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Placing your order

Ordering items if you are not registered

If you are an occasional user or order small quantities of items, we recommend using BLDSS to search and pay for all your purchases with a debit or credit card.

 Ordering items if you are a registered customer

If you hold an account with us, you can order items in the following ways:

  • BLDSS - order directly via our online interface.
  • Explore the British Library - search our catalogue and order via BLDSS.
  • ARTEmail -our email-based ordering system. You can send as many requests as you like in one file, but the list must be formatted correctly (see ‘Creating and Sending your order file’ below).


Creating and sending your order file

We recommend that you prepare your file offline, using a text editor or word processing software, e.g. Notepad.

You must save the file in ASCII text format, to ensure that our system will accept it. If you use Windows®, specify the file type as ‘Text File (*.TXT)’ in the ‘Save File as Type’ box. Once you are happy with the file, copy it to your PC’s clipboard, then paste the file (don’t attach it) into the body of your e-mail message and send it as a plain text e-mail to

ARTEmail will then either confirm that your file has been accepted, or give an Error Code explaining why it has been rejected.

Preferred order of bibliographic details

When sending your requests, please supply all the bibliographic information that you have. Author details are particularly important. If your bibliographic details are quoted in our preferred order, your requests will be automatically sorted and routed to the correct part of the Library. However, your request will not be failed just because the details are put in a different order. The preferred order of the information, for different types of material, is as follows:

Journal Articles

1.      Journal title: Canadian Veterinary Journal

2.      Year, volume, part, pages required: 2003 VOL 35 PT 2 PP 111-

3.      Article title: (first 4 or 5 words) Bovine neonatal encephalomyelitis
and/or first author: Bryan, LA

4.      ISSN/British Library shelf mark, if known: 3046.100000

Please prefix the volume number with VOL, followed by a single space; prefix the part number with PT, followed by a single space; and prefix the page number with PP, followed by a single space. Ideally, all this information should be on a single line, as in the example above.

Book Loans

1.      Book title: Immunology: a comparative approach

2.      Author/editor: Turner, RJ (ed)

3.      Publisher/Place of publication: Wiley

4.      Year, volume, part, edition: 2003

5.      ISBN/British Library shelfmark, if known: 0471944009

Conference Papers

1.      Title of conference/publication: Proceedings of 4th International Porifera Congress: Sponges in time and space

2.      Date, venue, sponsoring organisation: 19–20 April 2002, Amsterdam

3.      Year, volume, part, pages required: 2003 PP 64-

4.      Paper title (first 4 or 5 words): Evolutionary genetics of marine sponges
and/or first author Sole-Cara, A M et al

5.      ISBN/British Library shelfmark, if known: 03/07435