Information Services

About Interlibrary Loans

The Interlibrary Loan service (ILL) is one way to obtain material which is not held by Edinburgh University Library. This service may also be used to request material held in distant library sites and the Library Annexe. Information to help you use this service is provided.

What the Interlibrary Loans service provides

The ILL service can obtain material which is not held by the Library, and which is needed for research and study. Within the UK the main source of supply is the British Library Document Supply Centre (BLDSC), but we also work with other libraries, in the UK and overseas.

You may also visit other libraries as most will allow visitors to consult their material in person. It is recommended that you check with the library beforehand.

Intralibrary Loan (Intrall)

The Intralibrary Loan service (Intrall) obtains items held in other Library sites within the University of Edinburgh.

This service operates between sites which are not within walking distance of each other e.g. between King's Buildings Campus and the Main Library, or between the Royal Infirmary Library and the Veterinary Library. The service does not operate between sites within the Central Campus (Main Library, Law, Divinity, Education and Edinburgh College of Art).

The Intralibrary Loan (Intrall) service can also be used to request materials held at the Library Annexe. We provide physical item delivery and book chapter or journal article scans twice daily, Monday-Friday.

All Intralibrary Loans (Intralls), including requests from the Library Annexe, are free of charge and do not contribute towards your quota of interlibrary loans.

What can I request?

You can request books, articles, reports, conference proceedings, patents, standards as well as other materials.

Some items, such as pre-1900 material, manuscripts and maps, are more difficult to obtain, as few libraries will lend them. In these cases, it is generally possible to visit the holding library in person to consult the material.

Items which are already held by the Library, but which are on loan to other readers, can be recalled from the current borrower by asking Library Helpdesk staff. We would not request these via ILL.

How to make a request

You can request both ILL and Intralls using the ILLiad system.

All University of Edinburgh staff and students may register to use ILLiad. External users who are registered borrowers with the Library may also apply for ILL services through ILLiad.

Staff and students of the University each have a quota of interlibrary loans that are provided free of charge. Details of the quotas are listed below.

Staff or student Quota of free loans
Staff 30
Research postgraduates 30
Taught postgraduates 30
Undergraduates 5

If you use your quota of free loans, there will be a charge of £5.00 per item for the supply of any subsequent loans or renewals.

Any unused parts of the 2018/19 quota cannot be carried forward to the next year. They are void after 31/7/2019.

Within this arrangement, staff and students of the University may request up to 150 items within any year (1st August to 31st July). If you request more than 150 items you will be charged the full cost of £18 per item.

How long will it take?

Straightforward Inter-Library Loan requests, such as articles from major journals, may take only 2-3 working days, whereas more obscure items may take several months. The majority of requests take no more than a couple of weeks, however, it is not possible to guarantee delivery within a specific time.

Therefore, please always allow a minimum of two weeks, and more if possible, for an ILL to be delivered. It is advisable not to submit requests for loans prior to leaving Edinburgh on extended leave or field work, as the material may arrive while you are away.