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Inter–Library Loan Service: ILL Service for Undergraduates

The inter-library loans service (ILL) sources items not available from our own stock and makes them available to our readers.

Before applying, have you checked

  • Use Library Search to establish that we don't already have the item that you require
  • to see if what you need is available online: many books and journals are now available in electronic format. The resources section of the Library website provides guidance on electronic resources.

Your ILL quota is:

Faculty of Arts and Humanities


Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences


Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences


Faculty of Medicine


Faculty of Social Sciences


ILL / DD loan periods

The loan period for inter-library loan items  is generally for 3-4 weeks.

Items can be recalled and the original loan date shortened. We will always inform you if this happens.

Some items are reference only. This means that they can only be consulted within the library here.


Our renewals policy is one renewal per item.

If you need a renewal please contact us prior to the item’s original return date.  Contact details are on the right of this page.

If you renew an ILL / DD item your ILL quota will be reduced by one.

What is the Inter-library loan service?

The inter-library loan service sources items that are not available from our own stock and makes them available to you, our readers.

Most requests will be sourced from the British Library and other UK Higher Education libraries. Where necessary, we will source items from across the world on your behalf. 

How many requests can I make?

You have a quota of ILL requests for each academic year (see table left of screen).

You are only able to apply for an ILL if you have sufficient requests available from your quota. These figures are a guide, not a right. It may be possible to negotiate additional ILL requests. If required, please discuss this with your academic engagement librarian.

How do I make a request?

All requests need to be submitted using Library Search. You'll need to:

  1. Logon to Library Search using your User Name & Password
  2. Select Send a Request from the top tab
  3. Choose from the 3 options

If you are unclear about what information to include in your request, here are some .

How long will my request take to supply?

We use a variety of suppliers to source material and for that reason there is no fixed period of time that an ILL / DD request will take to supply.

Generally, however, requests take between 1 and 10 working days to be supplied. Many requests for extracts or parts of a publication are now delivered electronically as pdfs and for that reason are often supplied very quickly.

We will keep in regular contact with you while we process your request.

Delivery to your desktop / device

Most articles/extracts are now delivered as pdfs and generally very quickly. Our main supplier is the British Library.

  • You will need to register with British Library On Demand (document supply) service. This is free and allows you to create a username and password. With these you can access your document on any device you choose.You only need to register with this service once.

  • Once available, you will receive an e-mail with a link to the document you have requested. The document must be downloaded within 30 days and saved to a hard drive or memory stick within 14 days of opening it.

  • The document can be opened on Adobe Reader version 10 or above. Most University public workstations will have the relevant software installed. Adobe Acrobat DC can be installed from the ‘Additional Software’ button on university pcs or by contacting iSolutions: / 25656.

With 'On Demand' you can:

  • Print a single hard copy of the document. We recommend you do this.
  • Access the document on any device.  The first time you open the document on a new device you will need to be connected to the internet.
  • The digital copy of the document will be available to you for three years.

Notification of availability

For article/extract requests, as soon as your document is available to download, you will be sent an e-mail containing a link to the document. This will generally come direct to you from our main supplier, the British Library.

For loan requests, as soon as we receive the item from our suppliers, we will contact you by e-mail.

Collecting/receiving hard copy ILLs

Hard copy inter-library loans are normally collected from the Library Loans/Service desks.

We are also happy to post items to you on request.

Returning ILLs

ILL items do not belong to us and for that reason it is very important that we return them on time.


To assist you in this, a courtesy reminder notice is sent to you the day before your item is due for return. Please return loaned ILLs to your home library.

ILL items can be returned by post. You will be responsible for meeting postage costs. You will also be responsible for the book until it reaches the library. 

Penalties for overdue items



1 day An overdue reminder will be sent to you. Your record is suspended for 7 days from the date the item is returned.
3 days A final reminder notice will be sent.
14 days You will be invoiced for the standard replacement cost of ILLs, currently £174.50 plus an admin. fee, plus VAT.


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