Interlibrary Loan and Article Delivery Services

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Interlibrary Loan and Article Delivery Services

This service allows you to request books, book chapters, journal articles and other resources that are not available in HKU libraries but are available from other UGC-funded libraries in Hong Kong or other institutions worldwide.

Click here to access ILL through Find@HKUL

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What's changed?

Integrating Interlibrary Loan (including HKALL) into Find@HKUL simplifies the request process and improves user experience that manages all requests in one single interface.

What you can do now … 

  • Discover and request physical and digital content from other UGC-funded libraries in Hong Kong and institutions worldwide at Find@HKUL  
  • See the estimated delivery time and loan period 
  • View status of your Interlibrary loan request at MyAccount@HKUL

Please note Interlibrary loan requests can no longer be made in ILLiad. We understand that there may be unexpected issues during the transition period. Please send us any thoughts or questions you have at Email-A-librarian (To: Interlibrary Loans).


Eligibility, Loan/Request Quota, and Periods

Eligible Users Loan period (days) for Books1 Article Delivery Loan/request Quota2
Local Overseas
HKU Staff Academic, Professional and Senior Administrative and Research staff ✓ 30 days ✓ 21 days 30
Honorary staff ✓ 15 days ✓ 21 days 15
Honorary Appointee ✓ 15 days     15
Technicians ✓ 15 days ✓ 21 days 15
Non-academic staff ✓ 15 days     15
Visiting scholars ✓ 30 days     15
HKU Student Postgraduates ✓ 30 days ✓ 21 days 15
Undergraduates ✓ 15 days ✓ 21 days 15
HKU SPACE Academic staff ✓ 30 days ✓ 21 days 15
Non-academic staff ✓ 15 days     15
Part-time tutors ✓ 15 days     15
Communitiy College Students ✓ 15 days     15
Higher degree students ✓ 15 days     15
International College (IC) Students ✓ 15 days     15


Points to note: 

  1. Loan periods may vary according to the lending library. 
  2. The ILL loan and request quota will be counted in your total loan quota. The quota will be taken up once the ILL item has been requested and only be released when the item is returned and checked-in by the lending library. 


Materials can be requested from other institutions:

  • Loans of books
  • Digital copies of journal articles/book chapters


Searching and Placing request

How to search for materials?

  1. Sign in “Find@HKUL” Library catalogue to initiate searching. Find out more about the HKUL login and PIN.
  2. If the item is not held by HKU Libraries, select “Expand your search” to include the items available from other libraries. Or select "Beyond HKU (HKALL + Interlibrary Loan)" search scope under the search box.


  1. If the desired item is not listed, select “Looking for a specific item that you can’t find? Click here to request via Interlibrary loan.” to place a manual request on blank form. Provide information on fields as much as possible to help locate your request easily.



How to make a physical/digital request?

Click “Request” to initiate a request for a physical/digital copy from other libraries. Please note that ILL requests may not be available sometimes. You may refer to "Why ILL request is not available?" for more information.


Note: The timeframes shown are estimated and are dependent on several factors.


Request Physical Copy

  • Indicate the volume information (if applicable) and choose the preferred pick-up location. Click “Send” button.
  • A message “Your request was successfully placed” is shown after submitting a request.
  • Check MyAccount@HKUL to view the latest status of whether the request has been successfully placed in other libraries. Email notifications will be sent to you when the requested item is ready for pick-up.
    • “ILL. Requested”: A request is successfully placed in other libraries.
    • “ILL. In Process” / “ILL. Shipping”: An item is in the processing stage.
    • “ILL. Ready for Pickup”: An item is ready for pick up at a selected pickup location.


Request Digital Copy

  • Indicate the required chapter/article details and then click “Send” button.
  • A message “Your request was successfully placed” is shown after submitting a request.
  • Check MyAccount@HKUL to view the latest status of whether the request has been successfully placed in other libraries. You may download the requested book chapter or article at MyAccount@HKUL.
    • “ILL. Requested”: A request is successfully placed in other libraries.
    • “ILL. In Process”: An item is in the processing stage.
    • “ILL. Sent”: An item is ready for download.

If you can’t find what you are looking for using the above method, you can place a manual request:

Request Interlibrary Loan Items


Why Interlibrary loan request is not available?

The ILL request may not be available when ...


Cancellation of ILL request

  • You cannot cancel the request once the request is submitted. If you no longer need the item, please send us a request via Email-A-librarian (To: Interlibrary Loans) to cancel the request as soon as possible.
  • Each lender determines which parts of their collection are available for inclusion in interlibrary loan. The following items may be difficult to borrow from other libraries:
    • Complete issues/volumes of periodicals
    • E-books
    • Items from non-circulating items (e.g. Reference Collection)
    • Items with short loan period (e.g. Reserved Collection)
    • Items in non-paper format (e.g. DVDs)
    • Rare books and Special Collection
    • Textbooks
    • Materials that are difficult or expensive to pack or ship
  • You will be notified by email if your request is cancelled. The request may be cancelled under the following circumstances:
    • The item is available online in HKU Libraries’ collections
    • The item is not found on the shelf
    • The item is borrowed by the local users
    • The item is found to be not suitable for loan (e.g. non-circulating, in poor condition, etc.)
    • Digital requests for more than one chapter of a book or 10% of the work. Please make a physical item request instead.
  • If the request is not available for loan, the Libraries may choose to purchase a resource.


Delivery time

  • You can login MyAccount@HKUL to view the latest status of your requests.
  • Approximate delivery times:
Category Estimated time for delivery

- Local

7 working days

- Overseas

30 - 60 working days
Digital copies of journal articles/ book chapters 24 hours - 3 working days
Points to note:
  1. Delivery times are dependent on the accuracy of the details provided, the availability, and geographic location of the lending library.
  2. Loans coming from overseas may have a longer turnaround time.



Physical Books (from local and overseas):

  • You will receive an email notification when the requested item is ready for pickup.
  • Items from UGC-funded institutions will be held at the selected pickup location for 5 days while items from overseas institutions will be held for 21 days.
  • Unclaimed items will be returned to the lending library without any further notification.
  • In certain cases, the lending library requires us to designate an item as "In-Library Use Only" depending on format, age, and condition of the material.

Digital copies of journal articles/ book chapters:

  • Articles and book chapters will be delivered electronically via MyAccount@HKUL.
  • You will have a limit of 5 downloads within 30 days for each digital item. You’re unable to retrieve PDFs that have expired.


Returning, Recalls and Renewals


  • ILL items must be returned on or before the due date to Services Counter (either Main Library or branch libraries).
  • You should not put any ILL items into the book drops.



  • ILL items are subject to recall by users at the lending library.
  • You will receive an email notification once the item is recalled by another patron and the new due date is calculated from the date of renewal. You are advised to return the recalled item within 15 days from the date of recall to avoid overdue fines incurred or suspension of borrowing privilege.



  • You can renew ILL books online via MyAccount@HKUL on Find@HKUL, unless the item is recalled by the lending library or the maximum renewal period is reached. Any overdue fine will be recorded automatically.
  • Not all lending libraries will allow renewals. All renewals are subject to the policies of the lending library.
    • For local requests: The renewal period will be the same as the original loan period. The maximum renewal period of 15 days and 30 days can be renewed up to 45 days and 90 days respectively.
    • For overseas requests: Please submit the renewals request at least 1 week before the item is due. You will be notified by email if the renewal request is accepted. Books not accepted for renewal must be returned on time. 



  • The Interlibrary loan service is available as a subsidized and no-fee service for eligible users. Occasionally, you may be charged if the cost of an item exceeds our subsidy (e.g. heavy cost for delivery). We'll let you know if there will be a charge for an item you have requested before it is processed.
  • Late returned, damaged, or lost resources may incur fines and replacement fees.


Loss and Damage

  • Borrowers shall be held responsible for any loss or damage of the borrowed ILL books (including the assumed lost item) and abide by the book replacement and/or penalty policies of the lending libraries.
  • A request for cancellation/refund will not be considered once the Library has issued the bill to the borrower.
  • All library materials shall remain vested in the properties of the lending library. Borrowers are not allowed to keep the damaged/lost items even if the items were later found or the replacement charges have been paid.
  • Please take good care of ILL books borrowed from the other libraries. ILL books should not be taken overseas without prior permission from the lending libraries.


For Resource Sharing Partners worldwide

HKU Libraries offers Interlibrary loans (ILL) services to other libraries worldwide via Rapido and OCLC Resource Sharing.

The University of Hong Kong Libraries (Interlibrary Loan)
2/F Lending Services and Learning Environments
Main Library
The University of Hong Kong
Pokfulam Road, HONG KONG

Phone: +852 3917-5895
OCLC Symbol: HUA