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The University of Bolton Library

Inter-Library Loans

Inter Library Loans


If you need material that is not kept by the Library, you may wish to order items using the Inter-Library Loan (ILL) Service. The Library can obtain books and journal articles from other libraries outside the University of Bolton on your behalf. Other publications such as conference papers and patents can also be obtained.

Our Inter-Library Loan service is open to students and staff registered at the University of Bolton. It is not currently open to students or staff at our off-campus partners or satellite sites. 

As they recover from their cyber attack, the British Library now have an interim service set up where we can once again request items. Please use our new interim request form as linked below, but do not that due to limitations of the interim service we may not be successful in all requests. For more information email

What can be requested?

You can request print books that are not held by the Library at the University of Bolton, and journal articles and conference proceedings that are outside of our subscriptions. 

UK theses can be requested via the British Library's EThOS service. EThOS offers free full text access to UK doctoral theses stored electronically by the British Library and also provides links to theses available on university repositories.

Search over 500,000 theses via EThOS

There is an online ordering service for those theses which are not yet available in digital format, but this may incur an additional charge for the requester. The Library is unable to fund the cost of this service. See the British Library EThOS site for further details


Before making a request

Search Discover@Bolton to make sure that the item you wish to request is not in stock. The Library has a growing digital collection of over 200,000 ebooks and over 60,000 academic journals and you may find an alternative to meet your needs. 

In the case of journal articles it may be possible to find an open-access or pre-print copy of the article you require. To search for open-access copies of articles, you can use Google Scholar or an open access aggregator such as CORE

If you are a regular user of Google Scholar we recommend updating the Library Links settings to ensure you can easily access all the content that we have access to.

If you are looking for patents or standards we recommend searching IEEE Xplore (for global standards relating to a range of industries including biomedical and healthcare, information technology and transportation) or British Standards Online

Making a Request

If the item you require is not available, please make a request following these steps.

  1. Complete the online Inter-Library Loan request form. To complete this you will need to be signed into your university account.
  2. Include all details about the item you want to request, making sure they are as accurate as possible. The fields which you need to fill in will vary according to whether the item you are requesting is a book, a journal article or proceedings from a conference. You may be able to cut and paste the text from your source of reference to help with this. When requesting an item you have found in an index or database, please check that the article is in English.
  3. We encourage everyone to submit requests using the online form. This helps us to process requests more quickly and speeds up delivery times. If you require an alternative format of the Inter-Library Loan request form please contact
  4. Please ensure you tick the copyright declaration box: this is a legal requirementThe copyright declaration requires you to confirm that photocopied items will only be used for private study or for research for a non-commercial purpose. Please see the section on commercial use if you feel your request constitutes commercial copying.
  5. Once your ILL request has been submitted, please contact for updates.


How many requests can I make?

There is a limit of 10 requests per student per academic year. If requesting multiple print items please bear in mind that they are likely to arrive at the same time, making it difficult for you to consult them all within the specific loan period.

Please note that while we work with the British Library's interim ILL system, the below information may not be accurate. As we gain a view of how long the process takes with the new system, we will update accordingly.

Journal articles

Articles requested by Secure Electronic Delivery from the British Library are usually sent via email within three working days. Please note that there may be a delay processing requests during busy periods.

Print copies usually take longer to arrive (for this reason we would recommend the SED option, as you can make a print copy once you have received the email link). 

For more information see our Secure Electronic Delivery guide



Books normally take longer to arrive. You can usually borrow them for five weeks. You will be notified on your university email account when items have arrived. They can be collected from the Library Desk during staffed hours. We will also notify you of any problems or delays with ILL requests via your university email.

Return of print material

The Inter-Library Loans service depends upon the co-operation of library users. Items supplied in hard copy must be returned on or before the due date. Renewals are not possible. There is a late return fine of 50p per day.

Requesting copies for commercial use

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 inter library loans, see the British Library FAQs about Copyright Law