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FAQ: Interlibrary Loan: Home

FAQ: Interlibrary Loan

Quick Reference

  • See the Interlibrary Loan pages for policies & help with the system that we use for Interlibrary Loan

The ILL Process

  • Before we order

    • We check to make sure that we do not own it
      • If we do and it is checked out we will order it for you
      • If it is available we will notify you or, if you take classes off campus we will mail it to you
    • We check to make sure that it is not available to you online.
      • NOTE: we check first to make sure that you can retrieve it 
  • How we order

    • We order first from libraries that can provide items quickly
    • We can order from up to 5 libraries
    • In some cases we order articles from document delivery services
    • We check on the status of your request every 3 days or so and follow up on problems with the lending library
    • You can monitor the status of your request through ILLiad
  • How we deliver

    • When we receive the items we notify you immediately via email.
    • For articles we use ILLiad to provide 24-7 access to your requests
    • For articles we receive in the mail we use Campus Mail for faculty and staff
    • If you take classes off campus we will send you the materials (you are responsible for returning materials with due dates)
  • Before we cancel a request

    • If it cannot be found as cited:
      • We verify your citation to check for mistakes or incompleteness
      • We search not only by title but ISSN (articles) or ISBN (books)
      • If we found a matching record on the system but no libraries are able/willing to loan to us:
      • We try other searches (variations on title, ISSN/ISBN, other editions, etc.) to find a record with different libraries to choose from
      • For articles we check to see if the article is available free online on the Web
      • If our original order comes back unfilled and there are more libraries to choose from we will contact you to see if you want us to try again
  • Why We Can't Fill Every Request

    • Dissertations
      • Usually only 1-2 libraries own a dissertation, and many choose not to loan them to other libraries (our success rate is ca. 40%).
      • NOTE: Dissertations may be purchased from ProQuest Information and Learning (formerly UMI Microfilms)
      • Go to UMI's Dissertations and Theses page at
        Select "Connect to Dissertation Express as an Individual"
      • Follow prompts until getting to the search screen
      • Be very selective in doing a search for the dissertation. My recommendations:
      • Search by last name comma first name, e.g., "Smith, John", or
      • Search by dissertation title using either first few words or a very few key words from the title
        Check box in "Check here" column for desired item and press "Add to shopping cart" button
      • Follow prompts to complete your order
    • New Books
      • Many times information about a new book is made available before the book is released (pre-publication information from Books in Print or
      • In those cases the book is not available *anywhere*
      • When a book is finally released for distribution it takes a while for libraries to purchase, process, and catalog them.
      • In addition, many libraries to not lend recently purchased books (ourselves included)
    • Old, Reference and Novelty Books
      • Very old books are often in poor condition or are rare and irreplaceable and are kept in non-circulating Archives collections (ourselves included)
      • Few libraries lend Reference books
      • Some novelty/specialty books may have a limited publication (e.g., genealogy family histories) or may be considered a high-risk for theft or damage and are not lent
    • Articles
      • Electronic journals are exempted from the copyright provisions of Fair Use for interlibrary loans. We can only borrow articles that are in print or microform formats.
      • New, foreign, and esoteric journals may be represented only a few libraries. Unfortunately, availability of the citation and abstract does not always relate to the availability of the article.
      • Expense. In cases where costs are prohibitive we will contact you (e.g., copyright fees, borrowing fees, etc.)


  • Getting into ILLiad is no problem, but I cannot read the document
    • Adobe Acrobat is probably not loaded. This may be done at
    • NOTE: step one is loading the download file onto your PC.
    • ote *where* the download is going to: you will need to run the downloaded file to actually install it on your PC.
  • I am unable to Print articles from ILLiad and Adobe Acrobat is installed
    • If Acrobat opens in your browser instead of a separate window make sure you use the Acrobat print icon instead of your browser print commands.
    • Forgetting to do this will result in printing one blank page only.
    • These ILL articles come in huge files, sometimes 1 mb and more. Not only does it take a long time for some of them to load (depending on your connection), but then printing them requires reloading again. Depending on your Printer's memory, this could take a long time as well.
    • Bottom line: if the document is loading, be *very* patient.
    • Best bet: find the fastest Internet connection and printer combination to print the articles.
  • I was not notified that an article or book had arrived
    • If you were not notified, either your ILLiad contact information in is incorrect, or a telephone message could not be delivered.
    • NOTE: You may update your contact information in ILLiad
      It still remains your responsibility to check on the status of your request (permit at least a week to pass first!). Contact the Circulation Desk (989.964.4240)