Inter-Library Loans (ILL)


Changes to British Library’s On Demand Service

From the end of February, we will be using DRM Lite, an improved method for delivering articles and book chapters from British Library.

Requests will continue to be delivered in the usual way to your registered Royal Holloway email address but, the first time you try to download your document, you will need to complete a short initial registration process.

Articles supplied by other Universities will continue to be forwarded to you or printed and posted to your department as before.


ILL Policy Conditions







Need help?

Tel 01784 443823
Web Feedback


What are the benefits of DRM Lite?

  • No need to download additional software. As long as you have Acrobat Reader 10 or above, you are sorted.
  • Documents are locked to a user rather than a device. You can access your article from any device with Internet access.
  • The new delivery method works with Mac devices.

What are the requirements?

  • You will need Acrobat Reader 10 or above to view your document
  • You have to be registered with the British Library On Demand service
  • You have to be online to view your document
  • The best browsers to use are Internet Explorer or Firefox for Windows and Safari for Mac. If you use Chrome, you will need to disable Chrome PDF viewer first
  • Avoid creating a username containing the @ symbol, as this could cause the document to fail to open

How do I download my document?

  • You will receive an email from with a link to the document
  • If you haven’t already done so, register with British Library On Demand
  • After five minutes, you will be able to download your file with the username and password you chose during registration for 30 days from dispatch
  • Once downloaded, we recommend that you save it; you will then be able to view the document for up to 3 years
  • You can keep copies of your document on multiple devices, including tablets and smartphones
  • The document may only be printed once and it is recommended that you print it immediately

Help and Information

For further information and guidance, please consult DRM Lite FAQs or contact us via email at or by phone on 01784 443122.

Information about the previous delivery method is available at SED FAQ.



The Inter-Library Loans service (ILL) is one way members of Royal Holloway can access material from other libraries. You can request an ILL if the item you want:

  • Is related to your studies
  • Is for your dissertation or thesis
  • Is not part of Royal Holloway's collections 
  • Is not part of Senate House Library's electronic collection

Loan period

The initial loan period for an ILL item is three weeks. However, it may be shorter than this if the item you requested is recalled.

If you need an item for longer, you may renew it, subject to recall. It is free to renew the first three times, with a charge of £5 for subsequent renewals. 

Please be aware that some loans will be 'For Use in the Library Only'. The loan period for these items is the same as other ILL items; however, you cannot remove them from the library.

For more information on the renewal process and Library Only items, see FAQs.  

Arrival time

The arrival time of an ILL item can vary greatly from a few days to a few weeks, as it will depend on where we source your item from.

The fastest way to receive your item is via email, as a .pdf file sent to your personal email address. The delivery time for this option is 24 hours. However, please be aware of the conditions associated with this option (see below, under Policy & Conditions).

If you need an item urgently, we suggest you contact the Information Consultant (IC) for your department who will be able to advise you (see: IC contact details).

If you have requested a physical copy, we will contact you when your item is ready for collection.

How do I request an ILL?

1. Go to LibrarySearch.

2. Sign in to LibrarySearch via the 'Student and Staff Sign In' link in the top-right corner  -- it is important to sign in before step 3.

3. Select the  'Inter-Library Loans' link.


3. After following the 'Inter-Library Loans' link, you will see this form:


The fastest way to receive your item is via email, as a .pdf file sent to your personal email address. Select 'Digital' in the format field, then 'Alternative address' to specify your email. Please be aware of the conditions associated with this option (see below, under Policy & Conditions).

Please read the copyright declaration carefully before clicking 'Request'. Once it has gone through, you will see a screen with the message 'Request placed'.

4. If you have requested a physical item, we will contact you when your item is ready for collection, as these cannot be sent to your home address. Items must be collected and returned from the helpdesk in the Library in the Davison Building. You will need to have your College card with you.


There is no charge for an initial ILL request. However, there are fees in certain events:

  • Late returns


  • Non-collection
  • Lost item
Variable; can exceed £100 if the item is of high value
  • 4th renewal onwards
£5 per request