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Homepage / Can’t find the full text you need for your research?

Can’t find the full text you need for your research?


Open books

Did you know that if you need to read an item we don’t have in print or online, we can try to get it for you from another library?

Our Document Supply Service is available to all staff and students.  It can supply journal articles, book chapters, whole journal issues or books, theses, conference proceedings and papers, technical reports and standards (subject to copyright law).

Masters students are entitled to 10 free requests per year whilst staff, PhD, EngD, DBA and MPhil students can make up to 30 (for non-commercial use only).

Wherever possible we use the British Library’s Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) service so you can receive PDFs of journal articles and book chapters quickly by email. However, if you need a whole book or journal issue we will need to borrow the physical item for you. Most requests are satisfied within a week, although some may take longer.

How do I order an item?

Go to My Library Account (linked in the blue navigation bar across the top of the library website). Log in if prompted and you will be taken to Library Search. Click on the link in the top right of the screen: ‘Interlibrary loans’.  Complete the form as accurately as possible.  (This helps us supply your item quickly). If you need any help, please ask a member of staff.

I have placed a document supply request.  What happens next?

Printed / photocopied items:

For items such as books, whole journal issues, or entire conference proceedings we will send you an email when the item arrives, telling you how to collect it. Please let us know if you are based off-campus (but within the UK) and we will post them to you.

Items delivered using SED:

You will be able to open the SED via a link in the email you receive. Please note the following:

  • You will need to create an account with the British Library On Demand Service to open and print your document.
  • Access to the document only lasts for 30 days after the date of supply.
  • During this time you can open the document as often as you wish from multiple devices.
  • After 30 days the link will automatically expire and you will lose access to the document, unless you have saved it to a machine or device.
  • You can only download and save the document once. You will then have access to the saved file for three years from the date of supply. After this time it will also expire and you will be locked out of the article permanently.
  • You may print only one copy. You must not make further copies either in print or electronically, or convert the file into any other format. You may not cut and paste or otherwise alter the text.

What if I am based off-site?

We advise off-site students to use the SED service where possible so items can be emailed to you. If you are in the UK,  we can post books and other items out to you but we cannot send to addresses outside the UK.

Returning borrowed items

Please remember to return the item before the due date or you may incur a fine.  Also be aware that the lending library may ask you to return an item early if it is requested by another customer.

Want to learn more?

Visit the interlibrary loans page on our library website. Choose the library you use most often, then go to Library services > Interlibrary loans.

Feature image from Pixabay

Annette Sandford

Written By: Cranfield University

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