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Borrowing & membership

Request a Digital Copy

Request a digital copy is an Interlibrary Loans service that automatically matches your request to another library that holds the item you want. The service is free to use and is designed to fulfill book chapters and article requests quickly with accepted material available within 24 hours on most occasions.

It is designed to provide quick access to articles and book chapters, but not all items we don’t hold are available through this service. You can use this for articles and book chapters that are not held in the Staffordshire University catalogue.

You can request: 

  • One copy of an article from a journal issue
  • One copy of a chapter from a single book

Please note that you cannot use this service to request a whole book.

Find out more on the Request a Digital Copy guide. 

British Library On Demand

The British Library is experiencing a major technology outage, as a result of what has now been identified as a cyber-attack.

The outage is affecting the British Library website, online systems and many of its services including British Library On Demand. Further information available here


British Library On Demand allows you to search and order content from over 42 million items held in the British Library's collections.

You will need to register for a British Library Online Account (select On Demand as the service) and then associate that account with Staffordshire University Libraries.  

When you receive an email from the British Library asking you to confirm your email address. Click on the link within the email to activate your account, then forward this email to the Document Delivery team at to notify us of your online account number. Please include your Staffordshire University student number or staff ID to allow us to confirm your status and eligibility, and the email address that you registered with the British Library. We will contact you to confirm when your online account has been associated with our business account. 

You can then order electronic copies of chapters and articles to be delivered direct to your registered email address. Please note, you will be required to complete a Copyright Declaration form for each request made.

You can also use this service  to request copies of books for loan to your home address, please note in this case you are responsible for returning any items to the British Library (and paying the postage costs) alongside any charges for overdue, damaged or lost items you have loaned.

There is no limit to the number of requests that you can make, but please bear in mind that the service is expensive, so try to be selective.  Please also make sure that you check any items you wish to request are not freely available online. Our guide to Open Access resources in the section below will help you with this.

Sometimes we can’t fulfil requests due to availability, cost or copyright restrictions, but we will let you know of any issues.

Please note that you will be responsible for paying the return postage costs to the British Library. Loans should normally be returned by first class post. However, British Library may ask you to use some form of recorded delivery when returning an item. A return address label is enclosed with loans and should be used to return the item to the correct address.

Overdue, Damaged or Lost Items

Books on loan can be recalled by the British Library at any time – please ensure that you check your online account and emails regularly for notifications. If a loan item is not returned promptly after being recalled, an overdue charge of £5.45 will be applied.

The British Library charges a minimum of £185.50 for long overdue, damaged or lost items - this includes an administration charge of £92.75 plus VAT, which is non-refundable even if the book is returned.  This charge will be passed on to the borrower. 

How to Register for British Library On Demand

To register for a British Library Online Account, please follow the step-by-step instructions in the guides below.

Open Access Resources

What are Open Access Resources?

These are resources (for example books, conference papers or journal articles) that have been made available to read or download free of charge and without having to log-in for access.

Please check that the material you need is not freely available online before making a request via the On Demand service.

The following search tools provide a quick and easy way to check for resources, when you can't find what you are looking for in stock at our libraries.

Search Tools for Open Access Resources

Browser Extensions

These free browser plug-ins unlock access instantly and legally to millions of open access resources.

Doctoral Theses - Temporary access

Due to the Cyber attack on the British Library the ETHOS service is unavailable until further notice. We have pulled together some advice and alternative options which you will find listed below.

Updates on the situation at the British Library are available here: It is extremely serious and they are obviously doing all they can to resolve the situation.  

It is likely that any alternative will involve a more manual search as there will be a need to search in several different places to gather the information required.

General resources:

The request a digital copy service is available to source alternative book chapters and journal articles:

Theses specific searching and some possible alternatives to ETHOS:

All Staffordshire University theses are held either in the physical library or a digital version is available via our institutional repository - STORE these are also discoverable via Library search using the filter for Dissertation.

It would also be possible to search the discovery services or repositories of other institutions and request copies of theses directly from these institutions if they are not available to download. SCONUL membership may be an option if it means visiting an institution to access a paper copy.

Other useful open access resources include:


CORE attempts to aggregate all open access research outputs (including theses) from repositories and journals worldwide and make them publicly available. Only those theses which are free for all users to download, read and use are included.


Dart-Europe searches etheses repositories from European institutions and endeavours to offer a single European portal for their discovery. Only those theses which are free for all users to download, read and use are included.

For additional advice on searching for alternative resources please contact your Library & Academic Skills Team subject specialist.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about Document Delivery services at Staffordshire University. please get in touch via email at