Click here to skip to content

ARTWeb Help

Customer details

Customer Code and Password

Essential. Your Customer Code and Password are only verified by our systems after your request has been sent - it is important that you key these in accurately. If they are typed incorrectly, your request will be rejected and we will send you an error message by email.

Email address

Essential. This is the address to which we will send the confirmation message to tell you that we have received your request. It is not where the Reply Codes will be sent or where the document will be delivered. It is important that you key in this address correctly.

Request number

If we allocate request numbers for you, you do not need to type anything in this box unless you are contacting us about a request that has already been sent, e.g. if you are reapplying with more information or cancelling a request that is on a Waiting List. If this is the case, this is where you will enter the number allocated to the original request.

If you have opted to use your own request numbers (Number Suppression), you must type a request number here for all requests. Numbers should not be more than 10 characters long. You need to contact Customer Services if you want to start using your own request numbers, because we need to amend our records.

Note: Copyright Fees and Number Suppression
In order to pay copyright fees when your account is set up for Number Suppression, you must put RZ as the first characters of your request number, e.g. RZ87999906. If you do not use RZ, the request will not be classed as Copyright Fee Paid, even if you choose that under Other Instructions. View our link on the right about copyright for more information.

Bibliographic details

Complete this section as fully as possible. If you know it, include the British Library shelfmark. The Title field is essential.

Additional Information

This is where you can give us any additional information that does not fit within the other sections but that you think might help us to satisfy your request, such as where you found the bibliographic reference. Please keep the information as brief as you can, however.

Delivery Options

Select a delivery method and speed of service

Choose as appropriate. Remember that there are different charges (view 'Our prices' information) for copies, loans and for the different speeds of service.

Delivery methods
Copies can be despatched by secure electronic delivery, Ariel®, fax or mail. Before you make your first order for secure electronic delivery, fax or Ariel, you need to contact Customer Services and tell us the email address, Ariel address or fax number to which you want us to send the documents. We will record this on our system so that you don't need to type it again.

Secure electronic delivery
High-quality, digitally scanned copies that you collect from our secure server any time that suits you within 14 days from when we email you to say it is available. You view and print our documents using Adobe Digital Editions, available to download free from the adobe website. You must have downloaded and tested Adobe Digital Editions before ordering your first item for secure electronic delivery. More information about secure electronic delivery can be found in our Customer Help Centre.

When we have scanned the document for you, we send you an email to tell you that it is available. This email will have your order / request number in the subject line and contain the hyperlink(s) to your document(s). Because the documents are not attached to the email, there is nothing to interfere with firewalls or clog up your inbox.

The documents are held on our server as secure PDF files. To read and print them you click on the hyperlink and you can then print the document direct from our server.

Please note that

  • The document can only be downloaded once, so do not visit the hyperlink unless you are planning to download the document to your computer. If you visit the hyperlink and download the document, the file will then be locked and will not be able to be downloaded by the end user.
  • You are only allowed to make a single paper copy from the electronic copy.
  • You are not allowed to make further electronic copies.
  • All copies for secure electronic delivery require payment of a copyright fee. The only exceptions are for UK and Irish customers ordering 24-hour and standard delivery, who can ask for Library Privilege documents as long as they meet the necessary criteria (see our Customer Handbook).
  • Library Privilege documents supplied by secure electronic delivery must not be stored electronically: you must delete the file as soon as a single paper copy has been printed. You must print Library Privilege documents within 14 days of us sending the notification email.
  • Depending on the document received, some Copyright Fee Paid documents supplied by secure electronic delivery can be stored locally on a hard drive for up to 3 years from the time and date given on the email notification, others will expire sooner. After 3 years, or sooner for some documents, view and print permissions will expire and you will no longer be able to open the document.
  • The electronic copy will be available for collection from the server for 14 days from the date and time we sent you the notification email. After 14 days the file will be deleted. If, for any reason, you cannot access the file in time, you need to contact Customer Services for advice.
  • Documents are scanned in black and white.

Ariel
Ariel is a method of sending and receiving documents electronically. The quality of the printout can be higher than fax, although this depends on the quality of your printer. You do, however, need to purchase Ariel software and load it on your computer. We can send documents up to 30 pages long by Ariel. If the document is longer than this, we will send the item by mail.

Fax
We can send documents up to 30 pages long by fax. If the document is longer than this, we will send it by mail.

Mail
Mail delivery is available for any documents ordered on the Standard service. We always use the fastest options available: first-class post for UK and airmail for international deliveries.

Speed of service
There are three levels of service:Standard, 2-hour and 24-hour.

Standard
This is the default service level and turnaround time is usually 3-5 working days.

2-hour delivery : secure electronic delivery, fax and Ariel only
This is available between 8.00 am Monday and 2.00 am Saturday (UK time), excluding public holidays. ARTWeb orders can suffer from delays by being held up at servers en route. 2-hour delivery will only be timed from when the order is received at the British Library. We will check only stock held in the British Library's Document Supply collection held at Boston Spa for 2-hour delivery, because the emphasis is on speed of supply. For the same reason, we will not add 2-hour delivery requests to any waiting lists. If you need to chase any 2-hour delivery requests, you should contact Customer Services directly on the following numbers. Be ready to quote your request number:
T: +44 (0)1937 546060 , F: +44 (0)1937 546333

24-hour delivery : secure electronic delivery, fax and Ariel only
This is available Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays. However, requests received on a Friday might be dealt with the following Monday. We will check only stock held in the British Library's Document Supply collection held in Boston Spa and London for 24-hour delivery, because the emphasis is on speed of supply. For the same reason, we will not add 24-hour delivery requests to any waiting lists.

Search level

Choose as appropriate. Extended searches are only available for Standard delivery requests, not for 2 or 24-hour delivery. An additional fee is charged for an extended search. (See 'Our prices' link for price information)

Stock search only
We check only the British Library's collection available for document supply held in Boston Spa and London. This is our default service level.

Extended Search (International customers only)
We check the British Library's Document Supply collection. If it is not held, we will then apply on your behalf to other libraries whose records say they can satisfy your order.

Stock and Location search (UK and Irish customers only)
We check the British Library's Document Supply collection. If it is not held, we will then provide you with details of other libraries whose records say they can satisfy your order. We will send you Library Codes that you use in the online Directory of Library Codes to find full contact details.

Stock, Location and Worldwide search (UK and Irish customers only)
We perform a Stock and Location search. If the item is not available in the UK, we will then apply abroad on your behalf. Please note that applying abroad is expensive and can take a long time. We suggest that if you are unsure, you apply for a Stock and Location search and then reapply for a Worldwide search if the first search is unsuccessful and you still want the item.

Worldwide search ONLY (UK and Irish customers only)
We will only apply abroad and will not check in the UK at all. Please do not use this option unless you are certain the material you want is not available in the UK.

Reapplying for a higher search level

If you are reapplying for a higher search level because your original request failed, you must quote the original request number in the Request Number field. You should note that we will make an additional charge for the higher search level. (See 'Our prices' link for pricing information)

Other Instructions

Copyright Fee Paid copies, Type of Material, Microform and Home Reading
Choose as appropriate.

Copyright Fee Paid copy
Important: On 31 October 2003, UK copyright law changed in several important respects. The main impact of the changes is that a Copyright Fee must now be paid on every document that is to be used, directly or indirectly, for a commercial purpose. This applies to all customers. View our link on the right about copyright for more information.

Music Score
Choose this option only if you are ordering a music score. Do not choose this option if you are ordering a book or article on the subject of music or a copy of a libretto. Music scores are only available on loan, because we cannot make copies of them without breaking copyright.

Patent
Choose this option is you are ordering a copy of a patent. Please note that patents are priced quite differently from standard copies: visit 'Our prices' page for more information.

Microform Unacceptable
If you do not choose 'Microform Unacceptable' and the item you want is only held in microform in our stock, we will send you a microform copy. You should be aware that some material is only available as a microform loan. Report series that are likely to be held in microform are marked with 'F' on our Current Serials database.

Home Reading (loans only)
The 'Home Reading' option is only available for UK and Irish customers. Choose this option if you do not want to be sent the item if it cannot be made available for home reading. You should be aware that the British Library's London stock and some location libraries refuse to lend anything for home reading.

Translation Instructions

Translation Only
'Translation Only' means that if the item is not held in English you do not want it sent to you at all.

Translation if possible
'Translation if Possible' means that where the item was not originally published in English you would prefer an English translation to be supplied. If one is not available, you want us to send you the document in the original language.

Waiting lists

If the item you want is in stock but on loan to another customer, we will normally add your request to a Waiting List. If you do not want to be added to a Waiting List, you need to let us know by choosing the second option.

Please note that we will not add requests for 2 or 24-hour delivery to Waiting Lists.

Reapplications, Chasers, Renewals etc.

Choose the appropriate response. You should only select one of these options if you are contacting us about a request that you have already sent, for example if you are replying with additional information after we have been unable to find what you want from your original reference. If you choose an option from this list, you must also tell us the number of the original request so that we can track down the earlier information.

Cancellation
Choose this option if you want to cancel a request that we have added to a Waiting List. Your request has been added to a Waiting List if we send you the Reply Codes USE, USE OD, O/O WL, HW or BDG. In some situations, we will ask that you give us extra instructions, which you should type into the 'Message' box. If this is the case, it will say so in the description of the Reply Code. For more information about reply codes visit the link on the right.

Chaser
If you have not had a reply to a Standard service request after a certain period of time (2 weeks for UK customers, 4 weeks for International customers), you can ask us for a progress report. This is known as 'chasing' the request. We cannot chase a request more than six months after it was sent.

Reapplication
You should choose this option when we have either asked you for further information or to wait because the item you want is not immediately available. If you need to reapply, you will be told in the full description of the Reply Code. For more information about reply codes visit the link on the right.

Renew loan
Your loan will be renewed automatically the first time it becomes overdue. If you reach the end of your loan period a second time, you need to renew it by choosing this option. You cannot renew a loan if another customer is waiting for it (Reply Code DUE WAIT) or if the book is so overdue we have sent you an invoice for losing the item (Reply Code DUE BILL).

DUE response
Choose this option if we have sent you the DUE Reply Code and you are unable to return the item. Please type an explanation of why you are unable to return the loan in the 'Message' box.

DUE WAIT response
Choose this option if we have sent you the DUE WAIT Reply Code and you are unable to return the item. Please type an explanation of why you are unable to return the loan in the 'Message' box.

Alternative delivery address

If you want the item sending somewhere other than your registered address, please type the details here. Your account must be already set up for the ADD Address service or your request will be rejected and you will get an error message by email. There is no extra charge to use the ADD Address, but we need to amend our records before you first use it. Contact Customer Services for more information.

To give an alternative email address for secure electronic delivery, fax number or Ariel address, type the details under 'Address 1'.