Interlibrary Loan (“ILL”) is a service provided to BC Law students, faculty, and staff to obtain materials needed for academic and research purposes not available at the Law Library. ILL requests are made by signing into your Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery Account. Most members of the law reviews will find that they use the ILL service frequently for research and source collection purposes. Therefore, it will be of great use to you to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of ILL early on, so that we can best meet your needs. A basic overview of our ILL service can be found here. Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions law review members have about Interlibrary Loan.
1. What materials are available through Interlibrary Loan?
2. The book I want is available at another BC library. Do I have to go pick it up?
3. The title I need isn’t available in Holmes. How do I have it sent to me from another library?
4. What information do I need to provide when making an ILL request?
5. I’m an RA doing research for my professor, is it possible to have the request sent to him/her?
6. I placed an ILL request over a week ago. Why isn’t it here yet?
7. How can I check the status of my ILL request?
8. I need a request right away. How can I rush my ILL request?
9. Why was my request cancelled? I entered the citation exactly as it was given to me.
10. The author cited to an online newspaper but I need a copy from the original source. Now ILL says they want a page number. How do I get one?
11. How long do I get to keep an ILL book?
12. Can I renew an ILL book?
13. Can I check an ILL book out to my journal or carrel?
14. I got an email saying that my ILL book was recalled, but I still need it for my research. Do I have to return it?
Many different types of items can be requested through ILL. However, because of the policies of many libraries, certain kinds of items are very difficult or sometimes impossible to get such as:
- Multi-volume sets (full sets)
- Very recent material
- Entire issues of law reviews and other journals (but you can request photocopies of individual articles)
- Reference books, rare books, or very old books
- Materials that are difficult to pack or expensive to ship
- Most audiovisual materials
- Books on permanent or course reserve at other libraries
- Materials that are owned by very few libraries or only international libraries
No. With the exception of the Educational Resource Library and the Burns Library, you can request to have any circulating book sent to the Law Library for pickup. Submit your request through the Interlibrary Loan/Doc Delivery page as you would any other ILL request. You will receive an email alerting you to its arrival.
Most books arrive within 24-48 hours, but the time can vary depending on staff availability at the libraries. If you need an item sooner than 48 hours, it is quite possible that you will get it faster by going directly to the other BC library.
Log in to your Interlibrary Loan account and fill out a request form for the book or article. If you need a specific edition, be sure to note that in the entry. The more information you provide, the more quickly the request can be processed.
Alternatively, you may also request the item through the WorldCat database by using its “Request Interlibrary Loan” feature. The request form will populate automatically, and all you have to do is hit “Submit Request”.
You will receive an email informing you the request is available as soon it arrives.
It is important that you provide complete citations for each book or article you are requesting (i.e., author, title, year of publication). If you need a specific edition, please include that information. For articles, also include the name of the journal and the page number on which the article begins. It is very difficult to fill article requests without a page number, and ones lacking page numbers are subject to cancellation. Incomplete or inaccurate information can delay the processing of your request. You are strongly encouraged to consult with a reference librarian before submitting your request if you have any trouble determining the correct citation.
Yes. Simply place a note in the request indicating the professor.
Although the majority of requests arrive in about a week, it can take up to a month, or even more, for difficult to obtain items such as books in high demand, books that are not widely held, or article requests from back issues or less popular newspapers and magazines. Every ILL request is sent out to a string of five libraries, which each have up to four days to process it. Unfortunately, staff shortages, mail delays and simple human error sometimes happen, and even what seems like an easy request may take longer than expected.
The best way for you to ensure that you receive your request as quickly as possible is to provide detailed and accurate information as early as possible. Many times, delays are due to insufficient or inaccurate information, such as a lack of specificity or a bad cite, and we don’t find out until the request comes back to us unfilled.
Always feel free to stop by the Information Desk or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever have a question about the status of your request.
Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee that a request will get here by a certain date. Every ILL request is sent out to a string of five libraries, which each have up to four days to process it. Staff shortages, mail delays and simple human error sometimes happen, so even what seems like an easy request may take longer than expected. Furthermore, materials that are difficult to obtain can take a particularly long time.
The best way you can speed up the process is to provide the most complete citation information possible with your request. This will help us process it quickly and will make it easier for lending libraries to fill it. There are no guarantees with Interlibrary Loan however, so it is important that you plan ahead.
It is your job to find out what each citation refers to and enter that information into the ILL request form in full. Interlibrary loan is not a research service. If you are unsure of the source, please see reference for assistance. They will be more than happy to help you.
ILL requests may also be cancelled when an acceptable copy of the item is available through the Law Library. Sometimes an article not available electronically is available in hard copy and vice versa. Please check all available resources using Holmes before submitting your request. If an item is available but not in the format that you need (e.g., a facsimile) please feel free to submit an ILL request.
It is possible to locate a page number in most cases, even for an article that appeared online, by utilizing one of Boston College’s many electronic databases. It may even be available in digital format already. See a reference librarian for assistance.
Please note that ILL article requests without a page number are subject to cancellation.
Usually four to eight weeks. As part of the interlibrary loan exchange, we are obligated to follow any parameters set by the lending library. Some libraries allow more time for their loans, others less.
Usually. Most lending libraries will allow us to renew a book for one loan period. If you need an item past its due day, please make a renewal request through your Interlibrary Loan account or by emailing email@example.com. Whether or not a renewal is granted and the length of the renewal is at the discretion of the lending library. You can see the result of a renewal request by checking the due date in your Interlibrary Loan account. Please allow a day or two for the lending library to respond.
If a renewal request is denied, or your item is marked as “No Renewal,” you must return the item by its due date. You can submit another request, and we will attempt to get a replacement copy for you.
No. Interlibrary loan books, as well as books from O’Neill and any other main campus library, must be checked out to a person. S/he is then responsible for the book until it is returned, regardless of where it is or who is actually using it. For this reason, many 2Ls doing source collection choose to have the books checked out to their editor instead. To do this, simply place a note in the initial request indicating the name of the editor for whom it should be requested. You cannot check an ILL book out to another person, such as an editor, once it has been filled.
Yes. ILL books, like all library books, must be returned on time whether or not you still need them for law review. Failure to do so can result in fines, replacement fees, and/or temporary suspension of borrowing privileges. You are welcome, however, to submit a request for a replacement copy, and we will try our best to obtain the book from a different library.