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Inter Library Loans and Document Supply: Downloading PDFs - solving problems

Downloading documents received via Adobe Live Cycle

As of January 2022, the majority of articles supplied by the British Library are now sent un-encrypted, which should enable problem free downloading, printing and saving.

You are entitled to print your BL article once and if you save it to your machine/device, you should always have access to it.

Some documents obtained via the BL's World Wide Search service however, still need to be sent encrypted. 

If you receive one of these documents and experience any difficulty accessing it, the advice below should help.

If it doesn't, please do not hesitate to contact us.


  • The BL uses a delivery system called DRM Lite to send their articles as securely encrypted documents. 
  • DRM Lite requires you to login to your document with a username and password you have pre-registered with their On Demand service. If you haven't done this yet, please do so now.
    • Please ensure that you use Firefox or IE (not Safari) to register.
    • Your username should be between 6 and 25 characters and use letter and numerals only. If you have already registered a username longer than this, please ring the BL for advice (01937 546060).
  • Once you have completed the first part of the process, a registration email will arrive in your account. This will contain a link which you should click on in order to activate your account. This is very important !
  • Once you have completed the registration please wait 10 minutes before trying to access your document, as it can take this long for the registration to become fully active.
  • If you registered some time ago and are not sure whether you activated the link or not, you can either ring the BL to check or go to 'My Account' ( login and click on 'resend activation email'. If you are not offered the 'resend activation email' option, this would suggest your account is already activated.
  • 'My Account ' also gives the option to request a reminder of your username and a new password if you've forgotten them.

If you have registered and are still having problems, please consider the following:

  • You should have Adobe 10 or higher on your machine (you should be using Adobe Reader not Adobe Pro to open your document).
  • It's probably best to use Firefox or Internet Explorer.
  • MAC devices using the Safari browser will attempt to open PDF's using the 'Preview' feature. This will result in the user seeing only blank pages. The MAC user will need to ensure that they have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed and then go to 'Finder' > 'Go' menu option > click on 'Downloads' > search for your document  and double click on it. OR, run the newly installed Adobe Acrobat Reader(click on the icon) > File > Open > Downloads > double click.
  • Browsers such as Chrome, Safari or Edge tend to default to inbuilt readers. We recommend that you go to Settings>Advanced>Downloads and select 'Ask me what to do with each download' so you can specify that you wish to use Adobe Reader or save it to your machine which might make it easier to access.
  • If while logging in to your document you get a message saying that you need to be connected to the internet, this suggests you may be using the wrong version of Adobe. Please ensure that you select Adobe Reader, either via the control panel: Documents > pdf > Open With > Adobe Reader, or use the option to change it within the document.

If these suggestions do not give you access to your document, you should contact us or the BL directly. Please do this as soon as possible, as the link only remains on the BL's server for 30 days. After this time you would need to re-submit your request.

If you need help outside of our office hours, the British Library's customer services team are available on 01937 546060, option 4 (09:00am to 16:00pm UK, Mon -Fri). Remember to mention that your document was encrypted and supplied via DRM Lite.

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