Interlibrary Loan Information

Interlibrary Loan Information

Who can use ILL?

Interlibrary Loan is available to UPEI students, faculty, staff, and registered public borrowers. Note: Undergraduate requests, with the exception of those for honours projects, are filled from Canadian libraries only. Requests from public borrowers will be processed when time permits. You may also wish to consider local public libraries for materials that are not of an academic nature. The item you are looking for may be sitting on a shelf nearby. The PEI Public Library Service catalogue is available from here:

How do I request an ILL?

  1. Check book and ebook holdings in the Library Catalogue or, Periodical titles and ISSN's from the "Journals" tab located on the library homepage to ensure the Library does not own the item. DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) can also be checked from or, if you're on campus, from here: Digital Object Identifier
  2. Use the handy Check @ UPEI links to pre-populate the bibliographic information for you. A guide to using this feature is available from our Tours and Tutorials page. If you wish to see an item that is owned by the Library, but, on loan to another patron, place a hold on that item. If an item is out on extended loan, you may ask at the Service Desk to have the item recalled for your use.
  3. Fill out a separate Interlibrary Loan form for each item requested.
  4. You will receive 2 auto-generated responses when your request is submitted. One will appear in your web browser providing you with your request number (eg. PPE-12345678). An email will also be sent to the email address provided in your request submission. If you do not receive this email in a very short period of time, there is a problem. The address may have been entered incorrectly, ie yourname @ instead of yourname @, or, the message is being blocked by your email settings. Check your Spam or Junk Mail folders to see if the message was redirected there. Ensure your mail handling rules allow messages from the domain. If you have any comments, questions, concerns, etc. please forward the email to

If you have questions regarding previously submitted requests, please contact the ILL Department by email or telephone 902-566-0445. If requested material is no longer required, it is the borrower's responsibility to cancel the request as soon as possible.

How much does it cost?

Charges for interlibrary loans vary. The Library covers the costs for undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff.  Public borrowers will be charged for costs (if any) incurred for the loans. Payment must be made before the request will be processed. While the Library covers the costs for our students, staff and faculty, please be aware that there are costs to filling the request. If you've requested and received an article, please do your best to download and save that article for future reference, rather than having to request it again. Many newspaper articles and book reviews are published in a variety of sources, some that charge and others that are free, so check for freely available resources before placing your Interlibrary Loan request. 

A version of many articles may be freely available from Google Scholar, PubMed Central or other Open Access sites. Please be mindful that these may be pre-prints or author manuscripts. Unpaywall and the Open Access button are two of the many tools that plug in to your browser to allow easier discoverability.

How long does it take for my request to arrive?

The amount of time it takes for an item to arrive depends on a number of factors, e.g., accuracy of the bibliographical information supplied on the request form, the response of the lending library, and the method of delivery.

Some average times include:

  • Journal Article -- 2 days to 2 weeks
  • Books and Microform from a Canadian library -- 1 - 4 weeks
  • Books from a U.S. library -- 4 - 8 weeks

What material can and cannot be ordered?

You can order...

  • books which Robertson Library does not own. If we have access to the ebook, but you require the print version for your research, please indicate in the Notes field of your request that you need the print version.
  • books that are missing or at the bindery
  • chapters of a book, print or electronic (up to 20% of the book)
  • journal articles (one article per journal issue)
    • Ulrich's often provides links to the journal's website where you can verify your citation and in some cases, access material that we do not have listed in our database of available journals. Ulrich's will also indicate if the journal is published in a language other than English. If this is acceptable to you, please indicate that in the Notes field of your request.
    • UPEI users can access articles from the journals as "read-only" through ReadCube on each journal's website. You will need to create an account to access this service.  If you want to save, print, or download an article from one of the Nature journals, please request the article through Interlibrary Loan and indicate in the Notes field of your request that you require the pdf.
  • newspapers (microform only)
  • conference proceedings
  • theses. Many theses are now made available freely through the degree granting University Library's Digital Repository. If you know the institution that granted the degree, you may wish to check to see if a digital copy is freely available. OpenDOAR, the Open Directory of Open Access Repositories, indexes the content of many institutional repositories. PQDT Open allows you to read the full text of open access dissertations and theses free of charge. UMI Dissertations Express also allows individuals to purchase theses directly. You may search their holdings and ordering options from here: In some circumstances, we will consider purchasing Dissertations upon request from Faculty members or Graduate students, however, we ask you to consider whether there are subsequent journal articles by the same author, or on a similar topic that may be available at a significantly lower cost, or free. Theses published at US universities are rarely available to be borrowed. If it is recently published, check the library holdings for a free electronic version. Links to many of these are available through
  • microforms
  • audiovisual materials (subject to availability)

You cannot order...

  • items available at Robertson Library, though, we will scan chapters from our print books or, articles from our print journal holdings
  • ebooks as there is no mechanism as yet to "borrow" ebooks
  • current textbooks as most libraries will not have a circulating copy
  • software
  • entire issue of a journal
  • reference material

How will I know when my ILL has arrived, and where do I pick it up?

Email is the primary method used to contact the borrower when requested material has arrived. All requested ILL books and microform are held at the Service Desk. Articles are delivered as a link to a pdf file in an email message. If you are having difficulty opening the link, or saving the file, you may wish to "forward" the email to us at Please provide as much information about your situation as possible. For example, are you on campus or off; are you using a personal computer or one of the universities; are you using a Mac or Windows operating system; what browser are you using, ie, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc. A common issue with users on a Mac using Safari is that the option to "save" the file may not be obvious. With the document open in your browser, the solution is to use Export as PDF to save the article. You can also hold down the OPTIONS key >> the SAVE AS option will appear below the Save option in the menu. Also, many tablets will only open the first page of the pdf. Try downloading the document on a different computer and transferring it to your tablet later.

How long can I keep ILLs?

Note that Interlibrary Loan is a service libraries provide to other libraries. Most material may be borrowed for 3 weeks with no renewal, but, because the loan is from one library to another, the three weeks is from the time we receive the book, not from the time you pick it up. If you wish to request an extension, please email at least 2 business days before the due date. Occasionally the lending institution will recall material before the assigned due date. In this case, the borrower will be notified and must return the material; otherwise fines will be incurred. There may be a $1.00 per day fine on overdue interlibrary loan material.

Where do I return ILLs?

It is the responsibility of the borrower to return the borrowed material (complete with the UPEI Interlibrary Loan book sleeve) directly to the Service Desk by its due date. Fines may be levied for materials returned after the due date.  There may be a $1.00 per day fine on overdue interlibrary loan material.

How do I contact the Interlibrary Loan office?

Contact the Interlibrary Loan Office by email, or, by telephone, 902-566-0445. Normal office hours are Monday to Friday 8:30 AM to 4 PM, but staff are also scheduled to be elsewhere, so, email is the most reliable form of contact.

Date Revised: September 6, 2017