Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions about the Library Document Delivery Service
Using the Document Delivery Service
Who can use the Document Delivery Service?
Academic staff, postgraduates and undergraduates of Imperial College London, and NHS staff from trusts which have links to Imperial may use the service.
When do I use the Document Delivery Service?
When the item you need is not held in any Imperial College library or online.
If a book is located at another Imperial College campus library or is on loan to another user, place a request in Library Search and the book will be delivered to your chosen library. To obtain an article from a journal located at another Imperial College campus library, use the Document Delivery link on Library Search to request a copy.
What material can be obtained through the Document Delivery Service?
- Journals and journal articles
- Books and book chapters
- Conference proceedings and conference papers
- E-book chapters
In order to comply with UK Copyright Law:
- One article/paper/chapter from the same journal issue/conference volume/book can be supplied to Imperial College London students and staff.
- Two articles/papers/chapters from the same journal issue/conference volume/book can be supplied to NHS staff.
When possible material will be supplied electronically to your Imperial or NHS email address.
What material can NOT be obtained through the Document Delivery Service?
- Material for private study at other colleges and universities
- Material for leisure and hobbies
- Access to e-books
What should I do if I need more than one article/paper/chapter from the same Issue of a journal/conference volume/book?
If you need more than one article from the same journal issue, place a Document Delivery request for the entire issue. The issue will be requested from the British Library on loan.
If you need more than one paper from the same volume of a conference proceedings, place a Document Delivery request for the whole volume.
If you need several chapters from the same book, place a Document Delivery request for the whole book.
NHS staff should use the instructions above if more than two articles/papers/chapters are required.
Can I request an item, which is needed for my course at Imperial Horizons?
Yes. You can request items, which are needed for your course at Imperial Horizons programme.
What should I do if I need an article for group study in the classroom?
If you require a copy of a work to use in a module you are teaching, please ASK the Library for copyright advice.
How do I make a request?
Make your request using the Order books & articles link on Library Search.
For help see our short video A quick guide to placing a document delivery request.
Do I pay for Document Delivery?
No. We do not charge for this service
Can I request a thesis?
UK theses are available online via the British Library EThOS service. To obtain a copy of a thesis:
- first register for the service
- if a thesis has already been digitised it will be available for immediate download
- if a thesis has not been digitised and there is no charge, you will receive it in 30 days
- if a thesis has not been digitised and there is a charge, make a request through the Document Delivery Service via Library Search. You will either receive a copy on loan or, if this is not possible, the Library will order a digital copy and notify you when it is available for download - this will take 4-5 weeks.
Imperial College PhD theses
Theses submitted from 1 March 2013
Imperial PhD theses submitted for examination from 1 March 2013 are available on open access in the Spiral repository.
Theses submitted before 1 March 2013
Use Library Search to find Imperial PhD theses submitted for examination before 1 March 2013.
- If a thesis is available in the Spiral repository you will be able to download it - sign in with your College username and password
- If a thesis is not available in the Spiral repository you can:
- visit the Central Library to consult it - complete a Thesis request form prior to your visit
- place a Document Delivery request for a digital copy of the thesis. The time scale for digitisation is currently 2 weeks.
How long will it take to receive an item?
Journal articles and conference papers from the British Library take approximately 3 working days and will normally be delivered by email.
Books and other loanable items from the British Library take approximately 5 working days.
Material borrowed from other libraries may take longer to obtain
How do I check the progress of my Document Delivery requests?
You are able to check the status of your Document Delivery requests in your Library Account.
Log in to your account and select the My Account tab and the Requests option. Your request will come through a number of stages. The Status of each stage will be displayed in the Status column:
|Created borrowing request||Your request has come through to the Document Delivery Service and is waiting to be processed. The library system does not generate an acknowledgement email at this stage.|
|Request sent to partner||Your item was requested on loan from another library. The library system does not generate an acknowledgement email at this stage.|
|Physically received by library||Your item has arrived. A message will be sent to your College or NHS email address when the item is ready for collection. It will be held at the location, which you specified when placing the request. This location is displayed in the Pickup Location column.|
When you collect the item, the request will be displayed in your Loans section. The item will be marked as Resource Sharing Library Borrowing, Resource Sharing Requests in the Location column. The item cannot be selected for renewal. If you need to renew it please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Created borrowing request||Your request has come through to the Document Delivery Service and is waiting to be processed. The library system does not generate an acknowledgement email at this stage.|
|Request sent to partner||Your item was requested from another library. The Document Delivery Service cannot guarantee a specific format of requesting material. Your item can be supplied either in a digital or physical format.
Physical items: If a lending library supplies a paper copy of your item, you will receive a message specifying when it is ready for collection. It will be held at the location, which you specified when placing the request. You may keep this item.
Where do I collect items?
Where possible articles will be sent to you by email.
For items requiring collection you will be notified by email. They will usually be available from the Central Library Information Hub or your campus library issue desk.
Where do I return items received through the Document Delivery Service?
Items received through the Document Delivery Service can be returned to any Imperial College London campus library.
How long can I keep an item?
You can view articles emailed to you from the British Library for 3 years once the article is downloaded. You can only print them once.
Photocopies of articles are for you to keep.
You may borrow books from the British Library for 5 weeks.
Loan periods vary for items borrowed from other libraries. Some items are only for consultation in the Library. Such conditions are stipulated by the lending library and Imperial must abide by these conditions
Can items received through the Document Delivery Service be recalled?
Items received though the Document Delivery Service can be recalled at any stage by the lending library. In the event that the item is recalled, a message will be sent to your College email address to ask you to return it as soon as possible.
Can I renew an item?
It may be possible to extend the loan of items borrowed from the British Library for 5 weeks.
We can only renew books borrowed from other libraries at the discretion of the lending library and not far in advance of a due date.
You can renew your items 3 days before the due date shown inside the book by:
Using Your Library Account
- If you are not signed in to Your Library Account go to Library Search
- Click the Sign In icon in the top right corner
- Select your College profile and Sign in with your College username and password or NHS barcode and password
- After signing in, click on the Sign In icon again and select My Account
- View your Loans found on the left panel, showing all of the items you have borrowed
- Items supplied by the Document Delivery Service have Location > Resource Sharing Library Borrowing
- Select the items you wish to renew by ticking the box by the title
- Choose the Renew Selected button
- The screen will update to show “The renewal request was successfully submitted”
- Email email@example.com
The Document Delivery staff will request renewal from the lending library. This might take several days to get a new due date. Once the renewal is approved, your book will be renewed, and a confirmation message will be sent to your College email address.
What happens if I return something late or lose an item?
The Library will be charged for lost items, and may be charged for very overdue items.If you lose an item, or fail to return items on time, we will have to pass on the charges to you. The British Library currently fixes these charges between between £81.55 and £163.10 (more will be charged if the item is more expensive to replace).
Replacement fees from other libraries vary.
If you know you have lost a book, received through the Document Delivery Service please let us know as soon as possible.
Can I make photocopies from an item that is on loan to me?
You can copy the following:
- One article from a single journal part
- One chapter or 5% (whichever is the greater) from a single monograph
Can the Library send an item from another campus library to my campus?
Yes, if an item is held by another Imperial College London campus library we can send it to your home campus library.
Can I obtain material from the Science Museum Library in Swindon (Wroughton)?
No. The Document Delivery service from Wroughton is no longer available. However we can obtain items for you from other sources - please make your request using the Document Delivery tab on Library Search.
Will I receive all my requests for articles by email?
You will receive articles obtained from the British Library and Imperial College campus libraries by email.
If we obtain an article from another library, they will provide a photocopy, which you will have to collect from your campus library.
Can you send the document to any email address?
No. We can only deliver to your Imperial College London or NHS email address.
What is the copyright declaration?
If you request material which is protected by copyright law we would normally have to pay the copyright owner a fee for reproducing their work. However, you will be protected from paying this fee by Library Privilege if you require a copy for non-commercial research or private study. In order to use Library Privilege you must sign the copyright declaration form when placing your Document Delivery request.
This copyright declaration is a part of the College’s rules and regulations.
Please supply me with a copy of this article or part of this published work.
I declare that:
- I have not previously been supplied with a copy of the same material by any library or archive
- I require the copy for the purposes of a non-commercial research or private study, and that I will use it only for those purposes
- I will not supply the copy to any other person and I will retain only a single copy of the work
- To the best of my knowledge no other person with whom I work or study has made, or intends to make, at or about the same time as this request, a request for substantially the same material for substantially the same purpose
I understand that if the declaration is false in a material particular, the copy supplied to me by you will be an infringing copy and that I shall be liable.
How can I obtain a copy of material for commercial research?
If you require a copy of material for commercial research please contact the Document Delivery Service by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commercial research should be considered as any research that is directly or indirectly income-generating. You will normally be required to pay a copyright fee, cost of creating and supplying the copy.
Opening documents received by email from the British Library via DRM Lite
What is DRM Lite delivery?
DRM Lite is an electronic delivery method that allows the British Library to supply secure, encrypted documents and ensure that the documents are used only as permitted and the rights of the copyright holder are protected. The documents are locked to a user rather than a machine, meaning that they can be viewed from anywhere on any machine, including mobile devices.
How can I register with the British Library On Demand?
The registration process is quick and you need to do it once.
- Click on the British Library On Demand link to start your registration
- Click on the Register button
- Complete the form, providing your College email address ending @imperial.ac.uk or @imperial.nhs.uk.
Important: Usernames containing the ‘@’ symbol can cause documents to fail to open. Please avoid creating usernames containing the ‘@’ symbol.
- The British Library will send you an email to activate your account. Follow the instructions in the email. It is important that you wait for this message, and activate your account. You will not be able to use your account until you do this.
- Log in to your account when prompted, add additional information, agree with terms and conditions and finish your registration.
- You will receive a message from the British Library confirming your registration. The email will ask you “If you work or study at an organisation who has an existing Business Account with On Demand…” Your online account is set up, and you do not need to forward this message to us.
How will I receive the document?
The British Library will send you an email - the sender will appear as email@example.com. You may need to add this name to your approved or safe senders list in Outlook. The subject header will contain “British Library Order” followed by your order/request number and a dispatch date.
The email will include a link to your document and instructions for how to download it.
- The link to your document will be active only for 30 days from dispatch after which it will be deleted
- The document may only be printed once and it is recommended that you print immediately
- Once downloaded and saved, you can view the document for up to 3 years
- You can keep copies of your document on multiple devices, including tablets, smartphones and memory sticks
- You will need to be connected to the internet to read your documents
How do I open a document delivered by DRM Lite?
A link to your document will be delivered to you by email. You must be online to be able to download your document. When you click the link, you will be taken to the download page.
- If you are registered for the British Library On Demand and the system recognises your email address, you will be prompted to “Click to download your document”.
- If you are not registered for the British Library On Demand, you can register by clicking Register for On Demand on the download page. Follow the instructions, which include activating your account. We recommend you provide your College email address for your registration. Return to the download page and enter your username or registered email address before you click to download your document. It might take a few minutes to confirm your registration. You will be able to access the document once the registration is confirmed.
- Once you click your download your document you will be presented with the following prompt. Some mobile devices may require you to go to your downloads before you can access this prompt.
- Enter your Username and Password to access your document.
- You will need to enter these details each time you access the document, unless you check the ‘Remember me on this computer’ box. Please DO NOT check this box if you are accessing the document on a shared computer.
How many times can I print the document?
You may print one paper copy, from which you may not make any further copies. You may not make further copies or convert the file into any other format. You may not cut and paste or otherwise alter the text.
Can I forward the document to someone else?
Once you downloaded the document, it will be locked to your On Demand username and password, and only you can access it.
Why won’t my document download or open? Why am I seeing blank pages?
- Check if your device is connected to the Internet. Online access is needed every time you open the document.
- Are you using Adobe Reader as your PDF viewer? If your browser’s default PDF viewer is not Adobe Reader, you will need to disable it before documents can be read. The Google Chrome PDF viewer can be disabled by typing chrome://plugins in to the address bar, then scrolling down to Chrome PDF viewer and clicking on Disable. We recommend using Internet Explorer or Firefox to download documents.
- Are you using a compatible version of Adobe Reader? Adobe Reader 10 or above is required on any device you use to view documents, including mobile devices.
- Has a previous user locked you out by selecting Remember me on this computer? If so, in Adobe Reader go to Edit>Preferences>Security, click and confirm the Clear remembered account information option, then retry the download link.
- Has the download link expired? The download link will remain live for 30 days from the date of the original email sent from the British Library. If the download link has expired, the item will need to be re-ordered.
- Does your Username contain the '@’ symbol? This results in the error message ‘There was a problem accessing your document, please try again later’. Please contact the British Library’s Customer Services for advice.
Can I use any other viewers to view the document?
DRM Lite only works with Adobe Reader 10 or above, and documents will not open with any other PDF viewer.
How long can I access the document for?
The article is not automatically saved and you must save it to a device when prompted by your browser or click File>Save As in Adobe Reader. Once the document is saved, you will have access to it for up to 3 years from the date of supply, after which you will be locked out of the document permanently. If files are not saved, access from the download link will expire after 30 days and the item will need to be re-ordered.
What should I do if I forget my British Library On Demand username or password?
If you forget your British Library On Demand username or password, you can request a reminder to be sent to your registered email address from the login link on the On Demand web page.
If your password changes, you can continue to access saved documents using your latest password. However, you may need to clear the remembered account information in Adobe Reader. You can do this by going to Edit>Preferences>Security and clicking and confirming the Clear remembered account information option.
Why can't I open the link to my article given in the email from the British Library?
What software do I need?
Can I download a document to a memory stick?
Yes, you can.
I use Linux. Can I download documents delivered by DRM Lite?
Unfortunately, Adobe Reader 10 or above are not available for Linux users. However, DRM Lite allows you to save documents on other devices, including mobile devices and memory sticks. If you wish to receive material from the British Library you might consider using devices where Adobe Reader 10 or above can be installed.
Accessing documents received from the British Library via FileOpen
How can I access documents supplied via FileOpen?
Documents from the British Library received before 3 April 2017 were supplied via the FileOpen method of delivery. You can still access these documents on the same computer where they were originally downloaded for up to three years. To view these documents you need to keep the FileOpen plugin on this machine.