Delivery of Interlibrary Loans

Details of how to obtain your ILL, loan periods, renewals and recalls, and what to do if an item is lost.

Delivery of Interlibrary Loans

Journal articles are usually supplied as a photocopy sent directly to your chosen contact address. If an electronic copy has been supplied, we will email it to you. Most libraries do not lend journal parts or volumes.

Loaned items (e.g. physical books or microfilms) will be delivered to the library you chose on your ILLiad registration. Usually, you can borrow the items for use outside the library. In some cases, the material must be consulted within the Library, in a secure area. This is at the request of the lending library, and applies particularly if the material is rare or vulnerable.

If requested, we can arrange for journal articles to be supplied electronically, via the FileOpen service.

Electronic Document Delivery

Journal articles supplied by the British Library can be delivered electronically, using the FileOpen service. You may then print one copy of the article for personal use.

These documents can be opened and read more than once, provided you access the document from the computer where it was first opened. However, any attempt to access the document on another PC will fail. Access to the document automatically expires after 30 days, even if it has not been read.

A software plug-in is required to use FileOpen. You should be able to download the plug-in to your own computer, but may require administrative rights to do this on University machines. Any upgrade to Adobe Reader may require the plug-in to be re-installed. The plug-in has already been installed on the open access computers across the University.

To register to use FileOpen, contact the Interlibrary Loans Department.

Loan period

Items are generally lent for a period of 3 weeks. If material has been supplied via the British Library there is an automatic extension of 2-3 weeks, although everything is subject to immediate recall during this extension period.

Photocopies and scans provided via ILL are yours to keep.


If you would like to keep your ILL for longer than the initial loan period, please ask library staff to request a renewal.

Renewals are at the discretion of the lending library. Most lenders do not charge for renewals. However, any additional charges will be passed on to the borrower.


If you receive a recall, i.e. if you are asked to return an ILL item, please return it immediately to the Help Desk at the Library site from which you collected it.

Lost Items

The Library is charged for ILLs lost by our readers. We pass on that charge, plus any administration costs, to the reader.

For example, the BLDSC imposes a minimum charge of £133.95 for lost items. Other lending libraries may have a similar charging structure.

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