Inter-library loans

If you need a resource that isn't held by the Library, we can usually obtain it for you from another source (such as 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).

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 thesis, please check for availability though the British Library’s EThOS service (UK theses) or Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global (international theses) before submitting your request.
  • If you need a large number of items for a research project, assignment, or systematic review, please contact your Subject Librarian to discuss your requirements first.
  • Please note that we are unable to borrow eBooks from other institutions due to licensing restrictions. If you request an eBook the request will be cancelled. If you would like the Library Service to purchase an electronic copy of a specific title please contact your Subject Librarian to discuss.

Placing a request

Request form

  • Click on the button above, and log in as a University of Bristol Library user (if required).
  • Select Article or Book or chapter at the top of the screen.
  • Complete the Item details and Request details sections of the form, 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, but not eBooks (see Before you start).

Items supplied in physical formats 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 inter-library loans 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

The time required to fulfil your request will depend on the format of the item, and how easy it is to source.  For example, an article that is readily available in electronic format may be supplied to you within 1-2 working days; print items (or chapter/article scans sourced from print items) will take longer.

You can check on the progress of your request by logging in to your Library account

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


Please email your inter-library loan query to

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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