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Your Best Request

Learn how to request items through the University Libraries in order to obtain them as quickly as possible.

Tip#3: Decide if you are willing to accept an alternate version.

This is the last field that is required in an ILL request form.  

It's important because it tell us more about what you want, and reduces the liklihood that we will need to email you for clarification later.    

Books and Other Loans: Alternate Edition or Format?

The Request Book or Other Loan form asks you if you will accept an alternate edition or format of this item.  

Screenshot of alternate edition and format questions on ILL request form

ILL staff will try to get you exactly what you requested, but it's not always possible.  

  • If you select YES to one or both questions, we will try to acquire another version should we not be able to get your first preference.  
  • If you select NO to both questions, we will cancel the request if we cannot acquire the specific edition AND format that you requested.


Here are a few examples of when it's a good idea to select YES:

  • For alternate edition: You would prefer the 2018 edition, but would accept the 2016, too.     
  • For alternate format: You would prefer the eBook, but would accept the print copy, too.    
  • For both alternate edition and format: You would prefer the 2018 ebook, but would accept the 2018 or older print editions too. 


Here are a few examples of when it's a good idea to select NO:

  • For alternate edition: You will only accept the first edition, no later revised editions.
  • For alternate edition: You need specific parts of a musical score.  
  • For alternate format: The UMD Libraries owns the e-book, but you want a print copy.


Unsure about what editions or formats are available?   Search WorldCatUMD, and use the View All Editions/Formats link to see a list of all editions and formats (includes annotations of revised editions, re-printings, etc). 


If you are willing to accept more than one edition, but maybe not all, you can use the Special Instructions field to tell us exactly which editions you are willing to accept. 

Articles and Other Copies: Open Access Version?

The Request Article or Other Copy form asks you if you will accept an open access version of this article.   

Screenshot of Open Access question on the ILL article request form

Many authors self-archive their work  in digital repositories, meaning that a version of the article is freely available online.  This version could be:

  • Pre-print (i.e. pre-refereeing)
  • Post-print (i.e. post-refereeing but not yet formatted by publisher)
  • Publisher's version/PDF


ILL staff may discover an open access version while processing your request.    

  • If you select YES, you're giving us permission to provide you with a URL for an open access version if we find one.    
  • If you select NO, we will try to acquire the article from another library.