Resources

The Copyright Clearance Center
The C.C.C. is a not-for-profit organization created to help organizations comply with U.S. copyright law. Through its collective licensing programs, C.C.C. provides authorized users with a lawful means for making photocopies from its repertoire of more than 1.75 million titles. Search the database to find the royalty cost for coping from a particular journal.
Copyright Law in the Electronic Environment
This University of Texas resource gives an excellent overview without the jargon. Answers to frequently asked questions and a “crash course” section organize the information very well.
The U.S. Copyright Office
A metasite covering many broad topics. Useful links to a wide variety of other copyright resources. Also useful is the fax-on-demand service at (202) 707-2600.
The AALL (American Association of Law Libraries) Copyright Committee
The URL presents guidelines on the fair use of copyrighted works by law libraries and a model law firm copyright policy. In addition, AALL guidelines on the fair use of copyrighted works by law libraries are available.

Document Delivery Listservs and Discussion Lists


An unmoderated list for the discussion of document delivery and related information industry concerns. Topics include document delivery, copyright fees, ILL, industry conferences, events, resources, publishers, and vendors. Typically one to two posts a week.
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1,000 Yes Yes No send email to:
[email protected]
[leave subject blank]
[in the body type]
subscribe DocDel


An unmoderated Australian-based forum for all aspects of Inter Library Loan and Document Delivery. Topics may include: policies, seminar or workshop announcements, procedures, and questions.
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400 Yes No No send email to:
[email protected]
[leave subject blank]
[in the body type]
subscribe doclibs


A mailing list devoted to the issues surrounding Fee-Based Information Service Centers in Academic Libraries (FISCAL). This list is currently not very active but members are responsive to a range of questions including document delivery.
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387 Yes Yes send email to:
[email protected]
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[in the body type]
subscribe FISC-L yourfirstname yourlastname


Do you know of additional docdel resources on the Web? Email them to me and I will add them to this list.

Posted in: Document Delivery, Extras