How to make a document supply request

Libraries can make document supply requests and enquiries to the National Library of Scotland by post, fax, email, telephone and through UnityUK. We will need written confirmation of telephone requests if we are supplying an item.

See our document supply price list for details of all charges.

Please note: We do not offer a location search service.

Information we need

Please give as much information as possible, including the National Library shelfmark, source of reference and full contact details.

UK and Irish libraries must quote their British Library Customer Account code (e.g. 87-xxxx) and give a unique reference number on each request.


How we will respond

We respond to requests as soon as possible, and normally within five working days. Complex requests may take a little longer.

We will normally send a reply by the same method we received a request (post, fax, email, etc.).


How to identify material for loan

In the Library's main catalogue, material specifically bought for lending has an 'L' at the end of the shelfmark describing a 'Lending' copy — for example: N3.205.1425L.

You should also note that:

  • Legal deposit material is not available for loan
  • We may consider lending material we have bought or which has been donated which isn't marked specifically for lending
  • Items with a foreign imprint are likely to have been bought, and therefore may be available for loan. Libraries interested in borrowing these items should make a speculative request.

See our lending policy for more information.


Loan periods

UK and Ireland
Libraries in the UK and Ireland can usually borrow items for one month. Unless there is a waiting list, items are normally renewable up to a maximum loan period of six months.

Outside the UK and Ireland
Libraries outside the UK and Ireland can usually borrow items for a period of three months. The only renewal available is one period of three months. This renewal may not be possible if there is a waiting list for the item. Occasionally you may be able to apply for a special loan period.

We will recall overdue items.


Requesting copies from journals

We subscribe to journals which we can provide copies from.

Additional runs of journals which we subscribed to in the past, or which have been donated to our collections, may also be available for copying via inter library loan. These are most likely to be titles with foreign imprints, e.g. 'Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan' (SRJ.2229) published in Yokohama, Japan.

Contact us if you are unsure if a journal is available to request copies from.


British Library codes

The British Library inter-lending code for the National Library of Scotland is ED/N-1. Some resources may also still list the code ED/N-2 which is no longer in use. We deal with requests using either code.


Bibliographical checks

If we cannot identify the item you have requested, we will spend no more than 10 minutes checking the bibliographical details to see if they are correct before returning the request to you.


Copyright licence

We have a licence from the Copyright Licensing Agency to provide 'copyright cleared' or 'copyright fee paid' photocopies.


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