Secure electronic delivery - Inter-Library Loans

Updated on 20 July 2023

Register for Inter-Library Loans (ILLs) from the British Library

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Journal articles sourced as Inter-Library Loans (ILLs) from the British Library are supplied as encrypted PDFs. This method is known as secure electronic delivery and is the default. It works by means of software called DRM Lite which ensures that the item is only used as permitted by the rights holder. A document may be accessed on multiple devices including MacBooks, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

You are required to register for the British Library's On Demand service and have a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (v10 or above) installed on your device(s).

Note: the University of Dundee student and staff desktops have the fully compatible Adobe Acrobat Reader DC installed.

How to get access

If you register only when your first document arrives, you will have to wait for between 10 and 15 minutes before you can open it.

There is no charge as long as you place your ILL request through the Library & Learning Centre (LLC). Your On Demand account is merely a mechanism for receiving documents, not ordering them. 

The confirmation of registration email mentions associating a personal account with the LLC's business account. You do not need to complete this step as you will be placing your requests through the LLC's Library Search.

Download rules

  • Download the document within 30 days of your request.
  • You can download and save the file for up to three years.
  • Print the document only once.

You will not be able to read the document offline. You must be connected to the Internet.

Confirmation email

The sender will appear as Make sure emails from this address are not being routed into your junk mail folder. The subject header will contain British Library Order and a reference number.


Check you have everything your need to view your documents by downloading the test document supplied in your notification email. More information can be found on the British Library website (PDF). 

Set up an On Demand account


LLC's Inter-library loan team

+44 (01382) 384086

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