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British Library On Demand

Purchase articles from British Library On Demand

This topic outlines the procedures for purchasing articles from the British Library On Demand using WorldShare Interlibrary Loan.

Set up a British Library account

Before you begin purchasing documents from the British Library On Demand, you must register for a personal British Library Account. If your library orders or plans to order more than 100 documents/year from the British Library, you should consider setting up a Business Account as well.

 Note: For more information on the difference between an Individual and Business Account, see Registration types.


You can register for an Individual Account or Business Account.

To register for an Individual Account:

  1. Go to the British Library On Demand page.
  2. Click the Register button in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Follow the steps to register for an individual account.
  4. After your account is confirmed, you will be given an Online Account ID number. Make sure to save this number if you plan to register for a Business Account. You will need to provide it along with your Document Supply Business Account Registration form.

To register for a Business Account: 

  1. Visit the Regular users/Organizations page.
  2. From here, open the Document Supply Registration Form PDF using the link at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Complete this form and return it according to the instructions at the end of the form.
  4. The British Library will confirm your registration by email within one working day.

Sign in

Sign in to the British Library Service with your British Library Username and Password.  You can log in at any time before ordering by visiting the British Library On Demand page and clicking Login at the top of the page. By logging in, you may review account specific pricing.

You can also wait to log in until you are ready to complete the purchase of a document.

See Purchase documents from British Library On Demand for more information about when to log in and complete your purchase.

British Library On Demand for ILLiad

To download the British Library On Demand addon for ILLiad, go to the ILLiad BL on Demand Addon

How to get the most from the British Library On Demand

These tables provide definitions of the different options available for purchasing a document through the British Library On Demand through WorldShare Interlibrary Loan. This information was provided by the British Library.

Delivery format

Option Meaning
Encrypted Download Some publishers ask the British Library to apply technical protection measures to documents to ensure that only the person receiving the document can view it. The document will be viewable for 3 years and can be printed once. You will need a FileOpen plug-in installed on your computer to view an encrypted document. The FileOpen plug-in can be downloaded via the links on BL on Demand and from FileOpen.
Unencrypted Download

Many publishers allow the British Library to supply without encryption. You do not need any software to view these documents other than Adobe Reader.

 Note: Select Unencrypted Download whenever it is available.

Ariel Ariel delivery allows documents to be delivered to an Ariel workstation.
Paper The British Library prints the document in a booklet format and delivers it by mail.

Delivery speed



Immediate Download

Where BL on Demand holds an electronic item on its servers, the document can be delivered almost immediately. If you select a download delivery format and Immediate Download is available, it will be automatically selected, as it is the fastest and cheapest mode of delivery.

2 hours

The item will be supplied within 2 hours of order confirmation. This option is only available for scans of print items.

24 hours

The item will be supplied within 24 hours of order confirmation. This option is only available for scans of print items.

4 days

The item will be supplied within 4 days of order confirmation. This option is only available for scans of print items.

Registration types

Registration Type



If you don’t expect to order more than 100 items from BL on Demand per year, you only need to register as an individual. You only need to register once. There is a registration link at the top right of the order screen, or you can click here. Once registered, you can quickly log in and order requests at any time. Payment is via IFM.

Business account

This option is available to customers who intend to purchase over 100 documents a year.

To open a Business Account, register by downloading and completing the Registration Form. Then, visit BL on Demand to set up an Online Account for use in conjunction with your Business Account. Provide us with your Online Account ID number when sending us your completed form.

The advantages in registering are:

Wider delivery options

Custom price lists

If you already have a Business Account with the British Library, visit BL on Demand to set up an Online Account. Send us your Online Account ID number and Customer Code to link both accounts.

Contact email:

Purchase documents from British Library On Demand

Documents available through the British Library On Demand can be purchased only after a request has been created and saved in the WorldShare ILL system. You will not have the option to purchase a document from the British Library until it has been saved as a Borrowing Request.

 Note: If you would like to borrow an item from the British Library, complete the ILL request process by sending a request to lender BRI as you would for any other library.

To purchase a document from the British Library On Demand:

  1. On the left navigation, click Borrowing Requests.
  2. Open a request category—New for Review, Not Reviewed, or Reviewed—by clicking on the link. The Borrowing Request list opens.
  3. Open a request for an article by clicking on the ID number or the article Title. The request details expand.
  4. If it has not already been entered, scroll down and fill in the Article’s Title, Author, and Page Numbers, and the Journal Volume, Number, and Date

     Note: For best results, enter as much bibliographic information about the item as possible.

  5. Scroll down and click Purchase Options. An accordion opens with information about the availability and pricing of the item through BL on Demand. 

     Note: If the connection to the vendor times out, click Refresh until you receive a message confirming whether the item is available or not.

  6. If the item is available and pricing options are provided, click the British Library On Demand link. An Item Details screen from the British Library opens in a new tab or window with bibliographic information about the article requested and pricing information.
  7. If you have not yet logged in with your British Library account, click Sign in to Proceed. The Login screen appears.
  8. Login with your British Library Individual Account Username and Password. If your account is associated with a Business Account, the Select Account screen appears.
  9. (Optional) Click the desired account

     Note: When ordering articles from the British Library on Demand, your IFM account will be charged for all purchases. Choosing Pay as You Go will still charge your IFM account.  You are returned to the Direct Ordering screen.

  10. Select or confirm the Delivery Format and Delivery Options.
  11. Scroll down and click Order. The order is completed, and the Order Confirmation screen appears. See Managing incomplete orders, below.
  12. Click Return to WorldShare ILL. The Purchase Request Note pop-up window appears, with the order details included.
  13. Add a Purchase Note, if desired.
  14. Click Save. The Borrowing Requests queue appears with a confirmation message, and the request is added to the Purchasing Requests > On Order queue.
  15. After you receive the item, open the request and click Mark as received. A confirmation message appears.
  • To receive account-specific pricing, you must enter your business account information in OCLC Service Configuration, in the Purchase Options module of the WorldShare ILL section.

Manage incomplete orders

If you place an order, your library’s IFM account will be charged by the British Library.  However, there are a few circumstances where the British Library may not be able to supply the order.  If the order cannot be completed, you will receive an email.  Possible reasons that the order cannot be completed include:

  1. The requested item was not available.
  2. Copyright restrictions prevent the British Library from supplying the item.

 Note: Even if an order is not completed, ILL Fee Management (IFM) may already be triggered to process payment.  In this case, OCLC will work with the British Library to handle any reconciliation of missing items at month end.

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