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Request items not held in Cambridge

British Library requests can be made for journal articles, books and book chapters not available elsewhere in Cambridge.

This service is available to Chemistry Department academic staff, researchers and PhD students only. Others should apply to the University Library, the Moore Library ILL service, the Moore Library Scan & Deliver service, or the Medical Library.

The charges for this service are passed to research Groups. It is actually cheaper to request documents from the University Library, Moore Library, and the Medical Library but you will have to pay up front and claim it back as they cannot charge to your Group.

Current British Library charges from 1 August 2016

  • Article by secure electronic delivery (SED) = £6.12 or £10.38 (depending on whether the item is already available as a scanned document or not)
  • Photocopy by post = £10.15
  • Loan by post = £13.95
  • Auto-renewal of loan = around £4.65

How to make a request

Please come to the Library Office or email the library with as much of the following information as possible:

Information required for requesting copies of articles from journals or chapters from books, or papers from a conference proceeding

  • Source title (Journal or book)
  • Date of publication
  • Volume no
  • Page numbers
  • First author
  • Title of paper

Information required for the loan of books

  • Author
  • Title
  • Publisher
  • Date & place of publication

Please also provide your PI's name and grant/ledger code for charging purposes. We must receive this before we can make a request.

Delivery times and methods

Most items are available within 3-5 working days.

Items are delivered by Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) to the library email address, and can be printed off once only. Library staff will ask you whether you would like to download and print your document yourself, or whether you would prefer them to print it out for you, at the point when it arrives from the British Library.

Library staff can forward you the link to the document that includes instructions for downloading it. You will need to register for On Demand BEFORE you can download the document, please follow the link to 'Register for On Demand' that is provided in the email (this is a one-off, 'light' registration process). You should then follow the steps to use On Demand. You should save the document (to a PC or a memory stick), otherwise you will lose access to it after 30 days, and you can then print it off if you wish, once only. The document will then be 'locked' to you and you will have to enter your On Demand username and password each time you want to open it.

Once saved, the document can be transferred by memory stick, or by emailing it, or by accessing the cloud (with Adobe Reader DC, mobile apps for this are available). The document can therefore be read on multiple devices, including tablets, smartphones and MacBooks, wherever and whenever access to the information is needed. The restrictions with this option are that only you are able to open the article, and you are not able to save the article to a reference manager, or forward it to anyone else by email because that person will not be able to open it.

Unfortunately Linux is not supported: you can only download a document using Adobe Acrobat.

Copyright compliance

In order to process your requests we require that you sign a Copyright Declaration Form to say that the item will be used solely for private study or research and NOT for any commercial purpose.

Please contact a member of library staff if the item you require is to be used for any direct or indirect commercial purpose, because a special copyright fee must be paid.

Please note that journal articles copied for you using this service cannot be used for teaching purposes. If you require articles for teaching purposes an alternative route must be taken; please see the Legal Services Office web pages on Copyright Compliance or ask a member of library staff for advice.

By law you may request one whole article from a journal issue, one whole chapter from a book, one whole paper from a set of conference proceedings, or 10% of the total publication, whichever is the greater. Please see these User Guidlines from the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) which refer to the University's CLA HE licence.

Need to find a thesis or patent?

Please see the Theses page or the Patents page.

How to find books and journals held in libraries in the UK and beyond

COPAC - search c.90 UK and Irish academic, national & specialist library catalogues.

WorldCat - the world's largest library catalogue.