Skip to Main Content

Inter-Library Loans: What can I request?

What can I request?

We can usually borrow Books and journals from other libraries, however there are sometimes restrictions, for various reasons (see below). Other types of publication can be more difficult to obtain, or it may not be possible to borrow or locate some items, because the holding library may not be willing or able to lend it to us. See below for information on obtaining UK Government publications, UK Theses (and how to access them), overseas Theses, and Patents and Standards.

Requesters are required to agree to Copyright restrictions, by putting a tick in the box on the Online ILL Request Form.

Please contact us if you need further information or advice about ILLs.


Usually we can borrow books from other libraries in the UK on your behalf, except when they are old, fragile, rare, or published overseas. In the case of older publications, the British Library may not lend their material unless the item is held in microform or is a reprint.

In contrast, books published in the last 6-12 months may also be difficult to obtain because some libraries are unwilling - or unable - to loan new and recently published books. If you are a Student or Researcher at DMU and wish to request a book which has been published in the past 12 months, you can use our Student Suggest a Purchase form and we will consider purchasing a copy for the library's collection. Academics should check the relevant Subject Guide and contact their Subject Librarian, who will consider purchasing the item for our collection.


If you request an individual article from a journal, we will usually send an email to your DMU account which contains a link to the article, in the form of a Secure Electronic Document (SED). This link will expire after 30 days, so you must check your email regularly, and act quickly to download the article if you receive such an email. 

We may be able to borrow a complete issue of a journal if more than one article from the same issue is required. This only applies to items supplied by the British Library.

Please note that we will not usually be able to request journals or journal articles within 6 months of the date of their publication (or sometimes longer), due to publisher's restrictions.

Can I request Theses?

British Theses

We do not request British theses through the Inter-Library Loans service, as they are available from the British Library through EThOS (Electronic Theses Online System), which allows you to search, access and download British theses in a secure format.

You can find more details about this service from the EThOS web site. The search screen will give you a basic search facility and offer an author, title or institution search. From the results select the title you wish to see and the screen will display detailed information of the theses. If you wish to see the full text of the thesis, then you will need to login or if you are a first timer user, then you will need to register first.

To Register and Login on EThOS

Select “login” and under “new customer” select “register here” and follow the instructions. After you have registered you will be able to login and carry out your searches and see the documents*.

Accessing Theses

When you have carried out a search the screen will display your results. Select the thesis that you are interested in, from the list of results.

Each result will display one of the following characteristics:

  • No symbol = this thesis is not available for immediate download. You can place a request for it directly with the British Library, and you will be charged a fee for this
  • Abstract only = you will only see a brief summary of the thesis content
  • Full text = this thesis is available for immediate access and you are able to download* it as a .pdf document without charge.

*IMPORTANT – Readers must only select the “Download” delivery option. If you select any other option you will be charged, and it is your responsibility to pay the relevant fees. The documents will be delivered to the requester's email address as a zip file, which they can view, save and/or print.

Theses published overseas

Please note that we cannot obtain theses held or published outside the UK.

However, there are a number of open access repositories that you can search which provide full-text access online to some overseas theses. For example DART Europe provides access to theses at participating universities in Europe and OADT  indexes over 6 million theses from around the world.

A useful list of international search tools and repositories is available via the Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations website.

Can I request Government papers and Conference Proceedings?

Government publications, reports, conference proceedings, etc.

Generally speaking, these can be quite difficult to locate and obtain (depending on whether the holding library is prepared to lend the item). Please give as much information as possible when requesting this type of item.

Can I request Patents and Standards?

Patents and Standards

We can usually borrow Patents but please be aware that these are supplied in their original language only.

British Standards are available online through the BSI database, and this can be accessed through the DMU Library website using your Single Sign-On.