Document Supply Service

The Document Supply Service can be used to borrow books or journal articles which are not available at Aberystwyth University Library.

If you cannot find the item you want in our library catalogue or in the National Library or freely available on the internet, why not order it through our Document Supply Service?  We can obtain:

Information Services will cover the costs of the allocation for the different user groups in all academic departments, subject to available funds

User GroupNumber of requestsCharges
Staff Unlimited Free
Postgraduate Research (PhD, MPhil) Unlimited Free
Postgraduate Taught (Masters, PGCE) Up to 10 free requests per academic year * First 10 free then charges apply
Undergraduate Up to 5 free requests per academic year * First 5 free then charges apply
  • * If you have exceeded your number of allocated requests and you require further items from the Document Supply Service then please continue to submit your requests; a member of staff will notify you if you are liable to pay any charges on additional requests before processing.
  • Undergraduates, taught and research postgraduates can place a request for a book not held in our libraries via the More Books Service

To ensure that the item you require is not available locally before submitting a Document Supply request, please check


Category of itemNew charge from August 2016
Book £14.65
Photocopy (for retention) £10.60
Secure Electronic Delivery £6.20 / £10.90 **
Patent  As charged by British Library
Thesis £14.65
International Requests

Books £14.65

Photocopy £10.90

** £10.90 if scanned-from-print and £6.20 if supplied from an electronic source

Document Supply Renewals and Enquiries

For renewals please note, we will inform you of the new due date as soon as the lending library responds to our request. Renewals are made at the discretion of the lending library.

How to Submit a Document Delivery Request

A Document Supply request can be made by using the Document Supply button on the front page of Primo - the Library catalogue and following the instructions.


Requests can also be made on paper request forms available from all the libraries ensuring the copyright declaration on the pack is signed.
Please ensure the author, title and year fields are accurately completed.

Document Supply requests will not appear on your Primo user account.

The videos below show how to make a document supply request for both books and journal articles

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UK Theses

If you require a UK PhD thesis then please check EThOS  first.

Ethos is the British Library electronic theses service.

If the thesis you require is not on EThOS then log in and send a request to the British Library for the thesis to be scanned.

For a variety of reasons certain PhD theses may be restricted and not available to be scanned. If the thesis is not available and you are asked to contact the awarding institution directly then please put a request into the Document Supply department and we will request the thesis for you from the awarding university as a hard copy.

North American Theses

If not held at the British Library many North American dissertations are available for purchase from Proquest.

If you are unable to find an electronic copy of a thesis from outside the UK please place a request. We will endeavour to find an institution that stocks the thesis, but cannot guarantee that we will be able to supply a copy.

How Do I Download Electronic Articles (SEDs)?

Journal articles ordered on Document Supply will normally be supplied online, directly to your desktop, using the Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) service from the British Library. With Secure Electronic Delivery, documents arrive quickly direct to your desktop and are accessible to you anywhere via a link from your email.

Make your Document Supply request as usual. We email you with a link to the document you requested. To view and/or print the document, you will require the free web plug-in FileOpen installed on your computer (see below).

Open the email in html and click the link to access your request.  Check that all the pages are present and print a single copy immediately. You are permitted to make only one paper copy from the electronic copy. The link is 'live' for fourteen days and your document must be downloaded and printed within that time. The document may only be viewed on the computer on which it has been opened.  If, for any reason, you cannot access your document in time, please contact Document Supply for advice.

Fileopen is a plug-in which works with Adobe Reader to allow you to open your document within the 30 day download window and print it out once. FileOpen can be downloaded free of charge. Instructions on downloading FileOpen on your computer are available at the British Library web site. This page also has a test document for you to make sure your computer is set up correctly. Please note that the Fileopen plugin does not currently work for Linux systems with Acrobat Reader version 9.

If you have any problems or require further information, please contact Document Supply.

Checking the progress of requests

Once you have submitted your request, it will be checked and approved by Customer Services staff, then sent electronically to the lender, which, in most cases, will be the British Library Document Supply Centre. You will be notified, usually by email, if a request is significantly delayed, or cannot be satisfied.

How Long Does it Take?

We cannot guarantee to obtain any item within a specified period.  The time taken for requests to arrive varies considerably from under a day for straightforward requests (eg. articles supplied by SED from major periodicals) to weeks if we obtain an item from overseas.

You can check on the progress of your request by email, phone or in person- in the Hugh Owen Library. Tel: 01970 62 2398 Email:

Can I Cancel a Request?

Once a request has been processed and sent to the British Library we can only cancel if it is placed on a waiting list or lost.

How will I Receive my Request?


You will be notified by e-mail when your library book is available.  Please collect from the relevant library.  We hold all books until they are due to be returned to the lending library.


Journal articles from the British Library will be supplied to your desktop by Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) unless you specifically request a photocopy. You will receive an e-mail from the British Library with a web link to the requested document. The link remains active for 30 days. It is essential to open and print the document as soon as possible. Please note YOU ARE PERMITTED TO MAKE ONLY ONE PAPER COPY (see information on SEDs).

If an article is supplied from another institution and supplied in paper format you will be notified by e-mail and asked to collect it from the relevant library.

How Long Can I Keep The Book?

Loan periods may vary but the return date will be clearly marked on the book, it will also show up on your Primo account once issued.

Reference Use Only Items

Some items are lent to us for reference use only in the library and must be returned to the library Enquiry Desk after each consultation. This restriction has been imposed on us by the lending library. This material can be accessed for consultation 8.30 - 5.30 weekdays and 10 - 5.30 at weekends (during term time) from the Hugh Owen Library Enquiry Desk.

Renewal of Loans

If you wish to renew a book please contact the Document Supply staff in the Hugh Owen library quoting the request number with the author and title of the book, at least 3 days before the due date. We will then apply for permission to renew the item and inform you of the outcome.

Returning Loans or Recalled Items

Please return all items which you receive on loan promptly. This is particularly important because we rely on the goodwill of other libraries to lend us material.

Overdue, Damaged and Lost Items

Fines are levied on all overdue items. You are responsible for all fines incurred as a result of the late return, loss or damage to any item borrowed via the Document Supply system.

Replacement costs and administration charges are those specified by the lending library. The British Library imposes heavy penalties for the late or non-return of it’s material, the current charge for a lost or seriously overdue item is £125.

Supplying to other UK Libraries

We are happy to supply material to other libraries.  Please e-mail your requests to Document Supply including your British Library account number, request details and request number.  We are members of CONARLS.

Material that we do not lend

  • Reference material
  • Items in high demand
  • Special Collections material
  • PhD or MPhil Theses
  • Audio-visual materials


Within copyright restrictions, we will send out by post copies of material on the understanding that it is for non-commercial research or private study.

Conditions of Loan

  • Items are loaned for 4 weeks
  • Loans can be renewed
  • All loans are subject to recall
  • Automatic courtesy and overdue notices are sent out for loans

Supplying Non-UK Libraries

We are happy to supply items to libraries outside the UK.

Material is for reference use in the library only.

Payment must be made in IFLA Vouchers only.


Once we receive your request we will advise you of the charges. Costs may vary but in general they are:

Photocopies:  up to 15 pages = 1 IFLA VOUCHER

                       Over 15 pages = 11/2  IFLA Vouchers

Loans:            For Loans to Europe : 2 IFLA VOUCHERS

                       For Loans to America and Other Overseas Countries a Minimum of 3 IFLA Vouchers, 

                       depending on postage.