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Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Interlibrary loan

Interlibrary loan is a service that provides access to materials not owned by the Heidelberg University Library. The Leihverkehrsordnung des Leihverkehrs in Deutschland (LVO) (PDF-Document; 43 KB) and the cooperative agreements concerning international interlibrary loan provide the legal basis for this service and are binding for the University Library.

Who may use interlibrary loan?

Interlibrary loan is available to users who have a valid library card from the University Library.

What types of material may I request?

Before submitting an interlibrary loan request as a user of the Heidelberg University Library, you must verify that the requested item is not available in the University library or other libraries on site.

Please check all relevant catalogues containing the various collections of the Heidelberg University thoroughly before submitting a request. There are several catalogues on site, each of which contain different sets of the Library’s holdings depending on the year of publication and the type of publication.

Items which are part of a non-lending collection are not available through interlibrary loan. If the item you seek is not in its proper location or is missing, please contact our information department.

What materials are not available through interlibrary loan?

As a general rule the following items are excluded from interlibrary loan requests and, respectively, deliveries:

  • Items which are available from a bookseller at a low price
  • Items containing basic or merely practical knowledge (including travel guides and self-help books)
  • Loose-leaf material
  • Theses
  • DIN/ISO-Standards
    (cf. Normen-Infopoints)
  • Titles not yet published as well as titles which are in acquisition or book processing
  • Rare material, particularly items published before 1701
  • Items having an unusual size
  • Non-book items that might be damaged if sent by mail
  • Records of television programms
  • High-use items such as reference books
  • Free online material
  • E-Books: Complete e-books are not (yet) available. Possibly there will be available a particular chapter or article. This depends on the individual license agreement.
  • Some libraries do not lend journal volumes.
  • Test material (Psychological or Medical tests), maybe available only for experts.

How much does it cost and how long does it take?

According to the „Verordnung des Wissenschaftsministeriums über die Erhebung von Bibliotheksgebühren (Bibliotheksgebührenordnung ‒ BiblGebO),“ a fee of € 1,50 will be charged for each interlibrary loan request. This fee must be paid even when the requested book is actually available in Heidelberg, or when the request could not be fulfilled.

If the requester is a student of the university or a user of the library, his/ her library account will be charged. Staff of the university of Heidelberg pay via TAN.

The fee includes the general costs for the order, delivery, and return of items and covers the delivery of up to 40 DIN A4 pages. For items consisting of more than 40 pages, € 0,10 is charged for each additional page; this fee may vary depending on the conditions imposed by the lending library. We would recommend you authorise at least 8 Euros when ordering articles, in order to avoid the need for questions which could delay your order. This is not a flat rate but a maximum assumption of costs. Additional costs may be charged for express items or for insurance (which is usually required for valuable or rare books). In the case of an international interlibrary loan, all costs incurred are charged to the requester.

It can take some time for the requested item to be delivered (monographic titles). Articles will be delivered in about 3-5 days. International interlibrary loans may take up to approximately up to 4 weeks. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause, but we have no influence on waiting periods.

If you need an item of literature very swiftly, it is possible to use a document delivery system, for a higher fee.

Please note: If you do not provide your email address, you will receive a notification by mail, and € 0,70 for postage will be charged to your user account.

How and where do I make an interlibrary loan request?

An interlibrary loan request is processed via a search of the interlibrary loan system of the Bibliotheksservicezentrum (BSZ).

Please note that the interlibrary loan system is not exclusively an interlibrary loan catalogue. It is a general catalogue containing title data from the various German union catalogues. Click on the complete title details (via title or cover). The tab “libraries” will display the actual availability for loan / interlibrary loan. With the green button “Interlibrary Loan” you can place the order and you will be directed to the order form.

Once the requested item has been found and verified in the interlibrary loan system, an interlibrary loan request form can be automatically generated from its bibliographic record.

Otherwise, please use the “Free ILL form” and fill in all the bibliographic data necessary for the loan request.

Book requests should include the following data:

  • Author (including first name)
  • Title (no abbreviations, please)
  • Edition
  • Volume
  • Place of publication
  • Year of publication (important!)
  • ISBN
  • For theses: name or location of the university, name of department or faculty, year the degree was granted
  • Title of article/chapter

Articles in periodicals may be requested by specifying the following data:

  • Title of periodical (do not use abbreviations ‒ you must verify the full title of the periodical)
  • Place of publication
  • Volume / year / issue
  • Page numbers on which the article appears
  • Author and title of the article (please use the field provided)

Please note: the interlibrary-loan portal should be used to search only for journal titles (or the ISSN), not for individual articles. You can reduce the number of hits when you select "Reine Zeitschriftensuche" and de-select "Alle Verbundkataloge".

Further details shown on the loan request form:

  • Time frame for processing the request
  • Whether or not substitution of another edition is acceptable (you may choose this option)
  • Exclusion of delivery if only inspection on site in the Reading Room is possible.
  • Extra charges you are prepared to pay (e.g. for extra copies, insurance for valuable books published before 1801, etc.) when higher charges are required
  • Bibliographic citation

If you have questions about identifying the necessary bibliographic data, please contact the staff of our Information Centre Main Library (IZA).

All interlibrary loan requests will be charged to your user account.


For searching library holdings, you can also use the KVK (Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog). To transfer the bibliographic data into the interlibrary loan system, use e.g. copy & paste. The KVK is a meta search interface for more than 500 million books and serials in catalogues worldwide.

How will I be notified about delivery? What are the terms of use?

If you have provided your email address, you will be notified at no charge that the requested item is available for pick-up. If you did not provide your email address, you will receive notification through mail and a fee for postage will be charged to your user account. If you have chosen not to be notified by mail, you can find out whether your item has been delivered by checking your user account online.

The notification in your user account will indicate where the item can be picked up (usually at the self-service-shelves in the main library or at the circulation desk of Neuenheim Branch Library, respectively). There you can also pay any fees that you have not yet paid. If the lending library has loaned an item on condition that it will not be removed from the University Library, the item will be held for you in the Reading Room. You may normally keep any photocopies that are sent to you.

Terms of use for interlibrary loan material (e.g. loan period, renewals, item is only to be used in the Reading Room, no photocopying allowed, etc.) are determined by the lending libraries.

Renewals for interlibrary loans

You can renew the items electronically through HEIDI once, but they may be recalled if they have been requested by another reader or if the loaning library has sent a reminder.

If you have further questions concerning the use of the interlibrary loan items, please contact our interlibrary loan department (Tel.: 54-2587) or send an letter E-Mail.

International library loan

A foreign publication may be requested through international interlibrary loan if you have verified that it is not held by any German library. You should expect longer waiting periods and higher costs, and at least part of the cost must generally be paid in advance. International interlibrary loan request forms are available from the staff of the information department. Please attach to your original, unsuccessful interlibrary loan request to that form, so that we can use it in case we have to contact you for more information.

Alternatives to interlibrary loan

Instead of using the conventional interlibrary loan system, you have the option of ordering items or articles in periodicals via electronic document delivery systems. These systems offer very quick delivery, but they cost more.

Alternatively you can make an acquisition request at Heidelberg University Library.

Further information i

Online Directory of German ISIL and Library Codes

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