On Demand

British Library On Demand

Search and order the latest research content direct from the British Library. Find journal articles, books, conference papers and more.


On Demand Online Ordering Interface Help Text

Registration/Log In

You can search the database without logging in / registering. You only need to log in / register when you want to order documents or check earlier orders.

Account customers – Log in for account specific pricing and delivery options

If your organisation has an account with On Demand they may receive options and benefits which are not available to Pay As You Go customers. Depending on your organisation's policy, you may be able to be associated with their account and take advantage of their benefits when ordering direct from On Demand. Alternatively, your information service/administrator/library may order on your behalf or you can choose the Pay As You Go option. Consult your information service/administrator/library for further information.

If your organisation is interested in opening an account with On Demand, please contact Customer Services on +44 (0)1937 546060 in the first instance.

Search Strategy – the best way to find material

On Demand offers access to a huge collection of material. Whilst we have 42 million article level records available for searching, some of our material is searchable only at title level. Additionally we hold items in our collections for which there are currently no online catalogue records available. The following search strategy is recommended:

  1. Search for the item of interest e.g. for an article use keywords from the article title, the article author, the journal title, etc. If you don't find the specific item of interest;
  2. Search for the title e.g. if you can't find an article, search for the Journal title - where we hold a title we generally have the full run of issues. If you find the title, we will prompt you for more details of the specific item of interest - please give us as much and as accurate information as you have to help us locate it.

Please note that if you submit an order you will NOT be charged if we are unable to supply.

Encrypted Download - you NEED software!

For those selecting the Delivery Option 'Encrypted Download' - you will need an appropriate plug-in installing to read your document. On Demand currently recommends FileOpen for all new and first time users of the system. Some organisations however may already use Adobe Digital Editions which is also supported.

Copy Quality

The paper delivery option for scanned from print articles offers a choice of standard or high copy quality. A Standard Quality copy is a legible working copy produced in colour, greyscale or black and white and is scanned at 150dpi. A High Quality copy is produced in colour, greyscale or black and white using specialist high quality scanners, scanned at a specific resolution to suit the material type followed by image clean-up and post processing.

Ordering - availability and prices

In the Select Delivery Options screen real time availability of the item will be displayed, along with a choice of delivery format and speed. Publisher and Customer specific licensing agreements determine the choice of delivery formats and only delivery options available for the item will be shown.

Where a copyright fee is payable, the charge is shown in addition to the service cost. Copyright fees are set by the publishers and vary considerably, please ensure that you accept the total cost before submitting your order.

Please take note of the options selected, despatch dates, costs and the need for software plug-ins (if ordering Encrypted Download) before confirming the order. An order may not be cancelled once confirmed unless it has been added to a waiting list.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

In accordance with the laws governing members of the EU, the British Library is obliged to account for VAT at the destinations country prevailing rate on all orders delivered to destinations in member countries of the EU. VAT tax returns are made in accordance with the local legislation in each member state. To purchase products and services as a VAT registered customer within the EU and use your VAT registration number when purchasing from the British Library, you will need to apply for a credit account.

The Shopping Basket - no commitment until you submit

On Demand operates like most e-commerce sites - identify the items of interest, select your supply options and put them into the Shopping Basket. You do not commit to anything until you submit the order from the Shopping Basket.

Orders and Order Lines - Order Lines processed independently

Orders are created by submitting a Shopping Basket with one or more Order Lines. Once the order has been submitted, On Demand works to fulfil each ORDER LINE independently. The item specified in each order line will be processed individually and delivered separately. Individual charges will also be applied for each Order Line supplied. If, for any reason, we are unable to fulfil an order, no charge will be applied.

Credit/Debit Card - Authorisation and Payment

Customers may pay for their orders by credit or debit card.

We do not ask for any credit or debit card information during the registration process. You only need to enter credit / debit card information when you are submitting your orders. This data is sent directly to Netbanx, our credit card authorisation agent, not to the British Library. This information is not stored by us in any way and you will need to re-enter it each time you order.

If multiple items are ordered on a single order, we will pre-authorise your credit card for the full amount. Payment is not charged to your card until the point of supply. Payment is taken individually for each order line supplied, therefore you may see several charges applied against this single authorisation. However, the total sum authorised is the maximum that will be charged to your card. We will never exceed the total sum authorised.

My Orders – track and manage your orders, download electronic items

The quickest way to check the current status of your order and to take action on it is via the My Orders screen. This screen lists your orders in reverse chronological order of our receipt date and time. You can re-arrange the displayed list by clicking on any column header and you can search for a specific order using the filter function - enter any part of the data you can see on the screen and the contents will reduce until you find the order of interest.

More information on an order may be found by clicking on the order number to see the Order Details screen. Full details of the order are shown here and, by scrolling down, an Order History showing each event taken on the order with a date and time.

You can download the item from the Order History as well as from the download email.

You can also take action on the order such as cancelling, chasing, etc. Only valid actions for the current status of the order will be allowed. The 'Cancel and Reorder' option cancels the current order and populates an order screen with the same terms and conditions as the cancelled order. You can then change the options and create a new order.

My Account

Through My Account you can access other British Library services you are registered for and update your personal account details and default ordering options. Business Account Managers and Administrators can administer their organisational account here.


If you have any questions about On Demand please contact Customer Services

Customer Services
On Demand
The British Library
Boston Spa
West Yorkshire
LS23 7BQ
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1937 546060
Minicom (for the use of the hearing impaired):+44 (0)1937 546434

E-mail: customer-services@bl.uk