Frequently Asked Questions about Interlibrary Loan

Eligibility for Interlibrary Loan

Current UC Student, Faculty, or Staff
Current UC student, staff, and faculty members can use the Interlibrary Loan Service.
UCD Affiliate at a Remote UC Davis Research Facility
UCD faculty, staff, and students working at sites outside the Davis/Sacramento area can use the Interlibrary Loan Service. Refer to services for remote users for more information.
All Other Individuals with UC Davis Library Cards
All other individuals with UC Davis library cards should seek interlibrary loan service at a public library.
Independent Researcher
Independent researchers should seek interlibrary loan services from a public library.
Representative of another Institution or Library
UC Davis provides access to the holdings of the Peter J. Shields Library and the Physical Sciences & Engineering Library through the Peter J. Shields Interlibrary Lending Service and to the collections of the Carlson Health Sciences Library and the Blaisdell Medical Library through the Carlson Health Sciences Lending Services.

How Long Does It Take?

Interlibrary Loan and the University of California libraries are committed to providing expedited access to shared library resources. All UC Libraries use the Tricor courier service and the Ariel electronic document delivery system. With these two delivery systems, the majority of requests can be processed and filled in approximately five working days.

Unfortunately, some requests take a great deal longer, despite our best efforts. A variety of causes can contribute to this problem: lost, missing or checked out books, mail or delivery system slowness, mailing and processing mistakes, or overburdened ILL staff at other institutions.

Our goal is to have your request sent to potential lenders within one working day of its submission and to notify you of its receipt within one working day of the item's arrival. These are the parts of the ILL process that we can control.

In general, it is a good idea to allow 2 to 3 weeks for interlibrary loan items to arrive, especially for materials not owned by UC Libraries. While most requests will arrive much sooner than this some can take considerably longer.

How Long Can Items Be Kept?

Loan periods for Interlibrary Loan materials are set by the lending library. The lending library may also set special conditions of the loan, such as "library use only" or "nonrenewable."

Items That Can Be Requested

Most research materials can be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan. Books, theses, dissertations, educational videos, periodical articles, conference proceedings, technical standards, and patents can all be acquired in most cases. However, there are a number of exceptions, see below.

Material that Interlibrary Borrowing Will Not Request

  • ILL will not order materials owned in any format by UC Davis libraries, unless checked-out, missing or lost. Material checked out at UC Davis may be requested from other UC libraries only.
  • ILL will not order textbooks required by current course syllabi.
  • ILL will not order materials currently in the library reserve collections for use in current classes.

Items Generally Not Available Through Interlibrary Loan

These types of material are generally not available through interlibrary loan:

  • Reference materials
  • Newspapers in original format
  • Whole issues or volumes of journals
  • Materials owned by the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley and by the Clark Library at UCLA are not loaned by those libraries.
  • Special Collections — some libraries have categories of materials that are not available on interlibrary loan. These include: rare, fragile, or unique materials; audiovisual materials such as video tapes and sound recordings; some dissertations; and items in special collections.

Frequently Delayed Materials

Certain requests are more likely to be delayed than others. Here is a list of types of materials that frequently take much longer than normal to process.

  • Current computer science titles
  • Popular best sellers
  • Materials not located in the UC system
  • Requests with incomplete, inaccurate, or illegible bibliographic information

Can Videos be Requested Through ILL?

It is possible but difficult to get videos through ILL. Many libraries will not loan them at all. Most UC libraries will loan them only with restrictions. Videos are often loaned for a maximum one week, with no possibility of renewal and may be used only in the library or in the classroom. Because many libraries resist lending them, videos can take much longer than other materials to acquire. Because of these restrictions it is almost always a better idea to rent videos from Blockbuster, Netflix, or a local store when they are available.

Where Do My Requests Go Once I've Placed Them?

Many ILL requests are routed automatically to a UC campus or other library that owns the requested item. Requests that cannot be automatically routed are reviewed by Interlibrary Loan staff. It may take a day or two for ILL staff to route such requests. Owning libraries are identified, and the requests are forwarded electronically to a group of libraries owning the item. If an item currently checked out from UC Davis is not available at another UC library a recall is placed for the UC Davis copy.

Where Do I Get In-Person Help With ILL Requests?

In-person service is available at the public service desk in both the Carlson Health Sciences Library and the Blaisdell Medical Library.

Interlibrary Loan Service for Shields Library and the Physical Sciences & Engineering Library is located in the Shields Library on the first floor. Service is provided from the Circulation Desk (see map). ILL books may be picked up any time the circulation desk is open. ILL specialists are available to assist with in-depth ILL inquiries from 8-5 weekdays.

The separate ILL desk was combined with the Circulation desk in April 2008 to conserve staff and make ILL services available for longer hours. Expert ILL staff is still available to assist you from 8 am to 5 pm! If you have difficult or unusual Interlibrary loan issues, please ask for an ILL specialist at the main circulation desk.

Contact Interlibrary Loan Services

Shields Library and the Physical Sciences & Engineering Library
Phone: (530) 752‑2251
Carlson Health Sciences Library
Phone: (530) 752‑6379
Blaisdell Medical Library
The Blaisdell Medical Library Interlibrary Loan Service is located in the Education Building on the UCDMC campus in Sacramento.
Phone: (916) 734‑3529