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In Sweden, as in Scandinavia generally, the interlibrary loan service is widely extended. The large research libraries traditionally follow a very liberal lending policy. Of fundamental importance to the Swedish interloan system is the maintenance of a union catalog. The free flow of materials from one library to another is facilitated by the franking privilege accorded public institutions.
During the fifties, the idea arose of establishing acquisitional cooperation among the research libraries in Sweden. The highly developed interlibrary loan service was of basic significance for the realization of this project. In 1956 the possibilities were investigated of further expanding the acquisitional cooperation to include the greater libraries of Scandinavia. Thus, the so-called Scandia Plan was born. In 1960 the time was ripe to discuss the possibilities of applying the Scandia Plan to medical literature. At a meeting that year it was agreed that such cooperation could apply only to the literature which from a Scandinavian point of view would be considered peripheral. The plan was to include periodicals only, and be restricted to materials which, mainly for language reasons, are infrequently used in Scandinavian research. The task of acquiring such periodicals could be divided between the different libraries of the four countries. Such an arrangement would make it economically possible to increase the common stock of medical periodicals and avoid unnecessary duplication of material least in demand.