Interlibrary Loan
Logon to Bowdoin ILL
  1. What is Interlibrary Loan?
  2. Where should I search for the material I need before I consider ILL?
  3. What if Bowdoin owns the item I need but it's non-circulating or on Reserve?
  4. What if the item I need is checked out or not on the shelf at Bowdoin?
  5. How do I receive my articles?
  6. What kinds of material are available through ILL?
  7. How much information do I need to submit an ILL request?
  8. Am I limited by the number of requests I may submit?
  9. How does ILL process my request?
  10. Can I get a dissertation or thesis?
  11. Can I borrow a newspaper?
  12. How far does ILL go to get my material?
  13. As a faculty member, how can ILL support me?
  14. As an honors student, how can ILL support me?
  15. If I'm studying or engaged in research away from Bowdoin, can ILL support me?
  16. How long does it take to get an ILL?
  17. Does it cost me anything to get an ILL?
  18. Can I cancel or revise my ILL request?
  19. Where do I pick up materials that I have on loan through ILL?
  20. How long can I keep my ILL? May I renew it?
  21. Can I put an ILL book on Reserve?
  22. What if my ILL is overdue?
  23. What if my ILL is damaged or lost while in my possession?
  24. What do I see when I click on "Finished Requests" in my account?"
  25. How do academic coordinators and research assistants submit ILL requests on my behalf?
  26. What if I forget my password? (Research assistants and non-Bowdoin users ONLY)
  27. Whom do I contact if I have questions regarding ILL?

What is Interlibrary Loan?

"Interlibrary Loan" is a cooperative resource sharing concept that originated among the great universities of Europe in the seventeenth century. Bowdoin's Interlibrary Loan service dates to the 1870s, when a small group of New England colleges, following the custom, began lending a few of each other's books to "gentlemen of reasonable character." This year we'll process more than 16,000 requests for all kinds of material, serving hundreds of other libraries as well as our own academic community through a state-of-the-art database and a highly-dedicated staff. Beyond the size and historic strength of the Bowdoin College Library, our most important asset will be our reputation, just as it was more than one hundred and twenty-five years ago.

Where should I search for the material I need before I consider Interlibrary Loan?

Please check Bowdoin Library's collections carefully to determine if the material you need is available here. For a periodical article, search initially for the journal in Journal Titles A-Z and, secondarily, in the "entire collection" of the Bowdoin Library Catalog to display our print and electronic full text holdings. For a book first check NExpress and MaineCat, through which you may submit your request directly. NExpress and MaineCat provide the additional advantage of allowing you to borrow audio-visual materials, which are not generally available through Interlibrary Loan.

What if Bowdoin owns the item I need, but it is non-circulating or on Reserve?

Try searching for an available copy through NExpress and MaineCat. Interlibrary Loan cannot generally request a book that is available at Bowdoin, even if its use is restricted. However, if the item is needed for an honors project or independent study, please specify in the Notes field of your request, and we will be happy to borrow a copy from another library.

What if the item I need is checked out or not on the shelf at Bowdoin?

Try searching for an additional copy through NExpress and MaineCat. If no additional copies are available, please submit an Interlibrary Loan request with Notes to indicate that the item is checked out or missing at Bowdoin. Interlibrary Loan may recall Bowdoin's copy, and notify you accordingly.

How do I receive my articles?

All articles are delivered electronically as a PDF and posted to your Interlibrary Loan Account. An Email notice, entitled "Your Article Has Been Delivered Electronically," will contain a link to your Account Logon, whereupon you may click View Electronically Delivered Articles to view it. The article will remain accessible to you for 30 days from the date you are notified. If you accidently delete it during that period we can restore it for you. Please let us know if you are ever unsatisfied with the quality of an article we provide, and we will replace it immediately.

What kinds of material are available through ILL?

Interlibrary Loan generally accepts requests for published material, post-1820, in print, electronic or microform format. Your Account Menu provides forms to request a book, book chapter, journal article, government document, dissertation/thesis, newspaper on microfilm or proceedings/conference report. Audio-visual materials, manuscripts, software and periodical volumes or issues are generally non-circulating. If you are interested in obtaining a pre-1820 book, we will search for a modern facsimile or later edition, and advise you accordingly. If you are interested in new titles, please exercise discretion, as many libraries are not willing to lend them. Alternatively, faculty members may wish to submit an Order Form for Bowdoin to acquire the item. Please consult with us if you wish to request other types of material. The range of items to which we have access is always increasing.

How much information do I need to submit an ILL request?

You need a relatively complete citation and your source of citation (where you learned about the item) to insure accurate and timely processing of your request. Certain fields, designated in red on your request form, are required. Please observe the following guidelines:

  • Choose the appropriate form.
  • Ask for assistance if you have difficulty recognizing the type of material cited.
  • Submit a separate request for each unique book or article.
  • Transcribe your citation as it appears. (do not abbreviate, but use abbreviations if given)
  • Indicate volumes, parts or years for multi-volume titles in Notes.
  • Indicate a Source that allows us to conveniently verify the citation, if necessary.

If you cannot provide a complete citation, please contact Interlibrary Loan, or Ask Us. The Library offers students several online services, including Research Help and Citation Management Tools for compiling and managing a bibliography. See the other topics listed under "Help" on the Library Gateway.

Am I limited by the number of requests I may submit?

No. However, we do have suggestions for students who have multiple requests:

  • Consider alternative sources. Always check NExpress and MaineCat before considering an ILL Book Request.
  • Prioritize your requests. Students: please consult a Reference Librarian to help you evaluate your bibliography, if you expect to rely on Interlibrary Loan for a large amount of material.
  • Project a date by which you definitely need the material. Interlibrary Loan will pursue your request until that date.
  • Plan ahead. Allow yourself enough time to receive and use materials on loan from other libraries. Due to circulation policies and item availability at other institutions, Interlibrary Loan may not be able to fill your request immediately.
  • Ask for assistance. We can advise you regarding the possibilities of obtaining your material within the time frame you have.

How does ILL process my request?

Interlibrary Loan functions like a bibliographic detective search. Typically we search through WorldCat to find a matching record for the Title of the book, document or journal you cited (WorldCat is accessible to you through the Library's Articles & Databases). Then we verify the Place, Publisher and Date and the relative accuracy of the periodical Volume cited. If we are not satisfied with the match, we check your Source of Citation and Notes. If your source is insufficiently indicated or not accessible to us, we try to corroborate your citation through one of many print or electronic resources. Failing this, we contact you for clarification or additional information. Once we find a record, we determine where the item is "held," although not necessarily "available," and send it to a succession of libraries, each of which has 3-4 days to fill it.

Can I get a dissertation or thesis?

Most likely—with a little extra effort. Dissertations and theses are referenced throughout Bowdoin’s electronic databases, but the source is typically Dissertation Abstracts. The abstract (a brief summary of the content) that appears near the bottom of the citation, may help you evaluate the usefulness of the work. Should you decide to pursue it, most post-1997 dissertations, although not the most recent, are available through Proquest Dissertations & Thesis Full Text. Some dissertations are later published as books, so searching by author in the Bowdoin Library catalog, NExpress or WorldCat may yield results. In addition, a few authors may make their work freely available on the internet. Failing these options, please select the Dissertation/Thesis Request form from your ILL account menu. We may be able to borrow it from another library, deliver it as a PDF, or purchase a hard copy for you to keep. Occasionally we may decide that Bowdoin should own the dissertation that you requested, whereupon you will be notified when it is cataloged for our collection.

Can I borrow a newspaper?

Original newspapers are not available through Interlibrary Loan, but you may request newspapers on microfilm using the appropriate form. Many historical and contemporary papers around the world have been catalogued with holdings on WorldCat, so we have reasonably good luck pursuing them. However, most libraries restrict the number of reels we may borrow at any time and, given the possible scarcity of a particular publication, we may need to submit multiple requests on your behalf. For semester-length research projects, which require the use of small town or foreign papers, we recommend limiting your request to a ten-year span. We also find it beneficial if you specify the most important dates in the Notes field of your request. Please consult with us early in the semester regarding the newspapers you need, submit your request(s) early and allow plenty of time to use the film when it arrives.

How far does ILL go to get my material?

Bowdoin's Interlibrary Loan system has access to collections in thousands of academic and public libraries throughout the world. Most material is received through our regional and consortial networks, but we will pursue your request wherever we need to. Among our lenders are major research institutions and national libraries, including the the British Lending Library, The Royal Library of Denmark and the National Diet Library of Japan. We also rely on commercial providers, such as Chemical Abstracts and the Canadian Institute for Scientific Information. If you know the material is available at a special library, museum or research institute, let us know, and we will refer your request to them. If it is an obscure or scarce item, we'll search extensively, communicating with the author, citing author, publisher or organization until we have exhausted every possibility.

As a faculty member, how can ILL support me?

Please call or visit our Office to discuss your needs. Interlibrary Loan is consistently working with other library departments and consortiums to access the materials you need as quickly as possible. Perhaps you have an address to deliver, a conference paper to present or a plagiarism case to investigate. Our resource-sharing networks, commercial providers and accounts for overnight delivery give us the flexibility to address your needs. Maybe you're searching for a particular imprint, musical score, or translation, but you don't have complete information. We'll search our databases with you, help you identify the item and expedite your request. Your Library Liaison will also work with us on your behalf.

As an honors student, how can ILL support me?

Many honors students rely on Interlibrary Loan to acquire the primary source material they need for original research. Whether it's an obscure nineteenth century Indian document, Russian newspapers on microfilm or the original voice recordings of Admiral Peary, we'll put our resources to work for you. We'll help you manage your loans by sending the requests in intervals to avoid having materials due all at once; arrange to receive a book at a particular time, so you can take it home for break; or re-request an item multiple times from other locations after the renewal periods have expired. We'll also provide helpful holdings and policy information for other libraries. Please arrange to meet with a Reference Librarian early in the academic year to discuss your research topic. Planning ahead and asking for help are keys to the successful acquisition and use of Interlibrary Loan materials. For more information visit Services for Honors Students located under "Services" on the Library Gateway.

If I'm studying or engaged in research away from Bowdoin, can ILL support me?

Yes. Perhaps you are studying away at an institution with limited resources, pursuing field research on a summer internship, travelling to a weekend conference, or preparing a publication during your sabbatical. While we cannot provide loans, you can count on Interlibrary Loan to deliver articles from Bowdoin's print collection, or elsewhere. For materials available at Bowdoin, please be sure to tell us in the Notes field of your Journal Article Request that you are "away from Bowdoin." Study Away Students: please refer to the Academics Section in Bowdoin's Off Campus Study Pre-Departure Handbook, or visit our Office for more information.

How long does it take to get an ILL?

Most books are received in 10 days, and most articles are received in 3 days. Some requests may take longer to fill, due to availability and distance. A few requests may be problematic, because of unverified citations, policy restrictions or the scarcity of the item. Additional delays are likely during holiday periods. Please click Track Outstanding Requests in your Interlibrary Loan Account to see all the requests that have not been filled or cancelled. Status and Status Date reflect the progress of each request. Click View/Edit to display Detailed Information, including Notes that our staff have added during the course of our search. "Request Sent" indicates that we have sent your request to one or more potential suppliers, but have not yet received a response. Please call or visit our Office to inquire about other stages of processing.

If you do not see the item(s) you requested in your Interlibrary Loan Account, View Your Bowdoin Library Record, where you will find NExpress and MaineCat transactions.

Does it cost me anything to get an ILL?

No. The Library absorbs all expenses to borrow or copy the material you need. In the unusual event that we have to purchase an item, such as a dissertation, we may determine that it would be beneficial for Bowdoin College Library to own it. If this happens the item will be cataloged when it arrives, and placed on hold for you at the Main Library Circulation Desk.

Can I cancel or revise my ILL request?

Yes. If you no longer need the material or you located it elsewhere, you may cancel an unprocessed request through Track Outstanding Requests. If you wish to revise your citation, or cancel a request that is in processing, please Email ill@bowdoin.edu. If you'd like to re-request a cancelled request, please click on Cancelled Requests, and Resubmit.

Where do I pick up materials that I have on loan through ILL?

Your Interlibrary Loan books will be kept on hold for you at the Main Library Circulation Desk until they are due. Please present your Bowdoin College ID and sign for each item upon pick-up. Some materials, such as microform and delicate folios, may be restricted to use in the Library only. If this restriction makes it difficult to use the material as you planned, please consult with us.

How long can I keep my ILL? May I renew it?

An Interlibrary Loan item is generally due in 4 weeks, although the lending institution may recall it at any time. The loan period is the same throughout the calendar year, regardless of academic breaks. You may request one renewal, if permissible, for an additional 4 weeks. To request a renewal through your Interlibrary Loan Account, click on View/Renew Outstanding Items and Renew Item. You may submit your request up to 14 days before the current due date, but no later than 7 days after that date. Please review your Account regularly and observe the due date on the wrapper that accompanies every item.

If you do not see the item(s) you have borrowed listed in your Interlibrary Loan Account, View Your Bowdoin Library Record, where you will find NExpress and MaineCat transactions.

Can I place an ILL item on Reserve?

No. Other libraries will not allow you or us to place an Interlibrary Loan item on Reserve. If Bates or Colby owns the item, however, the Library will request it through NExpress or MaineCat, and place it on Reserve for you. Please see Reserves under "Services," or feel free to copy portions of your Interlibrary Loan item to place on Reserve.

What if my ILL is overdue?

We will send you a reminder notice 3 days before the item is due. If it is not returned by the due date, we will send you an overdue notice, at which time you may still have an opportunity to renew it. If the item is not returned in 14 days, your Interlibrary Loan Account may be temporarily suspended. Please contact us without delay if you believe there is an error, or you cannot return the item promptly. We will work with you to reach a satisfactory arrangement. A fine of $1.00 per day may be assessed for each day the item is overdue. Students will receive a "Notice of Interlibrary Loan Fine," whereupon the fee is charged to their College Account.

What if my ILL is damaged or lost while in my possession?

If an Interlibrary Loan item is damaged or lost while in your possession, please notify us immediately. Bowdoin College Library is liable for all repair and replacement expenses, and we may pass those charges on to you, your Department or Student Account. The requester, on whose Account the item is borrowed, is responsible for the care and prompt return of an ILL item.

What do I see when I click "Finished Requests" in my account?

Finished Requests include all requests for articles that we delivered and requests for books that you received and returned. If you'd like to re-request an item referenced in a "finished" request, please click on Resubmit.

How do academic coordinators and research assistants submit ILL requests on my behalf?

If you wish to have your academic coordinator or research assistant submit ILL requests on your behalf, Interlibrary Loan can create a "Student Assistant" account with a unique username and password specifically for their use. All notifications associated with a "Student Assistant" account will be addressed to you, and you will have access to your requests and full-text articles in the absence of your assistants. You may re-set your "Student Assistant" ILL account password at any time. Please contact Guy Saldanha or Jaime Jones for assistance.

What if I forget my password? (Research assistants and non-Bowdoin users ONLY)

If you forget your password, please click on Forgot Password? at the bottom of the Logon page. A "Password Re-set" Email message will be sent to the individual in whose name the account is established. Faculty, staff and students: please enter the username and password that you use for Webmail and all other Bowdoin College logins.

Whom do I contact if I have questions regarding ILL?

Interlibrary Loan   Guy Saldanha Jaime Jones Leanne Pander
ill@bowdoin.edu    gsaldanh@bowdoin.edu jjones@bowdoin.edu lpander@bowdoin.edu  
725-3283 725-3393 798-4109 725-3260