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The University of Bolton Library

Environmental Management: Inter-Library Loans and using other libraries

Beyond the University of Bolton Library

Already know you need an Inter-Library Loan? Follow the link below to make your request:

ILL request form

Open access resources via Discover@Bolton

Discover@Bolton can search open access resources. Check the option that you will see at the top of your results list, Check this box to search open access resources beyond your library's collection. This option is also available in Advanced Search.


Why can I not use another library's electronic resources?

The terms and conditions of most electronic resources are such that only members of that institution are able to use the resources. Some resources allow external users to access resources on a "walk in" basis whereby you may be able to access the resource from a dedicated PC within that library. In these instances, you would need to contact the library where this resource can be accessed and make arrangements with that library.

Inter-Library Loans

The Inter-Library Loan (ILL) service can obtain material not held by the University of Bolton Library. This includes journal articles and books, and can also include conference papers and patents.

To make an ILL request, follow these steps:

  1. Complete the online Inter-Library request form. Include as much detail as possible, and try to be as accurate as you possibly can (cutting and pasting can help; the more accurate information about each request we get, the better).
  2. Make sure you tick the copyright declaration box. This is a legal requirement.
  3. By ticking the box, you agree that you will only use items for private study or for research for a non-commercial purpose.
  4. If you require inter library loans to support activities which are, directly or indirectly, income-generating, this may constitute "commercial copying". It is essential that we are made aware of this when the ILL request form is submitted. For further details on copyright and ILLs, see the British Library FAQs about Copyright Law.
  5. When your request has been submitted, you can track progress by logging into your Library Account.

For help with completing a request, have a look at the quick start guide to Inter-Library Loans or contact the ILL Team.

Undergraduate students may request ten ILL requests in each academic year. There are different limits for postgraduate students and staff.

Journal articles 

Journal articles will be sent to you either

  • as a printed photocopy direct to the address you quote on the request form, or
  • as an email link, for you to print out yourself.

You can keep any photocopied articles sent to you. These usually take about 1 week to arrive.

Delivery by email is much faster (usually two or three days) using the Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) service.

SED provides access to a requested article for 14 days via a link which is emailed to you. Once you have accessed the article, you will need to print it immediately as it cannot be saved or opened again due to copyright restrictions. To make use of SED, follow these steps:

  • Tick the SED box on our ILL request form
  • Ensure your PC has Adobe Reader 4 or above installed and the FileOpen plugin (this is already installed on University PCs)
  • Download the free FileOpen plug-in from
  • To ensure that your machine is set up correctly for SED, please ensure you can open and print this British Library test document
  • You should see this screen: "Congratulations you have successfully downloaded a FileOpen Secure Electronic Delivery document from the British Library"
  • When the article arrives you will be notified by the British Library via an email containing a link to a PDF of the article


Books may take longer to arrive. You can usually borrow them for 5 weeks. You will be notified when items have arrived and are ready to be collected from the Library. We will also notify you of any problems or delays.


Requests for UK theses are now dealt with using the Electronic Theses Online System (EThOS). British Library no longer supplies microfilm copies of theses.

EThOS offers free full text access to UK doctoral theses stored electronically by British Library, and also has an online ordering service on the EThOS website for those which are not yet available in digital format.

The webpage for the EThOS service is

Using other academic libraries

The University of Bolton Library is a member of the national SCONUL Access scheme which allows part-time, distance or placement students (on a placement of ten weeks or more), full-time taught postgraduate students, permanent members of staff and postgraduate research students the opportunity to register with and borrow from other university libraries. Full-time undergraduates are entitled to reference only access under this scheme.

Most university and some specialist libraries participate in the scheme, but please be aware that some libraries will only permit access to certain types of users. Check the SCONUL Access web site to ascertain whether you are able to use the facilities of another institution.

There may be restrictions in place for SCONUL access users, especially those in Band R, at other university libraries during examination periods, because of pressure for study space, or during vacations, when building work may be taking place - always check the website of the library you wish to visit.

Unfortunately the University of Bolton cannot offer access to electronic resources to external users and therefore our users will not be given access to electronic resources at other SCONUL libraries.

Apply online via the SCONUL Access web site where you can find further details of the scheme.

  1. Select your user category and home institution and the libraries you can use will be displayed as a map or list.
  2. Select one of the libraries you wish to use and click on the Apply for Access link on the Institutional Details page.
  3. Complete and submit the application form, using your university email address.

You do NOT have to submit an online application for each library you wish to use. 

You will receive an acknowledgment of your application from SCONUL Access and your application will be reviewed by library staff at the University of Bolton. As long as there are no problems with your library account, you should receive an acceptance email within three working days. This acceptance email is valid for any library you are entitled to use. A print out of your acceptance email and your University of Bolton ID card should be presented when you apply to another library.

Please be aware of the following:

  1. Students must be studying on an HE course which lasts for a year or more. Staff must have a permanent contract with the University of Bolton.
  2. Only users who are in good standing with the Library can join these schemes. If you have outstanding fines, overdue books or invoices you will not be allowed to join other university libraries.
  3. Other libraries are not required to provide any training in the use of library services.
  4. Users are expected to observe relevant regulations that apply to studying in other libraries and are responsible for any fines or replacement costs incurred. Your card can be withdrawn if you infringe the rules of the host library.
  5. Always check opening hours and facilities before visiting the libraries, particularly at weekends and during vacations.  
  6. Access to other libraries may be restricted during busy periods such as examination and enrolment periods.

Students following taught courses at institutional members of SCONUL will normally be granted reference use of other SCONUL HE libraries free of charge during the summer vacations of the host institution.

For more information please visit the Sconul Summer Vacation Access webpage.

NoWAL (North West Academic Libraries) is a consortium of 14 academic libraries in Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside. NoWAL facilitates an access scheme, further details of which are available here. The members of NoWAL are as follows:

Accessing public libraries

You can join the public library in the borough where you are living; just ask at your local library. Some libraries participate in a universal access scheme whereby your library card can be used to borrow from other public libraries. Please enquire about this scheme at your local public library.

Useful links

Contact the Inter-Library Loan Team

For queries concerning the ILL service, send a message to the ILL Team or give them a ring on 01204 903094.

Locating additional resources

A number of services are available which can help you establish the whereabouts of additional material, or that might help you get hold of open access material: