We can only supply inter loans through libraries in the UK. If the item you have requested is rare or from an overseas publisher it may be difficult to locate in the UK.
This can occur if you are requesting material in a foreign language or special publications from a journal which might not have been part of the regular subscription.
The supply of inter library loan articles from electronic resources relies on the copyright policy of the publisher. Some publishers will not allow supply of articles through inter loan from the electronic version. This may mean we cannot provide you with a copy of the article if it is not held in hard copy by a UK institution.
The loan of physical books and journals relies upon the policy of the lending institution. This may mean that we cannot secure a loan of your requested item even when it is held by a number of UK libraries.
Common reasons for refusing to lend include:
The item is a new addition to the collection
The item is in high demand
The library has a legal obligation not to lend the item
In these instances you may able to consult the item at its home institution, for further details see: Using other Libraries
If an item has not yet been published we will be unable to source it for you, please check the date of publication on the publishers web page where possible.
It may also be difficult to obtain items soon after publication, new publications can take up to 4 months to go through processing and be available for loan from the British Library. Other libraries may not be willing to loan new additions to their collection.
If we cannot fulfill your request for this reason you can still request the item again at a later date, although both requests would be counted against your allocation.
Many publishers now offer access to journal articles online before their official publication in the journal, this may mean you are able to discover details of articles which are as yet unpublished.
Usually online first access is restricted to subscribers of the journal only, which means we will not be able to obtain them through inter loan before the official date of publication.
In addition many publishers specify that the supplying library can only provide us with copies from the hard copy journal, which may not arrive with the lending library until a few months after the online version is released.
You can find rights information relating to what can be supplied on the British Library online catalogue.
View instruction video - How to use the British Library catalogue search.
This does not mean that all online first publications will be unavailable as different publishers have different policies, you may also be able to find what you need online through Open Access or author sharing.
If we are having trouble sourcing material for your research through inter library loan you may wish to speak to your Academic Librarian about other options.
If you would like more information on why a request has been cancelled please contact us.