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BLDSS FAQs

Find answers to and guidance on our most frequently asked questions.

  1. General
  2. Search and discovery
  3. Placing an order
  4. Order management
  5. Business Account administration

1. General

1.1 What does BLDSS offer?

This service enables you to search for items available from our Remote Supply collection, view detailed availability, pricing and delivery time information, place and track an order and manage your Account preferences online.

1.2 Is it free?

Yes it is free, although any materials ordered will be chargeable as per the current price list.

1.3 How do I access the interface?

The service is available at: bldss.bl.uk

1.4 Is the entire British Library collection available through this service?

Unfortunately not; documents can be supplied from our Remote Supply collection only. Our Reference collection is available to view in our Reading Rooms.

1.5 Are items available for Loan?

This option is available to Business Account holders only.

1.6 Do I need to register for the service?

Online registration is required and payment is made by credit/debit card. Regular users/Organisations may also wish to open a Business Account to benefit from monthly billing.

1.7 What is the Pay As You Go option?

Pay As You Go refers to a payment method which is ‘per item’. Using this option you can select one or more items and pay for them using a credit or debit card.

The service is independent from Business Accounts however, and therefore individuals choosing this option will pay standard commercial rates.

1.8 I already have a Business Account, do I need to register?

To access the facilities available on the interface i.e. check status of orders, availability, pricing etc. you will need to register as an individual and then email customer-services-accounts@bl.uk to be linked to your Business Account.

2. Search and discovery

2.1 Can I copy and paste citations into the online Search box.

No. You can however, copy and paste keywords from a citation into the search box.

Our online search interface is based on keywords, as are the vast majority of on-line systems including Google and Amazon.

Enter (or copy and paste) a small number of keywords in the search box and select the item that interests you from the returned list.

You can enter any part of the bibliographic data including the title, author, ISSN etc.

Entering the full citation details is unlikely to return a successful search as any difference in any of the data between the citation and the British Library catalogue will result in a failed search (e.g. a typographical error, a different spelling etc.)

2.2 What is the best way to search for articles?

Please enter a small number of keywords in the search box as detailed above, but if we have not catalogued the item at article level please perform a search on the journal title. You will then be prompted to supplement the journal description with your citation information.

2.3 Can I use the main catalogue ‘Explore the British Library’ to search and order items?

Yes; please select ‘Remote Supply’ from the drop-down alongside the search box. Having found the item please click ‘I want this’ tab and select ‘Deliver item to – My home or office’ you will then be directed to BLDSS. Please log in when you have selected your delivery options.

2.4 Can I access any free or open access content in BLDSS?

Yes, where we have data from the publisher to indicate that a journal article or title that we hold is a free Open Access version, we will supply the item to you with a ‘zero copyright fee’. However please note that some articles might also be directly available free of charge on the web as a result of open access policies. You may wish to check if the item you require is available in this way before you submit an order in BLDSS as our systems do not always recognise such content and the publishers’ data does not always indicate an Open Access status, and you may be charged a copyright fee for supply through our service. The BLDSS service charge is applied to all orders.

3. Placing an order

3.1 How quickly can you supply me with a document?

Our service enables you to select the speed that you wish us to process your order. Please note that the costs reflect the speed selected. We also offer ‘Immediate Download’ where publisher licenses permit.

3.2 What does ‘Encrypted Download’ mean?

This electronic delivery method supplies you with a hyperlink to the document. You will need to have FileOpen (a Digital Rights Management tool) installed to download the document.

3.3 What does ‘Unencrypted Download’ mean?

This electronic delivery method supplies you with a hyperlink to the document. The British Library will hold a licence with the publisher to supply their publications unencrypted.

3.4 What is the difference between Standard and 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.

3.5 When is payment taken from my credit card?

Your credit card is authorised for the total cost when you submit your order. Payment is not taken until the order is supplied.

3.6 Once I’ve placed an order, can I cancel or change delivery options?

Once an order has been confirmed it cannot either be changed or cancelled unless it has been added to a waiting list.

You can check the status of an order (and cancel/re-order it) in the ‘My Orders'/'Admin Order tracking’ section of the new interface. By re-ordering you are able to change delivery options from the original order.

3.7 Can I use ARTEmail to request items through BLDSS? (Business Account holders only)

Yes! If a user would like to continue to request using ARTEmail they can.

If you request by ARTEmail you will still be able to track your orders using the administrative interface, and you can continue to receive daily intray reports by email.

3.8 Will I be able to order via ARTEmail when using 3rd party Library Management platforms? (Business Account holders only)

Yes. You can choose to use ARTEmail exactly as you do now. All the optional services listed under ARTEmail Specific Options in the Business Account Administration website are applicable to Library System requesters.

3.9 When should I use the new services, ‘Get It For Me’ and ‘Find It For Me’?

Both ‘Get It For Me’ (GIFM) and ‘Find It For Me’ (FIFM) are premium services designed to ensure that we are able to meet the requirements of end users even if we do not hold the item ourselves.

If a GIFM request is made for a document that we do not hold ourselves, we will then look outside of our own collection across a network of Document Supply partners. Once we have located the item we will supply it at the cost charged by the end supplier. In all cases a premium service charge will be added.

If a FIFM request is made, we will search for and locate the item. We aim to find the item even if it is not held in the British Library. A small premium service charge will be made to the user. We will inform the user of where the item can be located, and if appropriate users will be able to turn the order in to a GIFM request (in order to then receive it).

These services will complement our standard Document Supply service and mean that users can feel confident that the British Library will be able to supply/find an even greater percentage of requested items, regardless of where they are held.

4. Order management

4.1 What can I do from ‘My Orders’?

You can download your documents, check the current order status, review your order history, update orders (e.g. cancel orders) and report problems (e.g. missing pages of an article).

4.2 How will I know what is happening to my requests?

You will receive emails relating to the progress of each order and also be able to track your orders online using ‘My Orders’

The online tracking will show progress for all requests successfully accepted and matched to our stock (and available under the terms and conditions requested) which are progressing through the service.

4.3 How do I report a problem?

If the copy we supply is incomplete, incorrect or of poor quality, you can let us know from the My Orders/Admin Order Tracking on our website. Just find your order line, select ‘Report Problem’ and then select the appropriate problem type from the menu. Our operators will investigate and provide you with a new copy as soon as possible. You can do this online even if you sent the request using ARTEmail.

If we send you the wrong item on loan, please report the problem and then return it to us using the Return Address label on your Delivery Note as soon as possible.

Alternatively, you may call or email Customer Services as now. (+ 44 (0) 1937 546 060 or customer-services@bl.uk) Please quote the British Library order number wherever possible.

4.4 How do I cancel my request or change delivery options?

Once an order has been confirmed it cannot either be changed or cancelled, unless it has been added to a waiting list.

You can check the status of an order (and cancel/re-order it) in the ‘My Orders'/'Admin Order tracking’ section of the new interface. By re-ordering you are able to change delivery options from the original order.

4.5 How do I chase a request?

If the Speed you ordered has passed and you have not had a response from us about your order, you can let us know from the My Orders/Admin Order Tracking on our website. Just find the order line, select ‘Report Problem’ and 'I haven't received this item'. Our Customer Services team will investigate and respond as soon as possible. You can do this online even if you sent the request using ARTEmail.

Alternatively, if you use ARTEmail to send requests, you can continue to use the Message Keyword Code ‘CHASER’ as you currently do.

4.6 How do I renew an item?

If the item has not been returned, or if another borrower is not waiting, our system will automatically renew an item the day after the loan period expires. If you want to renew a loan before the end of the six week loan period, you can do so online from the My Orders/Admin Order Tracking links on our website. Simply find your order and select ‘Renew Loan’. If the Renew Loan button is not active, this means your item is not available for renewal. You can do this online even if you sent the request using ARTEmail.

Alternatively, ARTEmail users may submit renewal requests as they do now, by resubmitting the original order with ‘RENEW’ added to the TX line.

4.7 Is there a way of seeing only current requests?

You can select to 'Show Only Open Orders' or limit the time period e.g. in the 'Last month', 'Last 3 months' etc. You can also use sorting and filtering to find the order you are interested in.

4.8 Will I be able to access old orders?

Yes. The system keeps a record of all items ordered by all users. As an end user you are able to view all of your own previous orders. As an administrator it is possible to view your own orders, as well as all orders placed by users within your ‘business unit’.

In these order tracking windows it is possible to filter out which orders you see using the filter bar. Additionally, you can search for a specific order line by typing in relevant order details e.g. requester name, date the order was placed etc.

4.9 What is the Approval Queue? (Business Account holders only)

This is a facility for Administrators of an account to approve all requests by their users prior to submitting. This option can be deselected using ‘Business Account Administration’

4.10 Can I use online tracking and the administrative tools if I order via ARTEmail? (Business Account holders only)

Yes. You can track the progress of all confirmed orders made using ARTEmail in real time and in plain English from the My Orders/Admin Order Tracking section of our website. You can also review your order history, update orders (e.g. cancel orders) and report problems (e.g. missing pages of an article).

5. Business Account administration (Business Account holders only)

5.1 What can I do in ‘Business Account Administration’?

You can manage your account details, add people to the Business Account and amend your document supply ordering options.

5.2 How do I add people to my account?

The end user must have successfully completed the Online Account Registration process within bldss.bl.uk and activated their account (by clicking on the link in the activation email sent to them) before they can be associated with your business account.

Within the administrative suite of tools there is an option for adding users to a ‘business unit’ account. The process involves simply entering the specific user’s username (email address) and Online Account ID and then verifying that they are legitimate individuals to order on your account.

At this point, an administrator can set and manage the users 'business unit' relationship start and end dates and assign their permissions, i.e. 'Allowed to request loans'/'Allowed to request copies'.

There is also the option to ‘bulk add’ users. An excel spreadsheet can be uploaded to the system and users will be automatically added. Instructions on how to format this spreadsheet can be found in the ‘bulk add’ section of the admin tools.

5.3 Can access rights be set through a bulk upload?

When adding bulk users, permissions assigned are applied to all users within that upload. However, it is possible to edit individual user’s permissions as necessary.

5.4 How many entries can there be in the address book?

The number of entries input is effectively limitless. However, we advise against inputting too many addresses due to the fact that it could become time consuming and/or confusing sorting through them all when making an order.

5.5 If I select the option to ‘Place Orders Without My Approval – No’, what happens to the orders?

You can access the orders waiting for approval from the 'Approval Queue' link on the interface. You are able to view the details of the order, and either approve or reject. We email your end user keeping them informed of progress and your decision.

Note that we will start our ‘speed of service’ countdown from when we confirm the order. So if your end-user asks for 2 hour service and you don’t approve until the next day, we will only start work after your approval.

5.6 Can an administrator restrict access to 2/24 hour services?

Administrators can set defaults for delivery speed in their Business Account profile. This does not prevent an end user from choosing an alternative speed. If you opt to approve orders before submission, you can reject those that have chosen the 2/24 hour service.

5.7 Does the system show how much we have spent each month?

No, this information is not available within the interface.

Administrators receive monthly invoices/statements with this information.

5.8 Can request limits be assigned to end users?

No, currently the system does not allow limits or restrictions to be placed for the amount a certain user can request.

However, it is possible for Administrators to approve orders from users and also view how many orders that user has made in the past by clicking on the 'Admin Order Tracking' link and using the ‘requestor’ filter.