Princeton University 

Princeton University Library 

Princeton University Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Services
Article Express

Monday - Friday, 8:30 - 4:30
Phone: (609) 258-7469
Firestone Library A-8-H
Eligible users 
Materials available 
Delivery timeframe 
More Information 
Contact Us

Interlibrary Services

Monday - Friday, 8:30 - 5:00
Phone: (609) 258-3272
Firestone Library A-7-E
Eligible users 
Urgent requests 
More Information 
Contact Us 
East Asian Library Users 

Monday - Friday, 8:30 - 5:00
Phone: (609) 258-3182
East Asian Library

General Information on Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery :

Return to:
Interlibrary Loan / Document Delivery Services
First Time Users


Eligible users


Service is available to any member of the University community who needs material for an academic research project or course-related assignment. Those eligible for the service include:
  • Faculty
  • Currently enrolled students
  • Staff
  • Spouses and domestic partners of individuals in the above categories

Guest borrowers (i.e., those who have purchased borrowing privileges at the Princeton University Library) do not have interlibrary loan privileges. Please request items through your corporate or public library.

Faculty and students of the Institute for Advanced Study and the Princeton Theological Seminary should use the interlibrary borrowing service at their respective institutions.

If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact Interlibrary Services at 609-258-3272 or


Delivery timeframe


In most cases material is received in 7 to 10 days time. Some requests can take much longer, and others are here in one to three days. Delivery time depends on many factors, but the main variables are where the material is located and how quickly that library or supplier responds to requests. Generally, articles are received more quickly than loans as most article-type material (including book chapters and conference papers) are sent electronically while books, reels of microfilm, and audio-visual must be physically shipped.

The interlibrary loan staff assumes that you need the material as soon as possible and makes every effort to get the material to you in the shortest time possible. If you have a specific deadline, be sure to include that information when you submit your request.


Urgent Requests


If you have a close deadline be sure to include the specific date by which you need the material when you submit the request.


Service to East Asian Library users


You can place requests for books and articles in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, in the usual way, using romanization. You may wish to contact the bibliographers for assistance: Martin Heijdra ( Chinese language titles, Setsuko Noguchi ( for Japanese titles, and Hyoungbae Lee ( for Korean titles.

If you do not belong to the EAS department, yet often request difficult-to-find Chinese or Japanese materials, it may be preferable to have your complete account transferred to the East Asian Library. If you wish to do so, please send a request to that effect to, with as subject “ILL Account Transfer Request”. Note that if you choose this option, all your requests will be handled at the East Asian Library, regardless of language and pick-up location.


Username and password


In the online request system, each user must select a username and password. The username and password give you protected access to information about your outstanding and completed requests. It also allows us to delivery article-length material electronically to your desktop, if you choose this option when you register. You can also update your registration information at any time, keeping interlibrary loan staff up to date on changes in your campus address or delivery preferences.

Your username and password can be anything you like. Only you will know your password.

In the event that you forget your password, go to Forgot Password. You can also contact Interlibrary Services at Firestone (258-5704 or If you contact us during office hours, Monday - Friday, 8:45am - 5:00pm during the academic year (Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm during the summer), we can reset your password immediately.

If you are working for a professor, please submit requests in the professor's name, not yours. For this purpose the professor will need to share his/her username and password with you.


Submitting a request


Requests may be submitted online using the online request service. There is to be only one item (book, article, chapter, etc.) listed per request. If you cannot complete an online request, please contact the staff at the reference desk in Firestone or any campus library or contact Interlibrary Services staff.
Limits on the number of requests


There is no limit on the number of requests you can submit. However, if you have a large number of requests to submit, you may find it useful to phase in the requests over a period of time rather than submit them all at once. Since material is lent to us by other libraries for only a short period of time (the usual loan period is four weeks), staggering the delivery over a longer time frame may give you more time to work with individual items.


Publication Information


Providing Accurate and complete citation information will enable the interlibrary loan staff to process your requests in the shortest possible time. For article information use one of the databases or reference sources on the Library's Databases and Reference Tools page. For other material, such as books and newspapers, use WorldCat.


Electronic delivery


Electronic delivery the preferred option for article-length material that does not need to be returned to the supplier. Be sure to indicate that you will accept electronic delivery when registering for the service, if you wish to take advantage of this method of delivery.

Most documents are converted to a PDF format and sent to a server. The user will be notified by email that the article is available. To retrieve the article, the user needs to logon using the previously registered username and password. The user can then click on "View Electronically Received Articles" to see the full text of the document.


Checking on the status of requests


Using the online request service you can check on the status of individual requests at any time by logging in to the system under your user name and password and navigating down the menu page to "Reviewing requests."


Length of loan period


The loan period is set by the lending library. Most other library set a loan period of four weeks, although occasionally libraries restrict a loan to one or two weeks. The due date will be marked clearly on the material when you pick it up.


You will receive an email letting you know whether or not a renewal has been granted, with the new due date if the renewal has been approved.

Occasionally a lending library tells us at the time of the loan that they will not supply renewals. If there is such a restriction it will be noted on the material when you pick it up.


Checking out interlibrary loan material


Most items loaned by other institutions may circulate.
Restricted to "library use"


Some libraries restrict the loaned material to use within the library. If there is such a restriction, it will be noted on the material when you pick it up. If the material is from the rare books collection at the lending library, it may be restricted to use within the supervised reading room area at Firestone while it is here on loan. In these cases we will notify you that the material is being held for you in Rare Books and Special Collections in Firestone. When you have finished with the material please notify the reading room attendant.


Returning interlibrary loan material


Please return interlibrary loan material to the Firestone Circulation Desk or the ciruclation desk where you picked it up.




Normally there is no cost associated with an interlibrary loan request. If you need to request an unusually large number of items or the cost to obtain the material is greater than the usual fees for ILL service, we may ask you to share the costs of obtaining the material before we proceed.


Requesting material that Princeton owns


Normally interlibrary loan service is for material that is not available at the Princeton University Library, but exceptions are made in some cases.
  • Items temporarily missing or unavailable

If the material you need is missing from its shelf location, ask the staff at the circulation desk to conduct a search for you. That is usually the fastest way to obtain the material. (In Firestone, one third of all missing volumes is found within a week of initiating the search.) If you have a short deadline, you may also submit an interlibrary loan request and tell us the status of the copy that Princeton owns (e.g., not on shelf, search requested at Circulation).

  • Items marked "missing" or "lost" in the Library’s catalog

If the material you need is marked missing or lost, please submit an interlibrary loan request and tell us the status of the copy that Princeton owns (e.g., Princeton copy missing).

  • Items at the Bindery

If the material you need has been sent out for binding or is for some other reason temporarily unavailable, please submit an interlibrary loan request and tell us the status of Princeton’s copy (e.g., Princeton’s copy being bound).

  • Items held in non-circulating collections

Normally we will not accept a request for an item held by Princeton in a non-circulating collection. If you have unusual circumstances that makes this type of restricted use difficult for you, please speak to a member of the Interlibrary Services staff and we will determine if a loan is feasible. (Often the item is one that is in restricted collections at other libraries and cannot be obtained on interlibrary loan.)

  • Items held in micro formats

Normally we will not accept a request for any item held by Princeton in a microformat. If you have unusual circumstances that makes this format difficult for you, please speak to a member of the Interlibrary Services staff and we will determine if a loan is feasible.


Difficult to obtain material


  • Videos and films

Some libraries lend videos and DVDs on interlibrary loan. We will attempt to borrow these items for you, but our success rate is not as high as with other material.

  • Early imprints

Material published prior to 1900 may be difficult to obtain on loan. Often it may be in a non-circulating collection (e.g., a rare books collection) or may be too fragile to ship. In some cases a photocopy of an excerpt can be obtained if a loan is not possible. If an excerpt would be satisfactory for your needs, please include this information when you place a request for a pre-1900 title.

  • Manuscript and archival material

Archival and manuscript material is normally not available on interlibrary loan, although photocopy or microfilm copies of excerpts may be in some circumstances. Please speak to a reference staff member or a member of the Interlibrary Services staff in Firestone if you anticipate needing such material.

  • Journal volumes

Volumes of journals and other serially-published materials are not usually lent by other libraries, so it may not be possible to obtain them on loan. If you can use excerpts from the volume in lieu of a loan, please request the excerpt as a photocopy.




We make every attempt to borrow material in paper format because of its more portable and convenient format, but often microform is the only option. If you are a Firestone Library user we will take the material to the Microforms Division on C floor for you to use and let you know about this arrangement when we notify you about the arrival of the material.


Security issues on public workstations


Web browsers cache information and create a history file on public workstations. This would permit subsequent users of the workstation to access the system under your name using the browser's Back button to recall a page from the cache, or by finding a page with your personal information in the browser's history file. If you are concerned about the security of your interlibrary loan and document delivery requests, you can take any of the following measures:

1. Access the Interlibrary Loan / Document Delivery system only from your personal computer or an otherwise secure workstation. 

2. When using a public access workstation:
Exit from the Web browser before you leave the workstation. This prevents the Back button from accessing the pages you were working with. 


Other questions?


Other Questions? Please contact the reference staff in Firestone or the campus library that you use most often, or the Interlibrary Services staff in Firestone at or 609-258-3272.


© 2001 Princeton University Library
Updated  01/08/10