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What is the Document Delivery Service?

The Document Delivery Service is used to request books which are not available from any of the University's four Libraries, as well as journal articles which you cannot obtain from your own campus library or from the extensive  e-journals collection.

Before requesting material via document delivery, always check the Library Catalogue (for books, e-books and print journals) and USearch (for databases and e-journals) first to make sure the Library cannot already provide it from its resources.


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What are the terms and conditions of use?

Your document delivery request is governed by the following terms and conditions, which must be agreed to before submitting a request.

Copyright declaration for article requests:

I hereby request you to supply me with a copy of the item specified which I require for the purpose of research or private study. I declare that:

  1. I have not previously been supplied with the same material by any librarian
  2. I will not use the copy except for research for a non-commercial purpose or private study
  3. I will not supply a copy of it to any other person
  4. To the best of my knowledge no other person with whom I work or study has made, or intends to make, at or about the same time as this request, a request for substantially the same material for substantially the same purpose.
  5. I understand that if this declaration is false in a material particular the copy supplied to me will be an infringing copy and that I shall be liable for infringement as if I had made the copy myself.

Document Delivery Request Terms and Conditions:

  • The Document Delivery Office will process your request within 2 working days of receipt. Please allow approximately two weeks for supply of the item, although most requests, especially those sent electronically by Secure Electronic Delivery (SED), will arrive within days.
  • The Document Delivery Service supports academic work undertaken by staff and students of the University of Ulster. We are unable to process requests relating to work or study that is not connected with the university.
  • The University of Ulster Library holds document delivery requests securely and will keep request details for the period of seven years as required by the terms and conditions of the British Library and the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.


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Who can use the Service?

All current students and staff of the University who are in 'good standing' (i.e. no overdue books or outstanding fines) may use the service. If you are a student on a Distance Learning programme, additional support information is available, including the specifics of using the document delivery service for your mode of study.

The service is not available for Alumni, Step-Up or INSPIRE borrowers.


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How many document delivery requests can I make?

Weekly limits may apply for document delivery requests. Undergraduate and postgraduate students may normally request a total of 4 items per week. Research students and academic staff may request a total of 8 items per week.

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Are there any limits to what I can request?

Copies: According to the Copyright licensing Agency (CLA) students and members of staff can request copies 'within clearly defined limits'.  In practice you will normally be able to request one article from a single issue of a journal, one paper from the published proceedings of a conference, one chapter from a book or 5% of the publication, whichever is the greater.

Loans: We will try to borrow a copy of books requested from The British Library and other UK libraries, although in some cases we may not be able to borrow what you have asked for.


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How do I make a document delivery request?


Requests can be made using the online request form (you will need to log in to view this form). A guide to completing your online request is available.


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How do I receive my request?

A notification will be sent from InterLibraryLoans-[Campus] to your Ulster email address once the item has arrived.

All loanable material (e.g. books) is collected from the Library. Please ensure the item is returned by the date given, but if you need to extend a loan please contact your document delivery office. Some items may be supplied to us marked for Library Use Only. In this event you will not be able to borrow them but may consult them in the Library during the loan period.

All journal articles are delivered electronically by default, using Secure Electronic Delivery (SED). Please read the guidelines on viewing and printing SED documents. Contact your local Document Delivery Office if you require further information. An SED notification email will  appear in your inbox with a subject heading in the format shown below:

Subject: FW: British Library Order: 01011235-001, Ready for download


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Can I renew a document delivery loan?

Document Delivery material may be renewed subject to agreement from the lending library. Please contact your Document Delivery office for further information. Please note, however, that document delivery items are subject to recall at any time. You can check the return date by logging in to your library account.


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In Demand, Overdue, or Lost Items

Ulster staff and students will receive email notification of overdue and in demand items.

The British Library charges a minimum of £160.10 for the replacement of items which are long overdue, damaged or lost. This cost is charged to the borrower responsible and includes a non-refundable administrative charge of £96.05, even if the book is subsequently returned.

Items in demand which are not returned promptly will also incur the above charges.


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Can I view a list of the document delivery items I have already received?

If you need details of the requests you have made in the current academic year please contact your Document Delivery Office.


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How do I check the progress of a document delivery request?

You can check the progress of your document delivery requests using the Library Catalogue.  To do so:

  • Select the My Account option and log-in with your campus card number.
  • Once in the My Account area you will see a heading of 'Document Delivery Requests' where you can see details of your 'active' requests and their status, for example, if an item is waiting for you to collect.
  • If you have borrowed a Document Delivery item you are able to view the details of the item and return date in the 'Loans' area of the My Account page.
  • If you still have a query regarding your Document Delivery requests please contact our Document Delivery Team.


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How do I know what the 'status' of a Document Delivery is?

You can easily check the status of a Document Delivery request by logging into the My Account area of the Library Catalogue with your campus card number. Under the 'Document Delivery Requests' heading you will see a list of any 'active' i.e. outstanding Document Delivery requests. Under the 'status' column you will be able to see the progress of your request:


Status of books and materials that are sent to the library for you to borrow:

  • Pending - when your request has been added to the library system but is waiting to be approved and sent to the supplying library.
  • Requested - when your request has been sent to the supplying library but the item has not yet been received by us.
  • Received - when we have received your item and informed you by email to your University email account that it is ready to collect but you have not yet collected it.
  • On loan - when you have borrowed the item.
  • Reapply - sometimes if an item is not yet published or available we will be asked to reapply for it after the publication date.


Status of copies of articles and papers:

  • Pending - when your request has been added to the library system but is waiting to be approved and sent to our supplier.
  • Requested- when your request has been sent to our supplier and is in the process of being supplied to you.
  • Reapply - sometimes if an item is not yet published or available we will be asked to reapply for it after the publication date.


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I no longer need an item I've requested. Can I cancel it?

If you no longer require an item that you have requested please contact your Document Delivery Office and we will check if it is possible to cancel it.  Unfortunately, depending on the progress of the request this may not always be possible.


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EThOS (Electronic Theses Online Service)


EThOS is the new way to access UK doctoral theses. Rather than making a request via the document delivery service you simply go to http://ethos.bl.uk , create your own free account and start searching.

In many instances a thesis can be instantly downloaded to your computer. An order can be placed for items not immediately available however charges may apply.  You may search the entire collection to see the range of dissertations, or limit your search to those items available for immediate download. Select any full-text dissertations you require and add to the basket.

If you are using the Index to Theses database, click on the holdings information link on the bottom right of the abstract result page. This will link to additional information, including whether a thesis is available via EThOS or possibly via that university's own Institutional Repository (with a link to the full-text where available). For more information, please contact the Document Delivery staff on your campus.


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Last updated: 24/02/17

The Library exists to support research in all disciplines.  This guide is intended to give useful general information for all researchers. For information in your subject area, see Research Support for your Subject
For the latest news for researchers, see the Library's Research Blog


Research and Impact at Ulster University

Ulster University Research and Impact
Doctoral College
Research Studies Handbook

Getting Started with Library Resources
Library Subject Teams organise induction sessions and 'Effective Use of the Library' workshops for new doctoral students, as well as other useful courses throughout the year. If you miss the sessions at the beginning of the academic year, or need a refresher, we can arrange a session for you. Please contact your Subject Librarian for more information.

The Student Portal is the gateway to the range of library resources, including the library catalogue, electronic databases, electronic journals and subject guides. To login you will require your Student ID and Network Password. Library electronic resources can be found on the Library & ICT tab. You can also access Library resources from the Library Home Page. Access most of our electronic resources from anywhere at any time via OpenAthens authentication. Find out more about accessing electronic resources with our Passwords Guide.

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Getting Started - Useful Books on Research

Blaxter, L., Tight, M. and Hughes, C. (2010) How to research. 4th ed. ed. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press. (eBook here)
Murray, R. (2017) How to write a thesis. 4th ed. ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Neville, C. (2016) The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism. 3rd ed. ed. London: Open University Press.
Petre, M. and Rugg, G. (2010) The unwritten rules of PhD research. 2nd ed. ed. Maidenhead: Open University/McGraw-Hill. (eBook here)
Phillips, E. and Pugh, D.S. (2010) How to get a PhD: a handbook for students and their supervisors. 5th ed. rev. and updated. ed. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Open University Press. (eBook here).

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Research Methods
Find out more about planning your research, finding and managing information, and much more at our Researchers at Ulster Guide

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Document Delivery

Requests should be made online using the Document Delivery Request form where you will be prompted to login with your University ID and network password (this is the same as your Portal / Blackboard Learn login details).
Please note, books must be collected from the Library and journal article requests are sent to the requestor via Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) to their institutional email address. If you have fines or overdue Library material your request may not be processed.
A 'Completing the Online Document Delivery form' guide is available. For more information on the Document Delivery service, including receiving your journal article requests electronically using Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) and British Library's EThOS (Electronic Theses Online Service) please see the main Document Delivery page.

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Access to other Libraries

SCONUL Access is a co-operative venture between most of the higher education libraries of the UK and Ireland. It enables staff and eligible students to have access to and borrow material from other libraries. For further information please click on SCONUL Access.
Check our Borrowing and Access Schemes page for information about all of our access relationships.
British Library - help for researchers
The British Library allows access to their London Reading Rooms for researchers. The Library's collection of over 160 million items includes books, maps, patents, manuscripts and newspapers. To gain access to the Reading Rooms it is necessary to apply for a Readers Pass.
Letter of Introduction
Many colleges and universities have external membership schemes for students who have no connection with that particular institution. If an institution has collections of particular interest to your research, it is worth contacting them to find out their admissions criteria.  The Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Subject Librarian can provide you with a letter of introduction to support your request for admittance to other university libraries, though we cannot guarantee that this will be granted. To obtain a letter of introduction you must be in good standing with Ulster University Library and have no overdue books or outstanding fines.
Other Library Catalogues
The COPAC library catalogue gives free access to the merged online catalogues of many major University, Specialist and National libraries in the UK and Ireland. A list of contributing libraries is available here.

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Managing Information
RefWorks is an information management tool that enables you to

  • Import and organise your references
  • Link to Word to automatically format your paper and bibliography

Introductory classes on RefWorks will be given on each campus; dates of classes and details of how to book are here. Visit the RefWorks Library Guide for further help.

A useful guide to referencing is:
Pears, R. and Shields, G.J. (2016) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 10th ed. revised and expanded. ed. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan 

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Library Travel Fund 

The Library Travel Fund is open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students to receive financial support to visit other libraries, archives and information centres. The award is intended to cover the cost of the cheapest form of transport between Ulster University and the location being visited. Travel is normally restricted to within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland due to financial constraints. Accommodation and subsistence costs are not met from these funds.
For further information and application forms for both funds, please click on Library Travel Fund.

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Intellectual Property Issues

The Copyright Designs and Patents Act does allow copying of copyright materials under certain circumstances.
The amount of a published work which may be photocopied is generally interpreted as:

  • no more than one chapter of a book
  • no more than one article of a journal issue
  • no more than one single case report from a law report
  • no more than 5% of a given work, whichever is greater

Copying must be for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study, which is why, if we make or obtain a photocopy for you, we ask you to sign a copyright declaration that you require the copy for this purpose.

Below are useful Web sites on copyright should you require further information.
Ulster University Copyright Guidance and Reference (Login using Network ID and Password)
Guidelines for Fair Dealing in an Electronic Environment
CLA: the Copyright Licensing Agency
Ulster University Intellectual Property Guide(Login using Network ID and Password)

Plagiarism is an issue taken very seriously by all academic institutions. There is much information on plagiarism and how to avoid it. Check the Turnitin UK website for more information.

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Current Awareness

Below is a list of suggestions on how you can keep up to date in your area of interest.
One of the most effective ways to keep up to date in journal literature is to save and re-run searches on the most relevant databases for your subject. Many databases provide an email alerting service. To find the best databases for your subject and how to set up their alerting services check your subject in the Library Subject Guides. Scopus and Web of Science provide excellent alerting services, as well as an opportunity to save and re-run searches.
Journal Alerting Services
Zetoc Alert is a table of contents alerting service which will email you the contents pages of your chosen journals every time a new issue is loaded into the database. It is updated daily so you may be emailed within 72 hours of publication.
JournalTOCS is a journal alerting service from JISC
Cited Reference Searching
Identify articles which cite an original piece of published research. Keep up-to-date with cited referencing in Scopus and Web of Science.

There is a Conference Alerts service which includes a searchable database of forthcoming academic conferences and a free alerting service. For details see the CONAL Conference Alerts site.  
Research Discussion Lists
Electronic discussion lists are a valuable way for researchers and academics to share information and ideas by e-mail or via the Web.
Below is a selection of some of the most popular discussion lists.
JISCMAIL is the major electronic mailing list for the UK higher education community. The search headings include people and subjects.
CataList is a catalogue of LISTSERV internet discussion lists with access to over 47,000 lists.
Use the Index to Theses to search for theses published in the UK and Ireland.
EThOS is a British Library service whereby theses are made available in digital form. Downloading full text theses directly from EThOS requires free registration. Limit your search to full text theses by ticking the 'Limit search to items available for immediate download' box on the search screen.
Many publishers will send you regular emails or RSS feeds to alert you to new books.
Some online booksellers provide an alerting service which emails you details of new books in a specified field.
Amazon offers a free a "notification preference" though you will need to register.

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Useful Websites For Research

Government web sites
A very valuable source of information. All government departments have web sites and many give access to official publications, guidelines and statistics. Many 
official publications are only available online.
DirectGov A-Z of Central Government will take to a complete listing of all UK government websites.
Directory of Irish Government Websites is a complete listing of all Irish government websites.
UK National Statistics site for official UK statistics.
Central Statistics Office Ireland links to official Irish government statistics.
Research Organisations
British Academy
Higher Education Academy
Research Councils UK
CORDIS: information on European Research and development
European Research Area (ERA): research involving a transnational perspective
National Science Foundation: funding agency for research in the USA
Search engines
Google Scholar Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web. Check our Google Scholar guide for more information.
Bibliometrics and Citation Analysis
Subject Librarians will be able to help you obtain information on journal metrics, where to publish, how to improve citations, and how to manage your research profile. See the Library guide for Bibliometrics and Citation Analysis for more information.

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