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Document Supply News & Customer Updates

Here we bring you the Customer Service Update for March 2014.

Join Us at an Event (March 2014)

BLDSS Collection Care (March 2014)

Articles Scanned from Print (March 2014)

Digital Rights Management (March 2014)

Inter Library Lending Claims (March 2014)

Public Holiday Closures (March 2014)

Christmas and New Year Operating Hours (December 2013)

BLDSS Search Strategy – the best way to find available material (December 2013)

Digital Rights Management (DRM) (December 2013)

Default copyright fees (December 2013)

BLDSS Update (October 2013)

Digital Rights Management (DRM) (October 2013)

BLDSS Customer Clinics (December 2013)

Born Digital Content (October 2013)

Changes to Document Delivery – Articles Scanned from Print (October 2013)

Join Us at an Event (March 2014)

Following on from the success of last year’s BLDSS Customer Clinics we are currently planning dates and venues for our 2014 Customer Clinics. Details will be announced later in the Spring. If you would like to suggest specific topics for inclusion at these sessions please email details of what you would like to be included to Customer Services. We would also like to hear from customers if you would be interested in attending a Webinar style Customer Clinic.

Also, we will be speaking at several events throughout the year, so look out for us in the conference programmes or chat to us at one of our exhibition stands to hear more about new developments in the Service and how you can use it in the future.

UKSG 37th Annual Conference and Exhibition
14-16 April
Harrogate International Centre, Yorkshire
Presenting and exhibiting
BIALL 45th Annual Study Conference and Exhibition
12-14 June
Harrogate International Centre, Yorkshire
Presenting and exhibiting
Interlend 2014
23-24 June
Carlton Hotel, Edinburgh

Electronic Theses and Dissertations 2014
23-25 July
University of Leicester

IFLA 2014 World Library and Information Congress
Document Delivery and Resource Sharing Satellite Meeting

13-14 August
INIST-CNRS, Nancy, France
Presenting and exhibiting

Frankfurt Book Fair 2014
8-12 October
Messe Frankfurt, Germany

PIPA 9th Annual Conference
6-7 November
Latimer Place, Chesham, Buckinghamshire

BLDSS Collection Care (March 2014)

Recently we have noticed an increase in the number of loan items being returned to us that have been defaced by the highlighting of text or underlining of words and ask that when items are used by your users it is in accordance with your normal regulations unless we state any special regulations with which you must comply. Much of our stock is irreplaceable and is loaned on the understanding that you may be charged compensation by the British Library for the full cost of repairing or replacing collection items that are damaged or lost.

If you borrow an item and do not return it to us when requested, it will be made ‘lost’ and your account will be charged. The Lost items charge includes a standard amount for a replacement copy, plus an administration charge. VAT will be charged on the administration element where applicable. If the item was expensive, the full price of replacement will be charged rather than the average standard price.

All Lost Items should be returned if they are later found. The Lost Items charge is a penalty for the inconvenience and loss of revenue resulting from losing a collection item; you are not buying the Lost Item from us. If you return an item within 6 weeks of paying the lost Item charge, we will make a full refund of the amount minus the administration element.

We reserve the right to remove any customer’s loan facility if we feel that the integrity of our collection is endangered.

Articles Scanned from Print (March 2014)

In October 2013 we announced that we planned to trial the scanning of documents from printed sources in black and white or colour as per the original publication. This was in response to customer feedback that suggested an increased number of issues with delivery of electronic files containing full colour documents. Since beginning the trial feedback confirms that this change has significantly reduced the issues experienced by our customers. As a result, this approach to scanning from print will now be adopted as our standard business practise.

Digital Rights Management (March 2014)

We would like to update you on the development of our planned alternative electronic delivery DRM solution. Whilst good progress has been made with the technical infrastructure and a working model has been developed, licensing issues have prevented us carrying out our planned testing with pilot institutions. Discussions are currently taking place to resolve these issues and ensure the solution fully complies with our licensing agreements. Launch of the new delivery method will subsequently be delayed. We will provide a further update in the next issue of Document Supply news.

Inter Library Lending Claims (March 2014)

To avoid delays to the processing of ILL Claims Invoices for those customers who use your British Library Document Supply Account to process payments for third party interlending, we would like to remind you to submit your claims using our online claim form. Claims made via the online form will usually be credited to your British Library account within 3 working days. Payments made by Bank transfer will take between 1 and 2 weeks.

As we do now have an automated system in place to replace the manually intensive paper based claim system, paper based claims will be phased out from September 2014.

Supplying libraries should send their claims to the British Library at least once a month; requesting libraries will expect charges to be made promptly to their account.

Public Holiday Closures (March 2014)

For full details on how the Easter and May Public Holidays will impact the British Library Document Supply Service (BLDSS) please see our Operating Hours. Digital content available for immediate download will continue to be available.

Please be aware that loans items may be due for renewal during periods of public holiday closure. In order that you do not incur unnecessary renewal charges, please ensure that items are returned to the British Library by their due date. Please contact Customer Services for any queries relating to renewal charges.

Christmas and New Year Operating Hours (December 2013)

Document Supply Customer Services will be closed from 17:00 on Monday 23 December until 08.00 on Friday 27 December and also on Wednesday 01 January. For full details of how this will impact the British Library Document Supply Service (BLDSS) please see our Opening Hours. Digital content available for immediate download will continue to be available.

The Boston Spa Reading Room will close at 16:30 on Monday 23 and Tuesday 31 December. Latest admittance to the Reading Room will be 14.00 on both days.

Please be aware that loan items may be due for renewal during periods of public holiday closure. In order that you do not incur unnecessary renewal charges, please ensure that items are returned to the British Library by their due date. Please contact Customer Services for any queries relating to renewal charges.

BLDSS Search Strategy – the best way to find available material (December 2013)

BLDSS lists details of a huge collection of material available for remote supply, whilst Explore the British Library, our main catalogue, provides records of items held in our entire Collection. Although BLDSS has article level records of over 42 million items, due to minimal catalogue records some of our material is only searchable at publication title level. We therefore recommend that initially you search for the item of interest using keywords e.g. words from the article title or the author. If you don’t find the specific item of interest, then try searching for the journal title. If you find the publication title, you will prompted for more details of the specific item of interest e.g. article & author details – please provide as much and as accurate information as you can to help locate the item required.

On occasions you may find it beneficial to perform a more specific search, in these instances, we would advise that you use the Advanced Search functionality available on Explore the British Library. When searching for items in Explore the British Library, please note that only those shown as available for remote supply may be ordered through BLDSS. To restrict your search to remote supply items, select Remote Supply from the drop-down menu to the right of Everything in this catalogue alongside the search box:

To order items found in Explore the British Library via the online order form, you must have registered for a document supply British Library Online Account. You can register online here.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) (December 2013)

In the October issue of the Document Supply news we announced that we would soon be introducing an alternative electronic delivery DRM solution, which whilst continuing to be 100% copyright compliant, does not need the installation of software to read the document.

During November we invited a small number of customers, including proposed pilot institutions, to join us at the British Library to preview this new delivery option. These focus groups provided us with the opportunity to collect feedback and ideas to ensure that the service being developed will be one that suits customer requirements.

Next steps are to make changes based on this feedback, then to test the service with pilot institutions early in the New Year. Dependent on a successful outcome of these trials, we hope to start rolling out this new delivery option during the first quarter of 2014.

BLDSS Customer Clinics (December 2013)

The British Library Document Supply Service (BLDSS) held a series of informal open sessions throughout the UK in 2013. These Clinics were organised in response to customer feedback from a survey held in 2012. As suggested by our customers, the Clinics provided an opportunity to meet with members of British Library staff, in addition to other ILL practitioners, to discuss the British Library’s services, feedback and share knowledge.

The Clinics lasted approximately 2 1/2 hours and commenced with a brief update on British Library developments. This was followed by a demonstration of the BLDSS online interface which highlighted functionality which may help you provide a more efficient, higher quality service to your end-users. In addition, time was set aside for informal discussion, giving the opportunity for feedback, networking, knowledge sharing and best practice.

The sessions took place at the British Library in Boston Spa and London, the University of Edinburgh, Manchester City Library, The University of Derby and Bristol University. We would like to thank our colleagues at these institutions for their generosity in organising and hosting Clinics.

The discussions that took place and the feedback received is incredibly valuable in delivering our services and in informing future developments. We are planning a further series of events in the UK in 2014 and would like to hear from any organisations that may be able to help by offering a venue.

Details of these events will be posted in Spring 2014. For further information please contact

Default copyright fees (December 2013)

The Copyright Licensing Agency, CLA, default copyright fee for books and other non-serial material will increase from £12 to £12.30 on 1 January 2014. The new charges will apply to copyright fee paid copies supplied from this date.

Return of Loans and Renewals during Public Holiday Closures (December 2013)

Please be aware that loan items may be due for renewal during periods of public holiday closure. In order that you do not incur unnecessary renewal charges please ensure that items are returned to us in plenty of time. Please contact Customer Services for any queries relating to renewal charges.

Details of holiday closures may be found here.

BLDSS Update (October 2013)

The introduction of our new British Library Document Supply Service (BLDSS) over the past couple of years has been the biggest change we have made during our 50 years of document supply. As may be expected from such a massive development, in addition to the benefits our customers have realised, such as real-time availability and pricing, order tracking, immediate turnaround and a lower price for articles delivered from our electronic stores, there have also been a few teething problems. Thank you for your patience and on-going support as we work hard to resolve these issues.

BLDSS is primarily built on a workflow engine purchased from a 3rd party supplier, which was further developed to deliver the functionality necessary for our Document Supply Service. Since deployment newer versions of the software have been released, so we are currently undertaking a major upgrade to the latest version. Not only will this upgrade deliver a faster, more stable system, but moving BLDSS on to the new platform will also allow us the opportunity to address known bugs and deliver an improved experience.

The new version is scheduled to be introduced in January 2014.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) (October 2013)

The majority of our licensing agreements demand that documents supplied electronically are protected by DRM to avoid unauthorised use. Current rights management solutions require the installation of plug-in software to allow the end user to read the document. BLDSS currently uses Adobe Digital Editions or FileOpen to apply this encryption. For some of you this can be problematic and may restrict your ability to fully benefit from our electronic delivery services.

Early next year we will be introducing an alternative DRM solution which, whilst continuing to be 100% copyright compliant, does not need the installation of software. This should overcome these challenges and offer an enhanced user experience. Further information will be available in the December issue of Document Supply News.

Further information on our existing electronic delivery methods.

Born Digital Content (October 2013)

Customers will be delighted to know that since the introduction of lower pricing for articles supplied from our electronic stores, we have extended coverage to include subscribed licensed content sourced direct from publishers’ websites. We are able to access over 22,000 journal titles to be delivered to you electronically for only £5.00/$7.90/€6.10/¥750 (excluding copyright fee and VAT where applicable). In addition, over the next few weeks up to 4 million additional electronic items from an extended list of publishers will be made available. This means even more material available for delivery immediately after you order it.

Later in the year we will also be introducing a new routing process within BLDSS. This will enable orders sourced from publishers’ electronic content to be fulfilled quicker, thus reducing our supply time to you. 

In cases where you do not know the original format of a requested publication and we supply from born digital, we will automatically charge you the lower price.

Changes to Document Delivery – Articles Scanned from Print (October 2013)

Since the introduction of colour scanning as standard for articles supplied from print, we have received regular feedback from customers.

In response to this feedback we plan to trial the scanning of documents from printed sources in either black and white or colour, as per the original publication. By doing this we hope to enhance our service by reducing file sizes (to minimise the risk of problems during electronic delivery) and lowering the cost of printing documents. Born digital documents will continue to be delivered as published.

Through our standard quality service we will continue to provide a legible working copy. In addition, we do also offer a high quality service for items scanned from print should this be required. This option is available when ordering online through the BLDSS interface. Customers requesting by ARTEmail or a Library Management System should contact Customer Services Orders if you wish to order high quality copies.

British Library – copyright-fee-paid document supply (August 2013)

The British Library provides copyright-fee-paid document supply services to UK Higher Education Institutions under licence from both the Copyright Licensing Agency and publishers directly. The British Library has direct agreements with a number of publishers that allow it to provide both scanned and born-digital documents without encryption to HEIs that hold a CLA Higher Education Licence.

This complements the British Library’s HE Scanning Service (HESS), which is licensed by the CLA and which permits the British Library to provide scanned copies without encryption to HEIs for use on their VLEs.

We are delighted to confirm that, provided the new CLA Higher Education Licence is held, HEIs may fully use born-digital documents supplied by the British Library.

If you require any further information, please contact Sue Allison at the British Library ( or Sarah Brear at the CLA (

Differential Pricing – What’s included at the lower price? (August 2013)

From 1 August 2013 content available electronically to the British Library and delivered via immediate electronic download will be available at the lower price. We already use this born-digital material to satisfy around 30% of requests for copies of items and we hold nearly 13 million items electronically. The British Library is committed to increasing this proportion over the coming years through acquisition of digital content in line with current trends in publishing.

Later in August, to ensure maximum benefit for our customers, we are expanding the scope of content available at the lower price to include electronic material sourced from a 3rd party website. Where an item is not held in our electronic or print collections and our publisher licenses permit, we will attempt to source the item direct and charge you the lower price.

The BLDSS online interface will show item prices and indicate which items are available for immediate electronic download. When requesting items through ARTEmail or your Library Management System where you do not know if the item is available electronically, continue to request items for delivery by your preferred method and speed. Where we find the item is available from an electronic source, our automated retrieval system will apply the appropriate price and the item’s cost will be shown on your itemised monthly statement. In addition, we will send you a plain English email to inform you of the change and advise that we will charge the lower service fee.

BLDSS Online Interface (August 2013)

Visit for instant access to pricing and availability information of items available for remote supply through the British Library Document Supply Service (BLDSS). Supporting information delivery direct to your end-users desk top, our new online ordering and administration system also allows real time tracking of orders and access to your full order history.

To take full advantage of this functionality, you will need to register for a personal British Library Online Account. Your personal account then needs to be associated with your Document Supply Account. Your Document Supply Account Manager can carry out this association unless you wish to adopt the role of Account Manager. If this is the case, please contact Customer-Services-Accounts who will do this for you. As Account Manager you will be able to:

  • Set up other users
  • Change you default account settings
  • Place new orders
  • Check the progress of your confirmed orders
  • Approve or reject orders from end users
  • Report problems and chase orders online
  • Check possible matches to your requests
  • Resolve formatting issues

Further information on registering for and accessing BLDSS.

UK Library Privilege Copy Service (August 2013)

With increased accessibility for end-users to place mediated orders through online interfaces such as BLDSS, we would like to remind our UK non-commercial customers ordering Library Privilege copies of their responsibilities under the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as stated in our Document Supply Services Terms and Conditions. Of particular importance is the requirement to obtain a signed declaration from your end-user. For your convenience, download a copy of the declaration form here.

Introducing a new Document Supply pricing model (August 2013)

The British Library Document Supply Service pricing model is about to change. The major benefit arising from this will be a substantial reduction in the price of requests satisfied from our electronic collections. This will allow customers to make the most of our rapidly increasing digital collection and help us to deliver a higher quality, faster and more cost effective service.

From 1 August 2013, the Document Supply Service will be priced according to the cost of sourcing and supplying an item. This will mean an increase in the price of requests satisfied from print, but a considerable reduction the price of requests from electronic sources.

The new pricing model enables fast delivery of electronic items at a competitive price. Furthermore, the benefits of this change for our customers will multiply in the future, as the amount of content we store and supply electronically increases in response to current trends in publishing and our own efforts to expand the amount of content we can store and supply electronically.

For more information, please see the Pricing section of our website or visit our Q&A


Summary of previous Customer Service updates