Answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the interlibrary request service.


Where do I obtain interlibrary request forms?

Staff, postgraduate research students, postgraduate taught students and undergraduates can submit their requests online via MUSE.

All other users can obtain the correct form by following the links from the main interlibrary request service web page.

How will my interlibrary request be delivered?


Where possible we are now trying to provide access to ebooks. You will be notified if ebook access is being made available. If we are unable to provide ebook access we will notify you by email when the book is ready for collection.

Note that these emails are usually sent to your Sheffield email address and you need to check your email on a regular basis.

Journal articles

Journal articles supplied by the British Library will normally be sent by secure electronic delivery. Check your email on a regular basis for emails from noreply@bldss.uk.

Articles supplied by the British Library can be sent by secure electronic delivery or as a photocopy directly to your home or Departmental address. You can choose your preferred mode of delivery on the request form.

If the British Library is unable to supply your article and it is supplied by another university library it will be sent to you as a photocopy either to your home or departmental address.

Can I get my interlibrary requests direct to my desktop?

Secure electronic delivery is available via the British Library for Journal articles and book chapters.

Read more about secure electronic delivery

How long will it take for my request to be supplied?

Our main supplier can usually satisfy requests within 2–10 days depending on availability. If we have to try several locations it may take longer.

What can I request?

The following items are available for request:

  • Books which are not available from the University Library.

  • Chapters from books which are not available from the University Library. For copyright reasons only one chapter per book can be copied.

  • Journal articles not available through the University Collections. For copyright reasons only one article from a single journal issue can be copied. If you need more than one article from a single journal issue we will try to borrow the whole issue.

  • Conference papers.

  • British doctoral theses. Check on EThOS before submitting an interlibrary request. Many will be available in a digitised, electronic format, some for immediate free download. If the thesis you are looking for is not available in an electronic format we may be able to borrow a copy from the awarding institution but be aware that this is not always possible.

Is there any material that may be difficult to get through the interlibrary request service?

Some materials that may be difficult to get through the interlibrary request service are

  • pre-1900’s publications

  • recently published material – books may only be available at legal deposit libraries who will not lend

  • materials held in special collections and archives

  • material in high demand

  • reference books, eg encyclopaedias/dictionaries

  • full runs of journals/newspapers

  • loose leaf material

  • International theses

How long can I keep an interlibrary request?

Loan periods may vary according to the rules of the lending library.

Be aware that loans may need to be returned before the end of the loan period if it has been requested by another reader.

Can I renew my interlibrary requests loans?

You can renew your request by contacting ilr@sheffield.ac.uk or by visiting Western Bank Library or the Health Science Library. 

Can I check the progress of my request on my MyLibrary account?

To check on the progress of an interlibrary request use the MyLibrary account option on StarPlus:

  • Sign in to StarPlus

  • Click on MyLibrary account

  • Click on Requests from the facet box on the left of the screen

  • Click on the title to view further details about the interlibrary request

Can I cancel my interlibrary request?

If you no longer need your interlibrary request email ilr@sheffield.ac.uk as soon as possible with the full details of the item you want to cancel.

It may not always be possible to cancel an interlibrary request if the lending library as already processed the item.

Do you allow outside institutions to borrow items or obtain photocopies?

Yes, we do offer this service and ask all institutions to apply via email to ilf@sheffield.ac.uk.

We do charge for this service.

How do I access the British Library web pages?

Visit the British Library website.

Can I apply for items only available overseas?

Yes, usually this is possible if the item is published by a commercial publisher.

Be aware that this may incur further costs and may take several weeks to arrive.

What is the charge for an interlibrary request for an external borrower?

External borrowers must pay for interlibrary requests after the item has been received.

See the charges section of the main interlibrary request webpage for more details.

Ask a question

Email: library@sheffield.ac.uk

Phone: +44 114 222 7200

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