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Request a digital copy

This guide explains how to use the 'Request a digital copy' service from Library Search

About Request a digital copy

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

All current Staffordshire University students and staff who have a Library Account can use the service.  External users and International partner students and staff are not able to place a 'Request a digital copy' request.

The service is for non-commercial research and private study. You can find information on copyright restrictions via Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (

How will I receive the items I have requested?

Requested items are delivered electronically to your university email address. The library that supplied the request either scans or downloads the material and you are sent a download link for the file. If you request an item that needs to be scanned we cannot guarantee the quality of the scan you receive or that the file will be in a fully-accessible format.

What can I request?

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

Items can only be supplied once and must only be used for non-commercial research and private study and must not be shared with others.

How long will my request take?

Requests are typically fulfilled within 24 hours of the request – often much quicker. There is no option within the Request a Digital Copy service for direct liaison with the holding Library, so we cannot guarantee exactly how long this will take.

Where does my request come from?

Requests are fulfilled by other institutions who have the item in their catalogue. The process is automated and we don't get to choose which Library suppliers the item you requested.

What happens after I have placed my request?

You will receive an automated email to say your request has been placed.  You will receive a further email once the item is ready for you to download.

You can also see the status of any requests under the My Requests section when logged into your Library account and you can also download from here once it has been supplied. File access lasts for 14 days.

What happens if my request cannot be supplied?

You will receive an automated email if the item cannot be supplied. 

If the item is rejected or cannot be supplied, we recommend you first check that the information you submitted was complete and there were no incorrect fields and resubmit if necessary. The second option is to check via British Library on demand to see if it is available. If it is available, you can register for an online account.  See the Document Delivery webpage for more information on how to do this.

If you have any questions about Request a digital copy or British Library requests, please get in touch via