How does Interlibrary Loan work?

When you submit a request, you receive a PAT number (e.g. PAT-12345678). Use it to track your request. Once we receive your request in our system, it will be handled as follows:

  1. Your request is reviewed and edited to ensure the information is accurate and complete.
  2. An ILL Assistant checks to see if the item is held by the U of A or NEOS.
  3. If we hold the item, we fill your request from the UofA or NEOS collections.
  4. If we don't hold the item, a list of Canadian locations (when available) is created and the request is sent to the first location on the list.
  5. Your request goes from location to location until it is filled, or until no location on the list can fill.
  6. Books are shipped to us, while articles are sent to us electronically. Hence, books take longer to get to us than articles.
  7. You will be notified when the requested item is available for pick up at your chosen location. Articles are generally made available through a link received in an email or can be accessed from your ILL account.

No Canadian locations for print/books? We do extended searches when we receive requests back unfilled from Canadian locations. However, we check with undergraduate students before sending their requests to international locations. If the item requested is fairly cheap we may consider purchasing it instead of ordering it from an international location.

Contact us for an update on your request if you have not heard anything from us after two weeks of submitting your request.