Inter-library loans

If the book, journal article or thesis you need is not available at our libraries or online for free, you can request it from an external library. This is known as an Inter-Library Loan (ILL) request.

How do I request items from other libraries?

Simply sign into your library account, click on 'ILL Requests' and complete the request form. Provide as much detail as you can, ensure that you have read the copyright declaration, and tick the box to confirm you've read it.

If your request is accepted, you'll see a confirmation message.

For further instructions on how to place an ILL request, download our guide - making an inter-library loan request (PDF)

Will I be charged for these requests?

If you're an undergraduate or postgraduate student, £3 will be deducted from the account on your card when your request has been approved. You can check your account and top-up via the Print Portal.

If we are unable to fulfil your request or you cancel it before it has been approved, you will be able to get a refund. We cannot offer refunds if you do not collect the item or it is delivered late.

You will not be charged for renewing the item loan, but if you forget to renew the loan or you return the item late, you will be charged for all the associated costs.

If you're a postgraduate research student or a member of staff, there is no charge for the service.

What can I request?

You can request journal articles or conference papers for non-commercial research or private study (for more details, read the policy for commercial copying).

If you request one article, it will be sent electronically to your University email account. If you request more than one article from a journal, you will be able to borrow the whole journal or use it in the library.

Some journal articles will be supplied only in print. These need to be collected at the library counter and are for you to keep.

If you request a conference paper, you can either borrow the original or receive a photocopy to keep.

You can usually borrow books, but occasionally they may be restricted for use in the library only. Books must always be collected at the library counter.


IDD books are not owned by the University of Westminster, and all renewals are subject to approval by the lending library.

In the first instance, please check the insert found in the book. If the checkbox ‘No renewal’ has been ticked, the book must be returned by its given due date.

If this has not been checked, and you would like to renew the book, please contact the IDD team at [email protected] 2-3 days before the due date. We will request a renewal from the supplier on your behalf and will notify you of their decision by email. There is no charge for this service, but please note that items are limited to one renewal.

UK PhD and MPhil theses

If you'd like to access UK PhD and MPhil theses, you'll need to register with EThOS, where you can download them directly. The British Library no longer supplies theses on microfilm through IDD.

Many theses are freely available, but if the thesis you want has not been made electronically available, there is a charge of £49.72 to digitise it. The digitisation process takes about 30 days. Members of staff and PhD students should contact the IDD team, who may request and pay for the digitisation on their behalf. We cannot meet the costs of digitisation for any other users.

Masters dissertations can be requested through the IDD service, but can be difficult to obtain.

International theses

You can look for international e-Theses through the search engine at the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD).

University of Westminster PhD theses

We have copies of all University of Westminster PhD and MPhil theses. Wherever possible, full texts are provided via the Library Search.

You can read more about the University's research outputs by visiting WestminsterResearch.

Other databases

  • Index to Theses: Our Library Search offers a comprehensive listing of theses with abstracts accepted for higher degrees by universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland since 1716. Also included are 50,000 links to full-text theses.
  • ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I: This is available on-site only, to users of the British Library. It covers mainly the USA, but also includes content from some other countries and 1.2 million full-text theses.

When and where will my items arrive?

Most requests arrive within two weeks and will either be emailed to you or made available at your campus library counter. Some items can take longer, especially if they are not available in the UK.

We'll email you about the progress of your requests, but you can also check the progress yourself:

  1. Sign into your library account
  2. Click on ‘My Account’ and select ‘Requests’.
  3. Under ‘Type’ you should see ‘ILL’. You should also see on the following status’s:
  • Created borrowing request – We have received your request, and are in the process of approving it.
  • Pending approval – We have sent you an email requesting either further information, or that you top-up your account. Please check your email, and respond to the ILL team, so that we can proceed with your order.
  • Request sent to partner – We have sent your request to a supplier, and are waiting for a response.
  • Physically received by library – We have received the loan and have sent it to your chosen destination.

Once an item has been issued to you, you can check the due date by signing into your library account and selecting ‘Loans’. 

Electronic delivery of articles

Journal articles and book chapters supplied by the British Library will be delivered via a link sent to your email address. In order to view the document, you will need to ensure that the relevant software, FileOpen and Adobe Reader version 4.0 or later, are installed on your computer.

How do I download FileOpen?

The software is already installed on University PCs and Macs. If you are working from your own computer, please download the software.

Please note that the library laptops do not have this software installed, and you will be unable to access your document if you are using one.

What happens once I have installed the software?

Before you open your request, we strongly urge you to check that the software has been installed correctly by downloading a test document from the British Library website.

How do I view my document?

Once received, the ILL team will forward the British Library email to your email address. Please click on the link provided.

Please note that if Google Chrome is your default browser, you will need to disable the Chrome PDF viewer. 

You will have 30 days to open the document. Upon its expiration, the item will be deleted from the server. 

You are only allowed to click and download the item once onto your computer, and it can be stored for 3 years. 

Please note the following restrictions: 

  • You may print only one paper copy. As you can only access the link once, we suggest you print out the document immediately upon opening it. 
  • You must not make any further electronic copies – this includes saving onto external hard drives and USBs.
  • You must not modify the document or cut and paste.

What if I am using a Mac?

On Mac machines the article may open in Preview mode and it will appear to be blank. Close the “Preview” mode window.  Open Adobe Reader X/Adobe Acrobat Pro and locate the file where it was downloaded and click on the file to open it. The downloaded file will open correctly.


Error message Meaning
Diagnose Connection Problems Connection has been lost. Please refresh your browser window. 
Unfortunately there has been a problem with delivery of your document. Please contact customer services on +44 (0) 1937 546 060 for assistance The document has expired.  Please do not ring the number, and instead contact the ILL team at [email protected] for further assistance.
Document access denied: Please contact British Library Customer Services if you believe this to be an error. Undefined error occurred. The document has already been downloaded. Please check your computer for the original file, and contact the ILL team at [email protected] for further assistance. 
Server Error in '/' Application. The resource cannot be found. Description: HTTP 404. The resource you are looking for (or one of its dependencies) could have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. Please review the following URL and make sure that it is spelled correctly. Requested URL: /default.aspx The document has already been downloaded. Please check your computer for the original file, and contact the ILL team at [email protected] for further assistance.

Mac users: download a list of error messages (PDF).

If you have any technical issues with the software or in opening the document please contact the Service Desk.

How many ILL requests can I make?

Undergraduate students can request 10 items per academic year.

Taught and research postgraduates and staff can request up to 99 items per academic year.

You cannot carry over unused requests to the next year.

You are allowed one renewal, subject to supplier approval.

Returning items

You can return your ILL requests to any campus library, but they cannot be returned at the self-service machines.

Contact us

Inter-Library loans
Collections Management
Marylebone Campus Library
35 Marylebone Road,

For renewals:
E: [email protected]

For general enquiries:
E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)203 506 9246
Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm

Wireless access

Free wifi is available across our campuses.

Mouse and computer pc

Online library

We have a wide collection of easily accessible e-resources.