Borrow Direct, Interlibrary Loan, Scan & Deliver? Which do I choose?

If Harvard Library doesn't have something, or I don't want to come to the library for it, how do I get it?

When an item isn't available at Harvard Library, or when the item is available only in print and you're unable to visit the library, try one of these services (HarvardKey login required).


Try BorrowDirect first when looking for a book, DVD, or music score you can't find at Harvard Library.

• Search the BD catalog to see if the material is available from one of our BD partners.

• Electronic materials cannot be ordered through Borrow Direct. 


Try Interlibrary Loan when a book, DVD, or music score is unavailable through BorrowDirect and for book chapters, articles, and other materials. 

• Fill out the ILL request form. You do not need know what libraries can lend the material. 

• Most material will be delivered to the library in print for you to pick up; articles and book chapters are usually sent in a PDF.


Use Scan & Deliver to request a scan of an article or book chapter from materials available at Harvard Library.

• The Scan & Deliver link can be seen in HOLLIS listings under Get it.

• Check out the Scan & Deliver page to see what exactly can be requested and delivery estimates.

 • If you don't see Scan & Deliver, use Interlibrary Loan. 


When in doubt about which way to request material, Ask a Librarian (submit the question via our form). We'll help you select the right option.


For more information about BorrowDirect, Interlibrary Loan, and Scan & Deliver, contact the Harvard Library Resource Sharing staff.


Service Alert:
  • Ask a Librarian, including chat and email, will be suspended from Saturday, May 26 through Monday May 28, in observance of Memorial Day. Questions received during this period will be answered beginning Tuesday, May 28, 2023.
  • If you're experiencing an ongoing technical issue when you attempt to access library materials with your HarvardKey during these times, please report it to Library Technology Services.



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Chat is intended for brief inquiries from the Harvard community.


Talk to a librarian for advice on defining your topic, developing your research strategy, and locating and using sources. Make an appointment now.

These services are intended primarily for Harvard University faculty, staff and students. If you are not affiliated with Harvard, please use these services only to request information about the Library and its collections.