Interlending and Document Supply

If you can’t find the book or article you need in the library or electronically, you can request it through the Interlending and Document Supply (IDS) service.

If you can’t locate a book, journal article, conference paper or other item in the library or electronically, you can request it through our IDS service and we will try and obtain it from the British Library or another library for you.

We can't obtain unpublished documents and archives. Expensive market reports are seldom available on loan. Books published before 1900, maps, DVDs and videos can be tricky.

Who can use the IDS service?

Staff and postgraduates.

Undergraduates are not routinely allowed to make IDS requests as you should be able to find resources to support your course in the library. If you need something that isn’t in the library or available electronically, please contact the Academic Services Team. You can also suggest the library buys a specific book by completing our Recommend a Purchase form.

Associate and External Borrowers are not allowed to make IDS requests. Your local public library or the library at your place of work or college should be able to help you.

Contact Info

Telephone: +44 (0) 1524 5-92516


Tab Content: IDS Requests

Here’s how you place your request and what happens after that.

Placing your request

Please place your IDS request online:

  • Either
    - Choose the Article or Book form;
    - Go to OneSearch, and click on the IDS Request link at the top right, then choose Book or Journal Article from the dropdown menu at the bottom of the page;
  • Please fill in the form as fully and accurately as possible. Read and accept the copyright declaration form by ticking in the acceptance box. Please do this even if you have applied for a book, as sometimes the document you require might be supplied as a copy.

Please allow enough time for us to obtain your request. While we may be able to obtain journal articles within a few days, books can take up to two weeks or longer.

What happens next?

  • We will forward your request to the British Library Document Supply Service or to another library we believe holds the item you want. The British Library usually supplies journal articles within a few days. Books can take up to two weeks to arrive but may take longer - we cannot guarantee a delivery time.
  • When the item has arrived, we will send an email to your university email account. You can collect your book from the library information point (Opening Hours). You will need to bring your university card with you.
  • You will usually be able to borrow books but some libraries, such as Oxford and Cambridge University, stipulate their books have to be used in the library. Valuable and older material may also be for library use only. We will notify you if the book cannot be taken out of the library.
  • You may not take IDS books abroad.
  • Journal articles from the British Library will be sent to your Lancaster University email address using Secure Electronic Delivery. Please see the British Library Electronic Delivery webpage to find out how to access your article. Please read this before you access your article to avoid problems later.
  • Sometimes a journal article is supplied as a photocopy for you to keep - you can collect it from the library information point during staffed service hours or we can post to you.

External Links:

Tab Content: Renewing and Returning

You may be able to renew an IDS book, but as the Library can be charged for renewals, we ask you to return your book by its due date. If you do still need the book, please contact us:

You cannot renew IDS books in My Account or at a self-service point.

Please return books to the information point during staffed service hours.

Recalled books

Sometimes a library needs a book back early. We will email you and allow you at least a week to return it. If you are going away and would be unable to return a book if it were recalled, please leave it with us in case it is recalled in your absence.

Overdue, lost or damaged books

The library does not fine readers for the late return of IDS books but we will pass on to you any charges levied on us for the late return of books or for items that are lost or damaged. In the case of books or journals borrowed from the British Library, the minimum charge for a lost item can be in excess of £100.

Tab Content: British Library EDS

The British Library sends encrypted journal articles by electronic delivery. Here is some information about accessing your articles and restrictions on printing and saving them.

Electronic Delivery by the British Library

British Library On Demand (BL) delivers journal articles and book chapters to you electronically by DRM Lite. It uses Adobe LiveCycle Digital Rights Management (LCDRM), an electronic delivery method that allows the British Library to supply secure, encrypted documents and ensure that the item is used only as permitted and that the rights of the copyright holder are protected.

When we apply for an article to be sent to you, the British Library will scan it and place it on a secure website. The BL will then send an email to your Lancaster University email address containing a link to the download page. The email will come from - please make sure this doesn't go into your spam, junk or Clutter folder.

Accessing your article

You first need to register with British Library On Demand (NB, do not use the '@' symbol in your username) . The email you receive with the link from the British Library will prompt you to register. There may be a short delay of up to 5 minutes between first registering and accessing your article.  For future logins, access will be immediate. If you have already registered and the system recognises your email address, you will be prompted to click to download your document.  You can register in advance of receiving the link to your article on the British Library On Demand registration page.

You will need to have Adobe Reader 10 or above installed on your device.

You can open your document anywhere on any machine, including mobile devices.

The On Demand encryption technology is not certified for use on Apple mobile devices using Google Chrome. The British Library recommend that you use the default browser (Safari) to download your document. Other browsers may work.

If you have saved older documents, which were previously downloaded with FileOpen, you will need to maintain FileOpen on the machine where the document was originally downloaded to ensure access for up to three years.

Windows 10

If you are on a Windows 10 pc and cannot open your document, please restart the pc to update the file association settings. Your document should then open in Adobe Reader. If the default viewer is Microsoft Edge, please contact ISS about disabling it so your document opens in Adobe Reader.

Seeing a blank document?

You need to have Adobe Reader 10 or above installed on your device or your document will appear blank.

The document will open in Protected View - click on Enable All Features at the end of the orange bar below the tool bar.

Using Google Chrome?

If you are using Google Chrome you will need to disable the built-in PDF viewer in order to read your document. To do this, type chrome://plugins in the address bar, then scroll down to Chrome PDF viewer and click on disable.

Or choose to open the document in Adobe Reader by right clicking on the download at the bottom of the screen or in your Downloads folder.

Alternatively you can use a different browser such as Safari, IE or Firefox.

Using an iPad?

To open your document, you need to select 'open in Adobe Reader' rather than just clicking on the document.

Using a Mac?

Make sure you are opening your document in Adobe Reader. This may not be the default programme for opening pdfs.


Please look at DRM Lite: FAQs. If this doesn't solve your problem, please contact or phone 01524 592516.


  • The document is only accessible for 30 days

You must download and save the document within 30 days of receiving the link; after that it will be deleted from the British Library web server and you will have to place a new request for it. The library will be charged again for it.

  • You can usually access the document for three years after downloading it

Once you have downloaded it, most publishers allow access for three years. We recommend you print out your document as soon as it's convenient.

  • You may only print one paper copy

and may not make any further print or electronic copies or convert the file into any other format.

Tab Content: Other Libraries

We will lend our books and supply journal articles to other UK libraries on standard British Library terms.

Our BL code is LA/U-1.

We may lend to libraries abroad and accept payment by IFLA voucher.

Please email requests to

What is available?

Most of our stock is available for loan to other libraries, with the exception of:

  • material that is in demand by our own students
  • rare books (classes 97, 98 and 99)
  • reference books (classes 1 and 2)
  • theses (we are a member of EThOS)
  • DVDs
  • maps
  • company reports
  • language-learning kits