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Inter-Library Loans: Opening Encrypted Documents

My journal article has been delivered as a SED. What is this?

The British Library (BL) usually supplies journal articles to us electronically through its Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) service. SEDs are documents which are encrypted and Copyright-protected, so they can only be accessed and viewed in a specific way, and for a limited period.


Please follow the instructions below to ensure that you can open and use your document successfully, and also please note that:

  • You will need to register for BL On Demand to access, print, and read your SED document (see below).
  • You must ensure that your BL username is less than 30 characters; see the DRM Lite Guidelines and FAQs for more details.
  • You must use Adobe Reader version 10 or above: the document will not open in any other .pdf reader.
  • We will send a one-use only link to your DMU email address. The document is locked and this link can only ever be used by one user.
  • This link will enable you to access and download the document; you must do this within 30 days of BL sending us the link.
  • You can only ever print ONE copy of this document, and this must be done within this 30 day period, so please follow the instructions below very carefully.

For more information, please refer to the information and helpful FAQs on the BL On Demand pages.

How can I access my document?

The British Library 'DRM Lite' option will enable you to view, download and print your article, by following these steps


How can I access my SED on my own device, or my PC within a DMU faculty building?

You will need to ensure the following before opening the file, otherwise you will not be able to view, download, or print your article:

  1. That you have registered for the British Library's On Demand Service, and waited for at least 5 minutes for your account to be fully activated.
  2. That you have Adobe Digital Editions, or Adobe Acrobat Reader 10 or above installed on your PC, Mac or mobile device. Your Adobe account will allow the document to be automatically downloaded to all your devices that are registered to you, once you have opened it. See the Adobe Digital Editions FAQ for more information.
  3. That you are using Internet Explorer or Mozilla FireFox as your browser, but NOT Google Chrome
  4. That your PC or mobile device is connected to the internet
  5. That you have sufficient paper/ink in the printer, if you wish to print this document.

You can then proceed to view, download or print your document, by following steps 2-9 below.

If you do not ensure that all the above requirements are fully met, you will not be able to view and print off your requested article. Please note that DMU Library and Learning Services are unable to provide a replacement copy of the article if you have not met the requirements above.

How can I access my SED on a PC or Mac within any of the DMU Libraries or Learning Zones?

You will need to follow these steps:

  1. If you are using a DMU PC, use the "Print Balance" icon on the desktop to check that you have enough credit to print off your SED document - if you only have enough credit to print one or two pages, you will need to top up your print account before proceeding.
  2. Open an Internet browser, e.g. Internet Explorer or Mozilla FireFox, but NOT Google Chrome
  3. Go to Programs - Application Jukebox Player and open Adobe Digital Editions, as you will need to use this in order to view the document. Create an Adobe account (which is free) if you don't already have one.
  4. Log in to your DMU email account and open the email containing the SED link
  5. Click on the link, which will take you to the British Library On Demand download page
  6. You will need to 'Click to download your document', and then you will be presented with a window where you will need to enter your registered British Library On Demand Username and Password
  7. Your article will open on the screen
  8. You must download and save the document to a PC or Mac, within 30 calendar days of the British Library sending us the link that we have forwarded to you. You can save the document to your own PC or Mac; you can then access the file for up to three years if you have registered account with Adobe, using your Adobe ID.
  9. Only one copy of the document can be printed off. If you want to print it, we recommend that you do so now, while you have the document open.

When will my SED link expire?

In order to meet with Copyright legislation the link to a SED is designed to be used just once. This link enables you to access the requested document on the BL server.

Please note that:

  • The link will expire after 30 days from the date it was sent from the British Library, whether the document is accessed or not
  • You will no longer be able to use that link after the expiry date
  • We cannot access your document after the link has expired, and we will not re-request that document for you, as we would incur further charges for doing so.

For this reason, you should ensure that you open and download the document  as soon as possible and also print a copy off immediately if you require a paper version. 

Are there any restrictions on accessing SEDs?

Due to British Library restrictions (which are in place for copyright reasons), you can only use a link to a SED document on the BL server once. Therefore after you have accessed the SED on the BL server once, you cannot use that link again to open it.

You will only be able to print your article off once, and you must not distribute that document to anyone else.

*For more information please see The British Library's SED pages and FAQs