ILL: get the journal articles you need!

February 2, 2007

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a fast, easy-to-use (and almost always free!) service provided by the Smith College Libraries for all Smith students, faculty and staff. You would use ILL in two cases:

  • You need a journal article not available at Smith College (either electronically or in print)
  • You need a book, video or DVD not available within the Five Colleges
  • (To get books within the Five College system, click HERE to learn how!)


ILL requires you to create a special account – separate from your e-mail account on campus. It is easy and only takes a couple of minutes.

  1. Go to the ILL homepage:
  2. Click on Register for ILL
  3. Read the description of the service, and then click on First Time Users Click Here to agree to the terms and conditions
  4. Fill out all the required information on the webform (have your ID handy!)
  5. Click on Submit Information


There are two ways to request items through ILL. The first is manually filling out a simple webform with all the information about an article you know Smith College does not have or a book not available within the Five Colleges.

BEFORE submitting an ILL request, make sure to check the Journal Locator or the Five College Library Catalog for your needed item.

  1. Log into the ILL system (remember to register first!)
  2. Click on Article Request, if you need an article not available at Smith College
  3. OR

  4. Click on Loan Request, if you need a book, video or DVD not available within the Five Colleges
  5. Fill out all the necessary information for the item you need
  6. Click on Submit Request at the bottom of the form

You will receive an email message when your ILL request is ready. Simply follow the directions in the email to gain access to your item! Journal articles take just a matter of days; books take about a week.

In my next post, I will detail how to request an ILL directly from one of the libraries’ subscription databases. This makes getting articles and books even easier – since you don’t have to type out much of the request information.