Answered By: Sarah Lewis
Last Updated: 05 Nov 2019     Views: 16

When you request a journal article or a book extract via the Inter-library loan service, it will usually be delivered to your email account. 

You will need to register for the British Library On Demand service. This is separate from the interlibrary loan request service. 

Each document can only be opened by one user and will be locked to your British Library account. 


How to download your document

1. When your document is ready to download you will receive an email from the British Library. Click on the link in the email and follow the instructions on this screen:-

2. You must open the document with Adobe Reader. On many computers this will happen automatically, but if you have a different default PDF reader, you will have to find the folder where your document has downloaded and select Open with…

  • Go to your Downloads folder
  • Right click on the document
  • Select Open With…
  • Select Adobe Reader > Adobe Reader opens up.

3. Enter your British Library On Demand username and password to access the document. You need to enter these details each time that you access the document. 

The document opens, and will now be locked to your account.

IMPORTANT: Please be aware the link in your email will expire after 30 days and cannot be reactivated. If you want access to the document for more than 30 days, you must print it (you may only print it once) or save it (you may access saved documents for up to 3 years).


Save and print

1. Once you have downloaded the document in Adobe Reader, you can save it by clicking on File then Save As. Saving the document will allow you access to it for three years from the date of supply.

2. The document will usually be saved in your Downloads folder, but you may want to move it to somewhere more memorable. The usual save command in Adobe Reader is disabled for these secure documents, so you will have to find where it was downloaded to and move it to a new location.

  • Navigate to your Downloads folder.
  • Drag the document from the Downloads folder into a new folder (e.g. My Documents or a memory stick).

If the digital item is defective or is the wrong item, please contact us.


Please ensure you have Adobe Reader 10 (or above) on your device and it is selected as your default reader.

Please note - Chrome, Apple & Windows 10 users:

  • Chrome users - the Google Chrome PDF viewer can be disabled by typing the following "chrome://settings/content/pdfDocuments" into the address bar, then turn the slider off.
  • Apple users - please download Adobe Digital Editions from the app store, and create an Adobe account.
  • Windows 10 - to change your default PDF viewer please go to System> Apps > Default Apps> Set PDF> select Adobe DC.

Need Help?

Please contact us.

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