Interlibrary loans and document supply

An Inter-library Request Service is available to all members of Oxford University, as well as to non-University members. This service seeks to provide access to material not held at the University. The Bodleian Libraries also supply their own material to other libraries and institutions.

Please check SOLO, Oxford Libraries' catalogue, before requesting a request.


Who can use the service?

The inter-library loan (ILL) service may be used by holders of a current Oxford University (blue) card and by holders of a Bodleian Libraries Readers' Card.

If you work for the NHS, please consult the Bodleian Health Care Libraries website.

How much does an inter-library loan cost?

View our prices.

Holders of Oxford University cards are charged at a subsidised rate (Non-commercial members of OU). Some libraries apply a limit to the number of requests that can be placed at this rate, eg the Bodleian Library has a maximum of 20 UK requests and 5 international requests per academic year. Further requests will be charged at the higher Non-commercial rate (Non-members of OU).

Bodleian Libraries Reader's Card holders are charged at the Non-commercial, Non-members of OU rate. However, it may be cheaper to use the services of your own university or public library.

If you are making the request for commercial purposes the Commercial charges apply regardless of which card you hold.

Please note that the British Library increases its prices annually on 1 August and the Bodleian Libraries may increase our charges accordingly; however, the service remains heavily subsidised.

Will I get a refund if my request fails?

The fee for a standard request is non-refundable. If you place a request which the British Library is unable to fulfil, the total fee will be refunded.

Which of the Bodleian Libraries provide document supply services?

View our list of participating libraries.

How does copyright affect my request?

UK copyright guidelines state that you may receive copies of:

  • one chapter or 5% of a book, whichever is greater
  • one article from an issue of a journal

If you require more than the prescribed limit you should ask to borrow the item instead. Copyright law still applies, so you will not be able to make copies yourself over the amount shown above.

When placing a request you must agree to the following conditions:

  • I hereby request you to supply me with a copy of the item specified which I require for the purposes of of research for a non-commerical purpose or private study.
  • I have not previously been supplied with a copy of the same material by you or by any other librarian.
  • I will not use the copy except for private study or research for a non-commercial purpose and will not supply it to any other person.
  • To the best of my knowledge, no other person with whom I work or study has made, or intends to make at about the same time as this request, a request for substantially the same purposes.
  • I understand that if this declaration is false in any material particular the copy supplied to me by you will be an infringing copy and that I shall be liable for infringement of copyright as if I had made it myself.
  • I will retain only a single paper copy and will destroy any electronic copies after printing.

How do I make a request?

You must complete an Inter-library Loan/Document Supply Request Form with the details of the item you require. Please ask a member of staff at the library for a form or you can print a PDF form here. Completed forms must be submitted in the library and full payment made before your request can be processed.

Please attach an item reference for your request where possible and ensure that you answer the question regarding commercial use and sign the copyright declarationif appropriate.

Where can I submit a request?

You can submit a request at any of the participating Bodleian Libraries. If necessary, please ask a member of staff at the library for help.

How long does it take to receive the item that I have requested?

Straightforward requests for British Library material may take around 5 working days. More complex requests (where little information has been provided about the item being requested) may take longer.

Times vary for the delivery of articles and books from institutions other than the British Library. Requests made to other UK libraries may take two weeks or longer and requests submitted to international libraries may take several months.

Where do I consult the loan I have requested?

You can consult the loan in the reading room or library which you specified on the request form unless you are notified otherwise.

Can I receive the item that I requested electronically?

Copies will be delivered by Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) by default. Please state on your request if you would prefer a paper copy.

How long can I keep the item that I have requested?

Loan periods vary depending on the supplying library but are generally 6 weeks. If the loan is not recalled, it may be possible to renew it. The renewal charge is £5. Photocopies are yours to keep and SEDs are available to read and download over a 30 day period. They can be printed only once.

Can I borrow an item which has been lent by another library?

Most loans are for consultation within the library only.

Can I make copies from an interlibrary loan item?

Different restrictions on copying are imposed by libraries lending the items. All copying must be done within the UK Copyright guidelines. Some libraries insist on any copying being done only with permission, or by a staff-mediated service. Ask your library for details.

What happens if the item is lost or damaged whilst I have it?

If an interlibrary loan item is lost or damaged whilst on loan to you, we will pass on to you the amount charged by the British Library for lost items, currently £152.70 (more will be charged if the item is more expensive to replace).

This charge does not mean you have purchased the item. If you subsequently find it, it must be returned and you may be entitled to a partial refund.

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