Document Supply Services


Contact Us

Document Supply Services
Information Services and Systems
Swansea University
Singleton Park
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)1792 295045
Fax: +44(0)1792 295851

The Interlibrary Loan Service

If the resource you need for your research is not held in the Library, you can make an interlibrary loan request through our Document Supply Service. Please check the iFind library catalogue before making an inter-library loan request as we will not normally get an item from another library if it is available from our own physical or online library stock.

What types of material are available via inter-library loan?

  • We are able to obtain journal articles, loans, book chapters, some UK and American theses and conference papers from local, national and international suppliers. The interlibrary loan service is heavily subsidised by ISS and casual requests are discouraged. 

We are not usually able to obtain:   

  • Multiple journal articles from one volume part.  You may request a loan of the journal part instead
  • E-publications ahead of print, these are usually only available for purchase direct from the publisher
  • E-books
  • British standards, overseas standards and patents. These are usually available electronically and can only be purchased at high cost
  • Pre-1900 material: most libraries do not circulate physical copies of pre-1900 material. A lot of pre-1800 material is held electronically, for example, Early English Books Online
  • Translations of foreign language journal articles and texts
  • Maps

Requests can only be made by the individual who requires the material for their personal research or study. External users are not permitted to use this service. Swansea University business tenants are reminded that any copying which contributes to activities which are directly or indirectly income-generating is classed as commercial. Commercial requests should be made directly by the individual with the British Library On-Demand service.  

How to use the service

How do I make a request?

  • New requests can be made online via the Document Supply Services webpage, or via the blue paper forms that are available from the university libraries. Just fill in a form and we will email you when the item arrives
  • Please complete your request by giving as much information as possible.  You can auto-complete an article request online using a doi if available, e.g. 10.1109/TNANO.2014.2367095 (remove any http prefix)
  • Select the delivery method. Electronic delivery is only available for articles and book chapters supplied by the British Library
  • Read and complete the copyright declaration by typing ‘yes’ into the online form or by signing the declaration on the paper form
  • You will receive a confirmation email once you have submitted the online form.  A completed paper request can be handed in at any Swansea University library or sent to us by post or email

How much does it cost?

The inter-library loan service is financially subsidised by Information Services & Systems (ISS).  This service is expensive and we request you use it only for essential materials. Please check our iFind catalogue before submitting a request to ensure the item is not held in stock either electronically or in print.

  • Book loans and article request fees will be waived
  • All users of the service will be required to add their department to the request form for expenditure monitoring purposes
  • Staff – unlimited requests are permitted
  • Undergraduate and taught postgraduate students should not normally need to make requests unless they are doing a research module or dissertation research
  • Requests submitted by postgraduate students will be monitored. Requests may be rejected if an excessive demand is placed on the service by an individual. Please note the Library reserves the right to share information with your department regarding your requests(s)
  • 20p overdue loan charges remain in place
  • When available renewals will be for a four week period. Renewals are subject to recall
  • Purchased theses are charged at full cost, e.g. an American thesis delivered via Proquest UMI is £30; first time digitisation via EThOS is £54.48. Previously digitised EThOS theses are free to the end user

How long does it take?

Usually items arrive within one week if supplied by the British Library.  Articles can arrive within two days if you select electronic delivery. Items obtained from other universities can take up to two weeks and some complicated or international requests can take longer.

Can I cancel a request? Please contact Document Supply Services. 
It is not always possible to cancel a request that is in process but if we are able to cancel a request there will be no charge.

What happens when the item arrives?

You will receive an email and you can collect the physical item from the library branch you selected when you completed your request.  Book loans are usually issued to your library account for one month. Occasionally items are restricted by the lending library for use within the library only.  These items are clearly marked and cannot be removed from the premises.

If the article you request is available from the British Library, you can use secure electronic delivery (SED).  You will receive an email from containing a link to download and open the document.  The items are delivered using the FileOpen software, so it is advisable to download a test document before requesting items using this service for the first time. Please note: the link is kept on the BL server for only 30 days and once you activate the article link, it can only be used once to download.  You are permitted to print a copy.  Link to FileOpen FAQs.

Further information

Can I renew book loans?

Some lending libraries do permit loan extensions for library books but there is usually a charge associated with a renewal. You cannot automatically renew your inter-library loan books as you would with other library books on your library account.

New Renewal Policy (2016/17)
One renewal request is permitted free of charge; any subsequent renewal will be charged to the individual’s library account at a cost of £5 per item.
Readers can make a request to renew via Document Supply by completing a pink renewal form. 
You will receive an email via your library account if the loan extension is approved by the lending library. 

Ordering a thesis

Many UK libraries no longer permit inter-library loans of higher degree theses, but we can check with the institution on your behalf. You should also check to see if the item you require is an open access full text e-thesis, available from the owning University’s repository. Many recent theses are becoming available via this route.

Purchased theses are charged at full cost, e.g. an American thesis delivered via Proquest UMI is £30; first time digitisation via EThOS is £54.48. Previously digitised EThOS theses are free to the end user.

Go to EThOS, the British Library e-theses online service.
You can download many British PhD theses directly from this service once you have registered your email address.  Any theses that have already been digitised, or are available on the owning University's repository are available to download free of charge.

  • If the catalogue record is unavailable make a speculative request for digitisation. This will prompt the BL to add the catalogue record to EThOS so that you can make a first-time digitisation request
  • If the owning institution does not pay you can choose to purchase a scanned copy from EThOS. You will be required to create a personal account and pay by credit card for first time digitisation of a thesis.  Should you wish for your department to pay, please contact the Document Supply team
  • Please note that some institutions do not participate with EThOS in the digitisation project

Searching for Open Access items

Access our full suite of OA Discovery Tools
Using repositories as sources of supply for free online access to scholarly publications.
Increasingly full-text peer reviewed research articles are available through institutional and subject repositories. Open access resources can be used to find published information swiftly and often without cost. Open access material includes journal articles, scholarly and scientific monographs, educational resources, metadata, digitised material and research data.

Lending to other institutions

How to request material:
Requests for photocopies or the loan of material held by Swansea University can be initiated by emailing us at: or to our postal address.  Please include your contact phone number, postal and email address with each request.  If you are a customer from the UK, please provide your British Library account number with each request.

Copies: £8.65 + VAT (£10.38), Loans: £13.95. 
CONARLS members are charged the current rate for the scheme.
We accept IFLA vouchers as payment for international loans or photocopies.

Material Availability:
All items are lent for a period of six weeks and are renewable for a further six weeks unless otherwise indicated. Some items may be restricted for use only within your institution, e.g. theses.  Please check our catalogue before requesting material to make sure that it can be borrowed.

We will lend:
• Books printed after 1900
• Theses, for restricted use in your institution (UK libraries only).  Non-UK libraries may request an estimate for supplying a photocopy of a thesis