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Interlibrary Loan

This is the NU Library Guide to using Interlibrary Loan, a free borrowing service provided to the NU community.

Need a Resource?

Before requesting an item through interlibrary loan, check the following resources to see if the NU Library already owns the item that you need: 

Interlibrary Loan FAQs

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a free service which allows you to request print books, articles, book chapters, reports, and other content not available in full text from the NU Library. Throughout the course of your research, you might require a resource that the NU Library does not own or that is not freely available on the internet. By placing an interlibrary loan request, NU Library staff can work on sourcing the content from a network of libraries on your behalf.

Interlibrary Loan services are available to the following users for University-related research:

  • Currently enrolled students at National University
  • Faculty at National University
  • Staff team members
NOTE: Resources obtained through Interlibrary Loan are intended for personal use and NOT for dissemination.


Article and book chapter requests may be delivered within 5 to 7 business days. Delivery times are subject to an item's availability from a lending library. In some cases, an item may take up to 2 weeks to arrive. It is important to plan ahead and request materials far enough in advance of the assignment due date.

Notifications are sent by email or via text when ILL materials are ready for viewing.

Users are allowed ten (10) active pending requests at any one time. Additional requests may be submitted after previous items have been fulfilled or requests have been canceled.

The National University Library adheres to the Copyright Office Guidelines, which include CONTU (National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyright) Guidelines regarding the 1976 Copyright Law (Title 17, United States Code). These guidelines impose annual limits on photocopy requests. The photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "Fair Use" that user may be liable for copyright infringement. The ILL service is intended for personal use and not dissemination.

Copyright Office Guidelines restrict requests to:

  • No more than one (1) article per patron from the same journal title, volume, issue and year if the issue was published within the last five (5) calendar years;
  • No more than five (5) articles from a single journal title that has been published in the last five (5) calendar years;
  • A single chapter from a book or 10% or less of the total length from a single book.

The National University Library refuses requests for materials that infringe on limits established by United States Copyright Law. For more information see Circular 21, published by the U.S. Copyright Office:

An ILL request may be cancelled for the following reasons:

  • The item is available through the NU Library;
  • The item cannot be obtained through interlibrary loan, such as a conference proceeding or a dissertation;
  • The book chapter, journal title, or article may not be obtainable through any source available to NU;
  • The item cost exceeds the NU Library's budgeted expense for copies;
  • The requested item exceeds copyright limitations for resource borrowing.

Items are electronically delivered to your ILL user portal. You can access items in the user portal for up to 30 days or for up to five (5) views/downloads, whichever comes first. You should save a downloaded copy of the file to your computer, cloud storage, or other location for future access.

View all Interlibrary Loan FAQs