To receive items electronically from the British Library you must register for BLDSS/On Demand. To register, follow the instructions which include activating your account. Return to the download page and enter your Username or On Demand registered email address before you “Click to download your document”. Note: It can take up to 5 minutes for our records to be updated with a new On Demand registration so please retry if your initial download attempt fails.

Requests must still be placed directly to ILL Servicesnot the British Library.

Software requirements

Adobe Acrobat Reader or above is required on any device you use to view documents, including mobile devices. Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed on the public computers in the Library. You can also download Acrobat Reader free of charge from Adobe.

Making your request

When making your Inter-Library Request please type 'Yes' on the mandatory field for Electronic Delivery. Please note that it is only the British Library who provide this service and it is only for photocopied articles, papers or chapters within the limits of copyright regulations. Other suppliers will continue to provide paper photocopies.

Getting your request

Once your request is processed you will receive an e-mail from the British Library containing a link to the document you requested. The link will take you to the download page.

Once you “Click to download your document” you will be presented with the following prompt. Note: some mobile devices may require you to go to the ‘downloads’ notification before you can access this prompt:

ILS prompt

Enter your Username and Password and you will gain access to the document.

For how long can I access the document?

This document is held on the British Library’s server for 30 days from the date of the original email and you can only download it once.

The article is not automatically saved, though you can save it to a drive or memory stick. If you save the document, you should have access to it for 3 years from the date of supply. If files are not saved, access from the download link will cease after 14 days and the item will need reordering. Upon expiry, you will be locked out of the article permanently. We suggest that you immediately print a copy of the article when the item is sent to you.

Why won’t my document download or open? Why am I seeing blank pages?

  • Check you are connected to the internet. Access to the internet is needed every time you open the document.
  • Check you are using Adobe Reader as your PDF viewer. If your browser’s default PDF viewer is not Adobe Reader, it will need disabling before documents can be read. Google Chrome’s viewer is disabled by typing chrome://plugins in the address bar, then scrolling down and clicking ‘disable’ next to ‘Chrome PDF viewer’. Chrome users may avoid this step by using a different browser such as IE or Firefox.
  • 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, go to ‘Edit’> ‘Preferences’>‘Security’ and click and confirm the ‘Clear remembered account information’ button, 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. If the download link has expired, the item will need reordering.

Contact us

If you have problems downloading or printing the document do not reply to the e-mail from the British Library contact us at the Inter-Library Service: