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FindIt@Bham online help

Items in the Research Reserve

About 80% of our stock is in the Research Reserve in the Main Library. It is important to search on the FindIt@Bham catalogue so that you don't miss valuable reading material on your subject. Research Reserve items include theses, as well as older, less frequently used books and periodicals. These are only available to consult upon request. 

  • Most books and serial monographs are loanable
  • Journals and periodicals are reference use only and can only be used in the library
  • Theses are reference use only within the Library. See EThOS for online access to PhD theses

Digital scans can also be requested and will be sent as long as requests follow copyright legislation. 

If you find an item that shows it is in the Research Reserve, you can request it online.

Click on ‘Check for current availability at’ to see the request options. Research Reserve items have a 'Request' and a 'Digitisation' link. You will be able to request either a physical copy or a digital scan.

Physical requests

If you want the physical copy of the item, click ‘Request’.

Fill in any additional information and press ‘Request’.

  • University of Birmingham students or staff members: you can request loanable items to be delivered to one of our site libraries. 
  • External members: you can make Research Reserve requests directly by signing into FindIt@Bham. When signing into FindIt@Bham, external members should select the option for ‘External Borrowers’. If you have not already set up a password, please contact us. Whether you can borrow an item or not will depend on your membership type. External members can only collect or consult items at Main Library.
  • Visitors: contact us to request Research Reserve items. Visitors can only consult items in Main Library.

Requesting journals and periodicals

If requesting a journal, please state the volume/s required in the relevant box. If you require multiple volumes/issues, please request these as part of one request.


To request a thesis, use the ‘Request’ option on FindIt. All theses are for reference use only, but many PhD theses are available online via EThOS.

School of Medicine theses must be consulted at the Barnes Library.

Pre-1850 material

Due to the age and condition of material published before 1850, these items must be consulted in the Cadbury Research Library located in Muirhead Tower.

Digitisation requests

Available for University of Birmingham staff and students only.

If you have selected ‘Digitisation’, you will be prompted to give details of what you would like to be digitised. Not all Research Reserve items are available for digitisation.

As per copyright legislation, you are permitted to request a digital scan of:

  • up to 5% of any one volume or
  • up to one full journal article from a journal issue or
  • up to one full chapter of a book

Provide the relevant details and press ‘Request’.

Receiving your request

Upon placing a request of either type, you will be told where you are in the request queue.

Requests are dealt with in order and speed of response will be dependent on the level of requests in the queue. Requests are processed at regular intervals, and are usually available in two to three working days (Monday-Friday). Please note that there is no fetching or scanning service on Bank Holidays or University Closed Days.

If you have made a physical request and the item is available, we will fetch it and notify you to collect from either:

  • the Request shelves in the Library Information Centre on the ground floor of the Main Library.
  • at another site library if you ask for it to be delivered there
  • the Allport Room opposite the Research Research in Main Library, if it is a thesis or reference-only item. These items need to be collected during Allport Room opening hours. Weekend access to the Allport Room is available upon arrangement.
  • Certain items, due to fragility or rarity, can only be consulted in the Allport Room.

You will have one week to collect your item. If you need longer, please contact us.

Loanable items should be issued to your account by using one of our self-issue machines. Thesis and other reference-only items can only be consulted within the Main Library.

Digital scans will be sent directly to the email address associated with your library account.

If you are the only user in the request queue, we aim to have the item or scan ready within two to three working days.

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