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The Interlibrary Loan Service is available to help you obtain material not held by the University Library. We will try to find the item for you via the British Library or other UK institutions. Only material to support academic study, teaching or research may be requested. Journal articles, book chapters and conference papers will be supplied electronically where possible. Book requests can only be supplied as physical copies. 

IMPORTANT: From August 2023 the library covers the cost of 6 interlibrary loans for undergraduate students and 20 interlibrary loans for final year undergraduates, research students, postgraduate students and staff. A fee of £7.00 will be chargeable for a journal article and £20.60 for a print book when those limits are reached. 

The Interlibrary Loans service is not currently available to students at partner colleges including Robert Kennedy College. If you are unsure if this affects you, please email with your student number.

Interlibrary loan request form


  • Please read before requesting

    • Books - Check OneSearch to make sure the book is not held in the University Library. Often a keyword search on your chosen subject area will reveal material held in the Library which may be equally relevant to your study. 
    • Journals - Use Journal Search to check that the Library does not subscribe to the journal in print or electronic format (it may be available in an alternative eresource).
    • You may find open access articles by searching Google Scholar 
    • Here are three useful tools to help you discover Open Access content online:
    Open Access , Open Access logo  EndNote Click (formerly Kopernio) Automatically search the Library's subscriptions, pre-print servers, institutional repositories and private blogs for free PDFs. Works with Web of Science, Pubmed, Google Scholar and 1000s of other academic platfroms including ScienceDirect and JSTOR.


    Add the Unpaywall app to Chrome. Search for content that you can use legally.  Sources include repositories run by universities, governments, and scholarly societies, as well as open content hosted by publishers.

    Open Access Button

    Use the Open Access search box to locate the OA version of an article, or add this extension to your Chrome browser. 


    • If you are a member of academic staff and require a copy of a work to use in a module you are teaching, please contact the scanning service.
    • Distance learners requesting print books via interlibrary loan must join the postal loan service in order to have books posted out to them. Recorded delivery service must be used to post the interlibrary loan items back to the university library. In case of any lost or damaged items the borrower will be charged the British Library's Lost Item Charge and administration charge which is currently a minimum of £214.30 *more will be charged if the item is particularly expensive to replace. 
    • Alumni borrowers can request up to 6 items per academic year, any renewals or requests for items beyond this limit will be charged at the current rates that the items are supplied to us. Overdue items will incur a cost of £1 per day and British Library, as of 2023, charge libraries over £220.00 for extremely overdue books – this cost will ordinarily be passed on to the borrower. 
    • Community borrowers can request interlibrary loans through their public library service and sign up to use the British Library's document supply service, On Demand, as individual users by creating their own account.

    If you have any queries please email the Interlibrary Loan Service.

  • Interlibrary loan guide for students and academic staff

    The library covers the cost of 6 interlibrary loans for undergraduate students and 20 interlibrary loans for final year undergaduates, research students, postgraduate students and staff. A fee of £7 will be chargeable for a journal article and £20.60 for a print book when those limits are reached. 

    Whilst the library will make every effort to obtain items requested, supply of the items or delivery times cannot be guaranteed with charges incurred being non-refundable.

    If a member of staff wants to submit a personal interlibrary loan request (not related to employment) they will be then be charged the full British Library cost or advised to use the public library.

    Students and staff will be notified when an interlibrary loan is received via their University email account. Book and photocopy requests must be collected from the library during staffed hours.

    Articles obtained from the British Library will normally be emailed to you to download via DRM Lite service. Please see the section 'Accessing your interlibrary loan' for instructions on creating a British Library account. Articles may also be delivered to your email via PDF and in some instances, we will obtain articles in print if no other options exist.

    The return date for print items is set by British Library or our other partner lenders, so taking postage times into account you may not have the item for very long. 

    Check that you are requesting only one article from the same journal issue – more than this infringes copyright. If you need several articles from one issue the whole issue can be requested to borrow.

    Fill in as much detail as possible on the form as this will speed up delivery, too little information and British Library will reject the request.

    Scanned PDFs of print journal articles held at other campus libraries can be provided, please email to request.

    Renewals will cost the borrower £6.25 per renewal (if the lender allows renewals).

    Overdue items will incur a cost of £1 per day.

    British Library, as of 2023, charge libraries over £220.00 for extremely overdue books – this cost will ordinarily be passed on to the borrower. 

  • Accessing your interlibrary loan

    We cannot guarantee how long it will take to supply an interlibrary loan item, as it depends largely on the supplying library, and whether the item is already on loan to another user. Sometimes the library may decide that they will not lend that item to us, or cannot lend it due to copyright or other restrictions. If this is the case, we will try to obtain it from another source, but this will inevitably mean delays.

    For this reason, we ask you to allow a minimum of at least 10 working days when you place your request, to allow us time to supply the item, and for you to have time to make full use of it. We can often supply journal articles within 3-4 working days, and books within 6 days, however we cannot guarantee this, so we recommend that you place your interlibrary loan request as soon as you can.

    The British Library (BL) usually supplies journal articles to us electronically through its Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) service. SEDs are documents which are encrypted and Copyright-protected, so they can only be accessed and viewed in a specific way, and for a limited period.

    Please follow the instructions below to ensure that you can open and use your document successfully, and also please note that:

    • You will need to register for BL On Demand to access, print, and read your SED document (see below).
    • You must ensure that your BL username is less than 30 characters and does not contain the @ symbol; see the DRM Lite Guidelines and FAQs for more details.
    • You must use Adobe Reader version 10 or above: the document will not open in any other .pdf reader.
    • We will send a one-use only link to your UoC email address. The document is locked and this link can only ever be used by one user.
    • This link will enable you to access and download the document; you must do this within 30 days of BL sending us the link.
    • You can only ever print ONE copy of this document, and this must be done within this 30 day period, so please follow the instructions below very carefully.
    • Please note that if you miss the 30 day download deadline for a DRM article via the British Library, we will then charge you for the cost incurred for the second request which is variable.

    For more information, please refer to the BL On Demand pages.

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