Resource Sharing

One of the benefits of being a member of IAMSLIC is the Z39.50 Distributed Library and Interlibrary Loan program, with more than 90 IAMSLIC member libraries from more than 25 countries offering materials to other member libraries via interlibrary loan and document delivery. Through the IAMSLIC Z39.50 Distributed Library website, member libraries can search the Z catalog and the Union List of Marine & Aquatic Serials and then initiate their interlibrary loan request.

The Z Catalog

The Z catalog uses the Z39.50 protocol to simultaneously search the online catalogs of a number of member libraries and then brings together the results of this search for review. It also retrieves serials holdings from the Union List of Marine & Aquatic Serials. Z catalog search options include title, keyword and author searches. Search results, if any, from the Union List are presented first, followed by results from participants library catalogs. In some institutions, the online catalog is a union catalog of many different branch libraries within the institution. When you search these combined catalogs through the Z catalog, the local holdings information about which branch owns a particular item is not always available. If you see a record that contains a hypertext “Link” in the “Electronic Version” field, click on the link to connect to the full-text document, if it is publicly available. You may also want to search using the search interface of an owning library’s catalog to determine more information about the item. You may do this by going to the list of participating libraries to connect to the owning library’s catalog.

The Union List of Marine & Aquatic Serials

The Union List contains selected serials holding information, largely from libraries that do not have online catalogs that can be searched via Z39.50. The Union List is included as one of the searchable resources when you search the Z catalog, but it may also be searched separately.
Searching the IAMSLIC Z39.50 Distributed Library versus Searching the Union List of Marine & Aquatic Serials
If you are seeking detailed holdings information for a particular journal title in order to initiate an interlibrary loan request, the Union List may be your best starting point because you can quickly navigate to a particular journal title to see who owns it. On the other hand, if you are willing to weed through a list of search results that includes materials other than journals, a search of the Z39.50 Distributed Library will often reveal additional owning libraries for the journal title you’re interested in.
Participating in the IAMSLIC Z39.50 Distributed Library
IAMSLIC member libraries are invited to participate in the Z39.50 Distributed Library by contacting Steve Watkins at If your library catalog has Z39.50 capability, you will be asked to provide the IP address or domain name of your catalog server, the Z39.50 server port number for incoming queries, and the internal database name for Z39.50. IAMSLIC member libraries without Z39.50 capability can participate in the Union List by contributing their journal holdings using a simple set of web-based forms. Alternately, a list of journal titles and holdings in spreadsheet format may be able to be imported into the Union List. Records are then exported and indexed for Z39.50 retrieval through the Z Catalog.For more information about searching the Z Catalog or the Union List, contact the chair of the IAMSLIC Resource Sharing Committee or visit the website at Additional help is available at

Resource Sharing Searching Tutorial

Duplicate Exchange
IAMSLIC members are encouraged to use the IAMSLIC Discussion List to share information about duplicates that are available to send to other libraries and also to post lists of desiderata, items sought for library collections. Please indicate “DUPS Offered” or “DUPS Needed” in the subject line of such messages to the Discussion List. For questions or comments about the duplicate exchange program or other issues related to resource sharing, please contact the Resource Sharing Committee.
See also Partage des ressources (French) and Recursos Compartidos (Spanish) versions of this page