Inter-library loans

We can usually obtain material that isn't part of our stock for you from another source (e.g. the British Library) as an inter-library loan.

The inter-library loan service is free for staff and students (costs are covered by Library Services). Non-academic and retired members of staff should talk to the inter-library loans team. Read more about the service.

Making an inter-library loan request

Before you start

  • Please check Library Search to ensure that we don't already provide access to the material you require.
  • If you need a UK thesis, please use the British Library’s EThOS service (normally no charge). If you can't get a thesis by EThOS, or if you want a non-UK thesis, please contact us.
  • If you need a large number of items for a research project or assignment, please contact your Subject Librarian to discuss possible alternatives.

Request books and other formats
Request articles and papers

Cancelling or amending a request

To cancel or amend a request, please contact the team as soon as possible.

About the service

The service can be used to request books, journal articles, theses, reports, conference proceedings, and individual conference papers.

Items supplied in their original formats (ie not electronic documents) may be available as a loan to take away, but are sometimes confined to the library at the request of the supplier.  

Please note that loanable inter-library loan items are not eligible for renewal.  If you think that you will need a particular resource for longer than a single inter-library loan period (usually up to 4 weeks), please contact your subject librarian to discuss alternative ways of accessing it.

Receiving your inter-library loan

Some requests are quicker than others depending on format and how easy the item is to source, eg electronic documents from the British Library may take 24 hours; print items from the same source may take a few days.

If we have to find an alternative provider, the process may take longer.

Please check your email (including your spam/junk folder) to see if we have sent you an update. If not, please contact us, giving details of what you requested, and when you placed the request.

Electronic articles

Opening/downloading an electronic article:

  • When the British Library supplies an item in electronic format, they will send you an email with a link to the article. We recommend using Internet Explorer to download these files.
  • Avoid Google Chrome unless you can disable the Chrome PDF viewer plug-in.
  • To open an electronic document, you need to have the FileOpen plugin for Adobe Reader installed on your computer (installed as standard on University computers).  Please contact the IT Services helpdesk if you need help.
  • You can install FileOpen on your own computer by following the instructions in the email you received from the British Library or from the Software Centre.

Electronic documents from the British Library:

  • must be downloaded within 30 days of receiving the notification email;
  • can only be downloaded onto a single computer;
  • can only be printed once;
  • cannot be shared with others;
  • will normally expire three years after being downloaded.

Contacts

Please email your inter-library loans query to bris-ill@bristol.ac.uk.

Suggest a book purchase

If there is a book you would like us to buy, please fill out the form.

Material for commercial research

If you require material for commercial research, you should submit your request via the British Library’s On Demand service. You will normally have to pay a royalty fee, as well as the cost of creating and supplying the copy.

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