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Interlibrary Loan


You can order books or articles, which are not available in Bielefeld University Library, via Interlibrary Loan (ILL) or document delivery. To place an order you will need a UniCard / Library Card and your library password.

  • Ordering of Books via ILL
    Interlibrary loan for books or part copies of books. Delivery time 5-10 working days. Charges are 1.50 EUR per order.
  • Ordering of Journal Articles via ILL
    Search for journal titles and order articles in one single integrated search facility. Delivery time 2-3 working days. Charges are 1.50 EUR per order.
  • Document Delivery
    For members of Bielefeld University only. Delivery time 24 hours maximum. Charges are 5-50 EUR per order.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is interlibrary loan?

Library items, which are not available in the collection of Bielefeld University Library can be ordered via interlibrary loan. You can place your order from any internet connected computer in the library. The item will be delivered to the Central Lending Department, where you can pick it up. You will be notified by mail or by email when the requested item has arrived.

How and where do I pay?

The charges are 1,50 EUR per order. Legal basis is the Fee Schedule of Bielefeld University Library as of December 3, 2007.
The costs for each order will automatically be debited to your loan account. Please pay the amount due within a four week period at the Central Lending Department.
If you do not leave you email address in your loan account, the postage for a notification letter (0.70 EUR) will be added!

Please note that the fee becomes due on sending out the order. It is a handling fee and thus due irrespective of fulfilment. If the amount of copied pages is extraordinarily high or the order refers to a valuable volume, an additional charge imposed by the delivering library is possible. Please note in the order form whether you are willing to pay the surcharge and the accepted amount of money.

Who pays for official orders?

If you are a staff member of Bielefeld University and you present your official library card on placing your order, the order will be on behalf of the university unit you work for and is paid by them.

What can I do if I don't find the requested item?

If the requested item is not recorded in the HBZ Union Catalogue you can also use the "free search form" for ordering. Enter the bibliographic data as detailed as possible. Since this order has to be processed manually, the delivery will probably take longer.

How do I order a book?

Choose the link "Ordering of Books" on the website interlibrary loan and authenticate with user number (no. on your library card) and password for your loan account. If your search in the union catalogue has been successful, a list of libraries which hold this item will be displayed. Pressing the button "Interlibrary Loan Request" will transfer the bibliographic data into an order form. There you need to decide for one of the mentioned order options:

  • Order a complete volume
  • Order a copy of an article or a section

In the next step you may enter more details, e.g. latest delivery date or other editions possible.

It may happen that from the processing of your order arise higher costs, e.g. when more than 40 pages have to copied. For such occasions please enter the maximum amount of money you are willing to pay.

When your order has been successfully sent, you will get a receipt from the system containing an order number. Each order you placed will show immediately on your loan account in the "Bestellung/Vormerkung" area and identified by an eight digit number.

How do I order a journal article?

Choose the link "Ordering of Articles" on the website interlibrary loan and authenticate with user number (no. on your library card) and password for your loan account. If your search in the union catalogue has been successful, a list of libraries which hold this item will be displayed. Pressing the button "Interlibrary Loan Request" will bring up an order form where you enter detailed information about the article you request. The publication year is mandatory!
The article will be delivered to the Central Lending Department as printed copy. You can choose how you want to be notified when the copy can be collected:

  • via email
  • via internal post (for staff only)
  • via post (postage surcharge of 0.80 EUR)

When your order has been successfully sent, you will get a receipt from the system containing an order number. Each order you placed will show immediately on your loan account in the "Bestellung/Vormerkung" area and identified by an eight digit number.

What happens after I have placed my order?

After your request has been accepted, the system will determine the order of the potential supplying libraries. Several aspects like physical distance and order quantities are taken into account.

If the first library in line can not provide the requested item, your order will be passed on until it is filled. The shipping address is Bielefeld University Library where you can in the end collect the item. If your order can not be fulfilled you will be notified as well of course.

How can I find out about the state of processing?

The current status of processing can be checked anytime by referring to the Check your order option.
If you have questions or problems, please refer to the Central Lending Department or send an email to fernleihe.ub@uni-bielefeld.de

How long do I have to wait for my order?

We can not guarantee an exact date since a lot of factors influence the delivery period.
As a rule you may expect that

  • a book order will take 5 - 10 working days
  • a journal article order will take about 2-3 working days (precondition: the journal is held by a library in North Rhine-Westphalia)
Can I delete an order?

No - sorry!

Where do I collect my orders?

Please collect your orders at the Central Lending Department in the library.

Which items are excluded from interlibrary loan?

The regulations for interlibrary loan in Germany are laid down in the German Lending Rules. Specified is also which items are not circulated through interlibrary loan. These are e.g.:

  • Low cost items that are available from bookshops. That's because the cost for the processing of your order would be more expensive than the purchase of this item. The current limit is 15,- EUR.
  • Rare items or items of great value especially dating from the 16th and 17th century. The majority of the libraries even exclude items published before 1800 from interlibrary loan. Copying or microfilming is often possible though.
  • Loose-leaf books and unbound or single journal issues
  • Master and Bachelor Thesis
  • Items in poor condition
Are there any restrictions for usage?

The lending library can impose conditions on the usage of their material such as usage only in the reading room, a copy prohibition etc. The borrowing library has to pass these restrictions on to the users.

How long is the loan period?

The loan period is set individually by the lending library and is normally four weeks. The loan period and - if appropriate - a note for special usage conditions can be seen on the date slip coming with the item. The loan period can not be renewed!

Where do I return the items?

The items borrowed via Interlibrary Loan can be returned at the Central Lending Department or any circulation desk (Mon-Fri, 8-18). Please leave the date slip with the item. Borrowed items can't be returned at self-service units.

Who do I turn to with questions or problems?

In case you need help refer to: