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Updated November 29, 2021: In line with the government’s public health guidance, the University of Cambridge expects face coverings to be worn in all our libraries by students, staff and visitors (unless exempt). Thank you for helping to reduce the risk of further disruption and illness. 

The Betty & Gordon Moore Library offers a range of online support services and ways you can access our collections, to help you learn, teach and research. See individual reduced contact services web pages for variations in availability and consult the website regularly as we start to bring back library services to almost pre-Covid levels.

***New for the start of the academic year is our updated physical sciences libguide. This guide has been developed to help signpost useful information for staff and students studying Physical Sciences at the University of Cambridge. As the University moves towards more normal ways of working this guide contains information on updated opening hours and services, using both the physical and online study spaces as well as tools to help you stay productive.***

The Betty & Gordon Moore Library

University of Cambridge users: New Rapid ILL service & standard Inter-library loan service | UK & Republic Of Ireland libraries | International libraries

University of Cambridge users:

Rapid ILL (or Request a Digital Copy Service)

What does it do?

The Requst a Digital Copy Service enables Current Staff and Students (including: NHS, ICE and CTF) to place requests via iDiscover for articles and book chapters not held in the Cambridge Collection and receive them in an electronic format.

 Can I use this service?

As of today, all eligible patrons have had the ability to place requests enabled on their patron accounts.

 Is there a guide to this service?

We have a LibGuide where information can be found here:

 What is the benefit?

This a semi-automated service which operates on a 24 hour turn-around. Within 24 hours the user will either receive a download link to the item, or it will be rejected with the user prompted to request the item via existing Inter-Library Loans services.  

 How is Request a Digital Copy Service different from an Inter Library Loan?

  1. The system automatically assigns a supplying Library from those that hold the item- there is no direct contact between us and the supplying Library.
  2. Material will only be accessible via a URL in a digital format (though the PDF can be printed)
  3. The service isn’t chargeable as it is expected to be reciprocal. ‘Lending’ from Cambridge collections is something we will begin working on.
  4. This isn’t a replacement of Inter-Library Loans, it is designed to quickly supply items which are readily available from other institutions.

 Why have I not heard of this service before?

This service is new to Cambridge and is fairly new across the UK but has a larger International base.

Where has this service come from?

RAPID ILL (RAPID Inter Library Loans) which we are calling Request a Digital Copy Service is part of  Alma.  

If making a request using the new service fails please use the following standard service to make your request.

Standard Inter-Library Loan service 

This is an internal inter-library loans service which we offer to Betty & Gordon Moore Library registered users wishing to access material not held within Cambridge University. This service can also be used if availability is limited to either membership of a specific college or department or where building works would prevent access to library resources in Cambridge.

A wide variety of printed and microform material can be obtained from the British Library and other libraries within the UK and overseas, including:

  • Books (and chapters from books)
  • Theses
  • Journal articles (and loan of whole issues)
  • Conference papers
  • Selected microforms

Our standard charges are based on a one to five day turnaround and are as follows:

University Members (including students, staff, resident and non-resident MA's/BA's:

Other registered readers:

In the event that we are unable to acquire the material, a full refund will be issued. 

Inter-Library Loan requests can be submitted by the following method:


Submit your Inter-Library Loan request online, with payment by Credit or Debit Card (Visa, Delta, Mastercard, Solo, Maestro (if issued in the UK), and Visa Electron). We are currently unable to accept Amex for online payments.
Access the Online Inter-Library Loan Form.

If you have already submitted an online inter-library loan request but were unable to submit payment, you may access the online payment platform here.

The charges for the normal service are a flat rate regardless of whether the request is for a photocopied article, the loan of an item or a SED (Secure Electronic Delivery).

Please note: An explanation of the term Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) can be found in our Library FAQs.


UK Theses

The British Library has a separate Electronic Thesis Online Service (EThOS) which you can register to use. There are 250,000+ UK theses that are currently available to download for free, so it is highly recommended that you check here for availability. If the thesis is listed but requires a fee to obtain, EThOS will digitise on demand. Users should be aware that this can take a considerable period of time and all costs are met by the end user. If the thesis you require is not listed on EThOS, you can apply via our Inter-library Loan service for a hard copy loan of the item at the standard ILL rate.



The University of Cambridge now has free access to the British Standards Online (BSOL) resource.

Access is available via the Cambridge LibGuides Database here:

If the standard that you require does not have a British Standard equivalent, you can apply for a loan via our Inter-library Loan service at the standard ILL rate.


Other UK and Republic Of Ireland Libraries

Our library will accept direct e-mail requests for inter-library loans from libraries and institutions within the UK and Republic of Ireland, which are outside of the University of Cambridge. We handle all requests sent to CA/U-2 (which includes the Betty & Gordon Moore Library and the Materials Science & Metallurgy Collection). Please contact us using the e-mail:

Please note: Certain parts of our collection are subject to restrictions. 

Restrictions that apply:

  • Our library does not lend journal material and all book loans are made on the strict understanding that they are not for home loan.
  • We do not lend books published pre-1900.
  • We do not lend theses or reference material.
  • We do not lend books from our Reserve Collection.
  • We reserve the right to refuse access to books and journals received via the Legal Deposit Act at any time.
  • Access to online materials is restricted to one photocopied article or chapter per item.

Payment for direct requests is by British Library Billing Account or pre-paid inter-library request form only. If using the billing account, requests can be phoned, posted, emailed or sent by web form if your browser supports forms. Please remember to supply your BL customer code and a request number when submitting the request.


Our service charges, based on a 2- 5 day turnaround, are as follows (please indicate which type you require on the request):

  • Copy of an article or chapter by scan or post: £9.80 + VAT
  • Loan: £15.90

Please note: The maximum total loan length for external libraries is 168 days.


International Libraries

With the exception of libraries based in Republic of Ireland that can quote a BL Billing Account (see above), we do not loan to international libraries. For any international library that can quote a BL Billing Account number, we do accept direct scan/photocopy requests.

International libraries who cannot quote a British Library account number will need to apply, in the first instance, to the British Library Document Supply Centre stating that Cambridge (CA/U-2) holds the item in the 'Additional Details' field. BLDSC will then process and forward the request to us.

For more information please visit their website:

Our service charges, based on a 2- 5 day turnaround, are as follows:

  • Copy of an article or chapter by scan or post: £9.80

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