Interlibrary Loans (ILL)

The Interlibrary Loans (ILL) system allows for material (ie, books and journal articles) not held in our library, to be borrowed from other libraries within the system, or from libraries abroad if not available locally. Users can request books or journal articles by clicking here to complete a form or email your requests to


How can I use ILL?

You can use ILL to request photocopies of either chapters within books or journal articles and loans of books from other institutions should the Library not have access to the information you require.

Prior to requesting materials through ILL, it is very important to have checked that the item is not available here. Please note only books and theses or photocopies of book chapters or journal articles are available through ILL. 


Loan Period

Within South Africa, the loan period varies between one and two months, depending on demand. Overseas loans are extremely short, usually only for one week.

Notification of Arrival

When the item is received, the ILL staff notifies the requester either telephonically or by email that the item is ready for collection.


Most loan renewals are not allowed. However, where possible the borrower should apply for a renewal approximately one week in advance. The ILL section will apply for a renewal from the Lending Library.

Return of Books

  • Books should be returned one week before the due date given by Inter Library Loans.
  • NB Due dates that are stamped inside the books are not the dates by which the books should be handed in at UWC

Time taken to obtain material

  • The time varies with the volume of work in the requesting and supplying libraries. Users should expect a delivery period of 2 - 4 weeks, but there can be longer delays.
  • Once a request is initiated, the requester is responsible for payment, even if there is a long delay and the material arrives too late to be used.

The following types of material should NOT be requested:

  • Light reading material, e.g. Fiction
  • Periodicals and newspapers
  • Valuable and rare materials
  • Works prescribed or recommended for school projects, or for under-graduate reading
  • Reference materials
  • Audio-visual materials


ILL Forms and Rates

ILL Forms

To request a Thesis or Book please, click here to complete a form or email your requests to

Request forms are also available at the ILL office. Users should complete one form per item, irrespective of whether two or more articles come from the same issue of the same journal. If there is no staff member in the office, please place your requests in the tray provided outside the office window. Please be sure to complete the form correctly and supply all the relevant details. Do not guess any information.


Local costs (within South Africa)


R4,00 per book


R1,00 per A4 page

Urgent [faxed articles]

R2,00 per page


From Overseas




R150 per article


Fines for late return


R2,00 per book per day.



Open Access Button

For the past year, the Open Access Button has been working to surface accessible copies of articles directly through library discovery systems and fulfill interlibrary loan requests instantly when accessible copies are available in repositories. We’re excited about the possibilities that this integration creates to bring interlibrary loan closer into researchers’ workflows, improve the number of articles available to users, and accelerate the speed at which users can access research — all while saving libraries time and money. 

When an article isn’t immediately accessible the Open Access Button will automatically send a self-archiving request to the author with instructions for depositing into a repository, at the same time an interlibrary loan request is generated. This self-archived version may become available before a traditional interlibrary loan request is fulfilled.

  •  UNPAYWALL: When you locate an abstract that you want full text for (but we don't have access to it), click on the green UNpaywall widget.  It will search for an OA version of that article (in a repository, in Research Gate, etc).  You can use this while searching Google Chrome; see 
  • OPEN ACCESS BUTTON: If you have a given URL, doi, or PubMed ID and are looking for full text, first hit your Open Access button widget (orange padlock).  You will be prompted to enter the URL or DOI and then it will search for a free version.


Contact Information

This office is situated on level 4 in the Library.

Office hours are: Monday - Friday: 08h20 - 16h30

Telephone: +27 21 959 2900