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). 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 documents

When the British Library supplies an article or chapter in electronic format, they will send you an email containing a link to a download page.  We recommend that you open the download page using Internet Explorer or Firefox.  Please only use Google Chrome if you are able to disable the Chrome PDF viewer first.

From the download page:

  • If you have not already created an account with the British Library's On Demand service, click on Register for On Demand and follow the onscreen instructions.
  • If you already have an On Demand account, enter your username (if asked), and click Download your document.
  • When you have downloaded the document, open it using Adobe Reader (the default PDF viewer on most devices), and enter your On Demand username and password to view the article.

Electronic documents from the British Library:

  • can be downloaded as many times as you like within 30 days of receiving the notification email;
  • can be opened on any device with an internet connection and Adobe Reader installed;
  • can only be printed once;
  • cannot be shared with others;
  • will normally expire three years after being downloaded.

If you have any problems downloading your article, please contact us at bris-ill@bristol.ac.uk.

Electronic article delivery

From Monday 8 January, you will need to be registered with the British Library's On Demand service to view electronic documents obtained via inter-library loan.

For more information and guidance, please see the Electronic documents section below.

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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