The Interlibrary Loans Service
Items not in stock in the Library may be requested via the interlibrary loans service: we apply to other libraries to see if they can loan a book to us or send a copy of an article or book chapter for you to keep.
How do I make a request?
Before making a request, check Discovery to see if the item you want is in stock.
If you can find the item in Discovery, but it is not held by the Library, you will be presented with a link to an interlibrary loan form, where the details of the item you require will be filled in for you.
If you can’t find the item in Discovery, you can fill in a blank online form.
The first time you use the interlibrary loans service, you will be required to fill in a brief registration form. After that, you will just have to log in using your usual University login details.
Follow the instructions on screen and submit the request form electronically.
Who can use the service?
All University students and staff may use the service free of charge. You will need your University network login and your student/staff number to request an interlibrary loan.
Copyright regulations apply, so you may only ask for one article from a journal issue or one chapter from a book. If you need more articles or chapters from the same publication, you may request a loan of the whole journal issue or book. Items obtained via interlibrary loan are for your personal use only. If you are a member of staff and wish to obtain an article or book chapter to share with your students via Moodle or on a reading list please see the Library's digitisation request service.
How long will I have to wait?
The average request takes about a week, and most are delivered within 10 days. It may be much quicker than this, especially for journal articles that the British Library hold in digital format. Book loans may take a bit longer, especially if they are difficult to locate, in demand, or more expensive than usual.
How do I get hold of my book or article?
If you have requested a book, we will send you an email (to your University email account) to say it is ready for collection from the Library Help Desk in the Library. Any book requested from another library must be collected from and returned to the University of Portsmouth Library in person.
Articles and chapters in electronic form
If you have requested a book chapter or article, it will usually be delivered to your university email account. These documents are sent securely from the British Library using software called DRM Lite (see Further information below for full instructions or watch the video on this page).
You will need to create a British Library On Demand account; this is separate from the account you use to request interlibrary loans.
You must open your document with Adobe Reader. Depending on your computer set-up, this may happen automatically, or you may have to go to your Downloads folder and use the open with command.
If you want access to the document for more than 30 days, you must print it (you may only print it once) or save it (you may access saved documents for up to 3 years).
Articles and chapters in print form
If we can’t get hold of your article from the British Library you will receive a photocopy or a print-out which you can keep. For staff and research students, the item will be posted to your departmental address. Taught postgraduates and undergraduates must come to the Library Help Desk in the Library to collect it; you will receive an email when it is ready for collection.
How long can I keep the item?
For whole books, the loan period varies depending on which library lends us the item. Renewal may not be possible, and the lending library may only allow consultation in our library, so it is not guaranteed that you will be able to take the book away with you.
Please return interlibrary loan books to a member of staff at the Library Help Desk. If staff are not available, you can use the automated returns sorter.
If you still have the book on loan after the date it was due back, your library account will be blocked until the book is returned. If the book is not returned, or if the lending library deems it lost, you will be liable for replacement charges. As of August 2019 the British Library’s standard charge for lost items is £179.20.
You can keep prints of articles and chapters indefinitely, but please note the time restrictions associated with printing documents delivered electronically (see above).
Requesting theses, dissertations, and standards
Many theses from other universities are available free of charge from the British Library’s EThOS service. If there is a charge for the thesis you require, or if it is not available from EThOS, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to source it for you. Likewise, for dissertations from other universities, or for British or American standards, please email email@example.com.
If you have any questions about interlibrary loans, please do contact the Library.
- DRM Lite quick guide (pdf file for downloading)
- DRM Lite in Chrome (pdf file for downloading)
- DRM Lite in Edge (pdf file for downloading)
- DRM Lite in Firefox (pdf file for downloading)
- DRM Lite in Internet Explorer (pdf file for downloading)
- DRM Lite on an Android mobile device (pdf file for downloading)
- DRM Lite on an Apple mobile device (pdf file for downloading)