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Inter-Library Loan Service & Document supply: Inter-library Loan Service

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

We can make available to you, our readers:

  • copy items within our own collections (within copyright limits) for your personal use (Document Supply)
  • items that are not available from our own stock (Inter-Library Loan). 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. 

Who can use this service?

  • All staff and students of the University of Southampton
  • University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) staff
  • NOC staff

Sorry, this service is not available to other library borrowers such as our 'external' borrowers, e.g. members of the public, SCONUL Access members.

Before applying: 

How to use the service?

  1. Search the item you are looking for into Library Search (Remember to select "Libraries Worldwide" on the left side menu filter to identify items that we don't have at Southampton).
  2. Click on the item you would like to access and select Request on the right of the screen.  
  3. Log into Library Search 
  4. Complete the Request details sections of the form (please indicate the box on the form if you need a specific chapter to be digitised or an accessible copy), then click Submit Request.
  5. If you do not wish the library to source an item from overseas please indicate ‘Supply from the UK only, no overseas borrowing’ in the Comments field of the request.  Please note that this limitation may result in the library not being able to supply the item.

If you can't find the book you are looking for, please: 

  1. Log into Library Search 
  2. Select Requests from the My account menu on the right of the screen. 
  3. Click on Create request 
  4. Complete the Request details sections of the form (please indicate the box on the form if you need a specific chapter to be digitised or an accessible copy), then click Submit Request.

About the service

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

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.

Loan Period

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.

Receiving your inter-library loan

Electronic Documents

Most articles/extracts are now delivered as pdfs and generally very quickly. For items supplied by 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
Print Items

We will contact you by e-mail as soon as we receive the item from our suppliers. 

  • Collecting/receiving printed items
    • 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 your loaned item
    • ILL items do not belong to us. 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. 
  • Overdue/Lost or damaged items
Lost or Damaged items Costs 
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.
Lost/damaged items You will be invoiced for the standard replacement cost of the item. 


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