Document supply

Requesting material from other libraries

When should I use the Document Supply Service?

The Document Supply Service provides essential materials for research or study that the library does not possess or subscribe to.

Search Locate, the library catalogue for your required item. If it is not available submit an online request to us via the Document Supply Request ‘tab’ on the Locate catalogue search page and we will obtain it from another UK library. 

How do I request an item?

Request forms are available online via the ‘Document Supply Request’ tab on the Locate main search page. Fill out your details and the request details, click on ‘I agree’ and ‘Save’ and the request will be sent to our docsupply.lib email address.

How much does it cost?

The Document Supply service is free to all staff and students. Each request costs the library an average of £10. If the item you require is not available from any library but is available on the web, we can order it for you. The average cost of an article is £10 and the cost for a book/thesis is £15.40 If the item you require costs more than the stated amounts we ask that you pay the difference. If you agree to pay the difference we will request the item on your behalf, email the document to you and add the outstanding amount to your library record.

Are Document Supply requests subject to copyright?

Yes! If you are requesting a copy you may only request one whole article, chapter or paper or 10% whichever is the greater, from a single publication. If you need more than one article from a journal part it may be possible to lend the whole part.

Can I request a thesis?

Sometimes! We are able to borrow some UK PhD Theses. It depends on the lending criteria of the library that holds it. The British Library provide a service called Ethos, which supplies some UK digital Theses for free and some that require payment to obtain. Please ask the Document Supply staff for more information.

If we are able to supply a printed thesis it will be reference only, so be prepared to spend time in the library when you use it. 

How long will my request take to arrive?

You should allow 5 days, although many requests are supplied more quickly than this, (depending on what format the item is in at the British Library). If the British Library are not able to supply it within 5 days, it may take another week or more, as we have to search and apply to other academic libraries for it. If you have not received your request within 5 days you can ask for a progress report from the Document Supply team. 

Where do I collect it?

If you have requested a copy of an article, chapter or paper, you will be sent an email with a link in it to your Coventry University email address. Enter your British Library On Demand username or email address to download the document.

Items borrowed from other libraries should be collected from the Welcome Desk on the Ground Floor of the Lanchester Library. We will notify you by email when an item arrives. 

How long can I keep it?

E-Copies – Once downloaded, you can store and access them for three years, you can print them out once and keep.

Loans - Usually we have them for five weeks. Renewals may be possible on items that aren't in heavy demand. Renewals cost £4.85

DRM Lite document links

(Sent to your University email address from the British Library)

Requested copies from the British Library are in the DRM Lite format.

To download and open these you must first register with the British Library. 

The benefits to DRM Lite files are that:

  • files can be downloaded to a variety of desktop and mobile devices
  • once downloaded, files can be accessed for up to three years

Guidance for registering with the British Library

To register with the British Library’s On Demand service:

  1. Follow the “Don’t have a British Library Online Account Yet?”
  2. Complete the registration form (please use your … or … email address).

You will be asked to register a username and password.

Important notice: Usernames containing the ‘@’ symbol can cause documents to fail to open. Please avoid creating usernames containing the ‘@’ symbol.

You will receive an email asking you to verify your account – follow the verification process contained within this email.

You will receive an email confirming your registration – you do not need to forward this email to us.

You are now able to access DRM Lite documents using your British Library username and password.

Guidance for accessing electronic documents

You will need access to the internet.

You will need Adobe Reader 10 or later installed on your device.

If your browser has an inbuilt PDF viewer, e.g. Google Chrome, you will not be able to access your documents –Please use an alternative such as Internet Explorer or Firefox.

You will receive an email from the British Library to your Coventry University email address.

  1. Click on the “Click to download your document” button.
  2. You will then be prompted to authenticate the document with your British Library username and password.
  3. Save the file immediately, using ‘Save As’

We strongly recommend that you print a copy.

Postal request service

Postal Request Service queries: Please email

What is the postal request service?

The Postal Request Service (PRS) supplies books or copies of journal articles or book chapters from the Library’s print stock to students that are unable to visit the Library.

How does it work?

You can make a request for a book or copy of a chapter or article that we have in stock in print. Fill out as many of the fields as possible put ‘Postal Request Service’ and your address at the top of the Chapter/Article title field, read and click on ‘I agree’ to the copyright declaration and ‘save’. An email request will be sent to the email box.

The requested books will be issued to your Library record and posted to you. Articles will be scanned in compliance with copyright law and emailed to your Coventry University email address.

Who is it for?

The service is primarily aimed at students who are unable to get to the Library due to their location or the nature of their course, however the service is open to any registered student or staff member who has confirmed that the item(s) required are available in the Library stock.

What can I request?

You may request any standard (3 week loan) book that you have checked is available on Locate. Any other category of book is not available through the PRS service.
You can request a copy of one chapter or 10% from any book or one article or 10% from any journal part that is held in print in the Library.

How many items may I request?

When requesting books the limit is your Library issuing limit.
Please ensure that you have space on your Library card for the books that you request.
When requesting copies of articles or chapters there is a limit of one chapter or 10% of the book. There is a limit of 100 pages per person.

How long will it take to receive my requests?

The service will aim to send out any available item to you within two working days of receiving your request.

How much does it cost?

For a trial period, 4 February 2019 to 29 April 2019, this service is free to any member of staff or student making a reasonable request for items. This policy of ‘no charge’ will be reviewed at the end of the trial period.

I live overseas - can I still use the Postal Request Service?

We can email copies of articles and chapters as per copyright law to your Coventry University email address. We are unable to post out loan items.

What else do I need to know?

We do not send out any one week loan books.
Books that are reserved by other students will not be sent out by the PRS as the reservation will reduce the loan period to one week.
Only copies of articles and chapters are sent internationally.

How do I return a book?

You may return the book in person or by post. If posting, we advise that you return the books by recorded delivery post. This will enable you to trace and recover the cost of the books if they go missing. If you do not renew your book please ensure that it is returned to the Library by the date specified on the slip inside the book.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to the Document Supply Service please contact the Document Supply team on

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