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Inter Library Loans and Document Supply: Before you submit a request

Before you submit your request

Before you submit an Inter-Library Loan request, please consider the following:

Is your request for a commercial project or sharing with colleagues ?

If it is, please go to the Welcome page and read the copyright section of the Inter Library Loan service rules, then use the Copyright Cleared Material Request form link to submit your request.


If the request is for your own private research or study....

Have you checked 'Library Search' for the item you require?

'Library Search' replaces Summon and the Library Catalogue. A thorough check of it can save you valuable time, as the item may well be available in our stock, either on the shelves or electronically. Use the links below to check the item you require.

Searching for books in 'Library Search'

Searching for journals/articles in 'Library Search'

N.B. If a book is missing from stock we will accept an inter library loan request for it.

If it is in stock and on loan you will need to request it on the system. Instructions for reserving books are included in the link above.


Is it officially an open access item?

A lot of material is now available on Open Access. The browser extension 'EndNote Click' can be easily downloaded onto your device and will find open access or publishers' versions of articles.


Will you get the material in time?

Where articles are available digitally at the British Library, the response may be quick.  However, when articles have to be scanned or books requested, delivery times are dependent on availability and current workload at the BL or alternative locations, so a fast response cannot be guaranteed.  Please bear this in mind when submitting your request and contact us if it is very urgent. if there is a date after which the item will no longer be of any use, please enter this in the relevant box on the form. For items needed urgently, you may be able to consult them at the British Library but you should always check availability and access with the BL before travelling to its Reading Rooms.  


Are you able to collect and return books from and to the library in person ?

Books on Inter-Library Loan have been supplied from another University's stock. As such they cannot generally be posted to you**, so you must be able to collect them from and return them to the library in person. If you are unable to do this, we may be able to arrange a for scan of a single chapter to be sent to you (anything more contravenes UK copyright rules, so please do not request multiple chapters from the same work). If this would be helpful, please submit a request giving the details of the chapter you require.

** If a home delivery is possible, this will be discussed with you before we process your request.

Will this material advance your research?

If in doubt, ask for advice from your Liaison Librarian.


Have you requested this item before?

You should not request the same item more than once. In addition, copyright law forbids the photocopying of more than one article from a single issue of a journal or more than one chapter of a book.


Are you requesting a UK PhD thesis?

You should go straight to EThOS** (the BL’s electronic thesis online service) as many UK theses are available as a free download or can be ordered. Please note that we will cover ordering/digitization costs if you are on an MPhil or higher programme. Please contact us for further details.  If the thesis is not on EThOS you should check the online repository of the awarding institution to see if it is held there. If not held there, please contact the author and ask if they would be willing to supply you with a copy.

If you are still unable to source the thesis, please contact us (use the 'Unpublished Work' request form).

**Due to a cyber attack on the British Library EThOS is unavailable for the time being.

Are you requesting a PhD thesis held at an American University Library ?

You should check the awarding institution's Repository, as the thesis may be available there. If it isn't, you should check Proquest's Dissertation Express, as Open Access U.S. theses may be available to download there or available to purchase. 

If it's not there either, you should try contacting the Author to see if they would be willing to supply you with a copy

If you are still unable to source the thesis, please contact us (use the 'Unpublished Work' request form).