Skip to Main Content

Inter-library loans

Accessing your chapter or article from British Library On Demand

January 2024 update. The British Library was the target of a cyber-attack in October 2023, and, as a result, many of its online services, including British Library On Demand, are currently not operational. If you cannot access a requested inter-library loan as a result of this outage, then please contact and we will try to help you find alternative access to the material that you need.

If your journal article or chapter is being supplied by the British Library, they will send an email to your Birmingham Newman email address containing a link to download your inter-library loan.
See the ‘How to download your article’ help below.
You can download to your computer, tablet or smartphone and read the documents using Adobe Reader version 10 or above.

If you are having problems accessing your download then please contact us.

You have 30 days to download your inter-library loan after which the link will expire and you will have to request the item again. An additional request will use up another one of your annual quota and will take the usual time to process.

How to download your article

You need:

  • to register for a free British Library On Demand account.
    Find step-by-step instructions below ‘How to register for British Library On Demand’.
  • a computer or device with Adobe Reader version 10 or above - if not you can download it from the Adobe website.
  • an internet connection

You will receive an email from the British Library including a download link when your inter-library loan request is available.

You can click on the link in the email to access the document for 30 days – after 30 days the link will expire.

You can access the document for 3 years if you download and save a copy using the link.

When you click on the link the download page will display.

Screenshot of British Library On Demand email with download link

Enter your British Library On Demand username or the email address registered to your British Library On Demand account

BL On Demand DRM Lite download screen with field to enter username

Click on ‘Download your document’.

To download and save your document (to access the copy for up to 3 years), click on the arrow next to ‘Save’ then select ‘Save As’. Choose the location to save the file then click on Save.
If you cannot save the document, the reason is probably that the British Library does not have an agreement with the publisher to allow this.
If you click on ‘Open’ when prompted this will download but not save your document.

Enter your British Library On Demand username and password then click OK.

BL DRM Lite document login screen

You should now be able to view and print your document.

If you cannot access the file or are experiencing any technical difficulties, contact us as soon as possible at If you let us know before the link expires – within 30 days of receiving the email, we can help by printing the article for you.

You may only print 1 single copy of the document – and you must not make any more printed copies from this copy or share it with anyone else.

You may not make extra electronic copies, scan or convert the file into any other format, or cut and paste or otherwise alter the text or share it with anyone else.

Having problems?

Check the British Library, DRM-Lite FAQ’s (PDF) for further help and guidance.

  • Do you have version 10 or above of Adobe Reader?
  • Is your device connected to the internet?
  • Has the download link expired?
    It expires 30 days after the email is sent from the British Library
    You will need to re-order the inter-library loan if it has expired.
  • Did you get the error message ‘There was a problem accessing your document, please try again later’?
    If your username has the ‘@’ symbol in it, contact the British Library Customer Services team for help.

Ask us for help on 0121 387 4499, at or in the library.

How to register for British Library On Demand

Go to the British Library On Demand registration page.

Complete the registration form

  • do not use an email address or the ‘@’ symbol in your Username – this will cause problems when opening documents
  • agree to the British Library Terms and Conditions
  • click on the ‘Register’ button

How to register for BL On Demand service screen showing 'Register' link in the bottom right hand corner

You will receive a registration email with a link which you need to click on to complete the registration process.

It can take up to five minutes for your new registration to be updated with the British Library - so please download again if it doesn’t work the first time.

Last reviewed: 3 April 2024

Report a problem | View current service issues