We're in Beta. Schedule a time to get demos / help with setup. Please report problems if you find them.

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Interlibrary loans: Submission (1/3)

InstantILL uses your existing Interlibrary Loan systems to manage authentication, fulfillment, and payment, or can submit to an email address.

What is your ILL article form link?

Or submit over email

If everything works, hit next! If it doesn’t, see advanced settings.

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Interlibrary loan: Input (2/3)

Now that you can submit article requests, you can adjust some key details about loans. Everything is optional, and we’ve set common defaults. In this section, we'll adjust what users see before they submit.

What is the name of your institution?

What email address do you want users referred to if there is a problem?

We use 'article' to refer to academic journal publications by default. Would you like to change that?

Yes, use 'paper' instead.

Where do you want people sent if they want a book?

Where do you want people sent if they want something other than a book or article?

If you want patrons want to learn details about Interlibrary Loan services, where can they find that?

This helps keep the page you embed InstantILL on clean and tidy while still making sure interested patrons can learn about ILL

If you want to allow users to view their account and outstanding loans, let us know where they can do that.

This helps keep the page you embed InstantILL on clean and tidy while allowing users to manage their accounts.

If you want people to still be able to submit ILLs manually, let us know how they can do that.

This helps make sure people who liked the old way of doing things still can

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Interlibrary loan: Results (3/3)

Now that you can submit article requests, you can adjust some key details about loans. Everything is optional, and we’ve set common defaults. In this section, we'll adjust what patrons see for results.

What do your article ILLs cost?

Please include your currency symbol e.g $4

How long do your article ILLs take to deliver on average?

Please include the unit e.g 24 hours

If we find an article Open Access, do you want to let patrons request an ILL?


If we find that you're subscribed to an article, do you still want patrons to be able to request an ILL?


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Interlibrary loan: Advanced

InstantILL uses your existing Interlibrary Loan systems to manage authentication, fulfillment, and payment, or can submit to an email address.

Add any additional params your base URL needs, such as a=b&c=d

Add the param used to provide a service ID (which will be InstantILL)


Journal title










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Interlibrary loans: Submission (1/2)

InstantILL uses your existing Interlibrary Loan systems to manage authentication, fulfillment, and payment, or can submit to an email address.

What email address do you want ILLs sent to? (optional for email alternative)

If you use Worldshare, inside our notifications we can provide direct links to journals to save you time. Just let us know your WMS URL.

Terms and conditions link

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We use your link resolver to understand what you do and don’t have access to. Then, we figure out the best link and send your patrons to it through your proxy.

What is your link resolver URL?

Examples include: http://rx8kl6yf4x.search.serialssolutions.com, https://cricksfx.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com. Add another

What is the DOI of an article you definitely have access to, which can be used for testing?

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Website & Brand

InstantILL can be integrated onto any webpage on your website, and blend in with your brand.

To do that you can follow these simple instructions or send these to your developers.

First, include the following in the source code (HTML) of your page:

<script src="https://openaccessbutton.org/static/instantill.js"></script><script>instantill();</script>
<div id="instantill"></div>

You can control where the search widget gets displayed by moving:

<div id="instantill"></div>

If you don’t think it’s styled corrected, a developer can help you. If you have one, great, if not reach out.

You should now be good to go!

We suggest:

  • Calling your page ‘Get a paper’
  • Not mentioning 'InstantILL' to patrons
  • Not putting anything above InstantILL (except a page title)

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Discovery tools

To ensure users never need to re-enter their search across different systems you can link to InstantILL from any library system to integrate it into your existing workflows, say from library search or a link resolver.

If everything works, hit next! If it doesn’t, see advanced settings

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Workflow: advanced

It will run automatically on the embedded page if it sees any of the following parameters in the URL: 'doi','title','url','atitle','rft_id','journal','issn','year','author'.

If you're only linking to InstantILL in the middle of a workflow, you may not want the instructions to show.

The instructions are what appear above InstantILLs search box

Don't show

You can completely turn off this feature too.

Turn off

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Once you're all set up, and you know it's working, it's time to put InstantILL in patron's hands.

Have you rolled it out?

Only click this around when you rollout InstantILL to patrons. This helps us support you best, track your stats, and understand how we're doing.


Activate pilot mode?

Pilot mode makes it easy to rollout a pilot. Patrons will know why you're trying something new, be able to give feedback and go back to old way. We'll also track the performance of your pilot, and you can ask us to let you know.


Can others contact you to find out about InstantILL?

Yes, sign me up!

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We can provide anonymized analytics detailing your use of InstantILL. We can tell you:

  • How many searches have been made
  • How often we delivered subscribed materials
  • How often we delivered open access materials
  • How many ILL's were made
  • How often ILL's could be automated from our metadata
  • How often we returned an incorrect paper

Since this is not essential to delivering an excellent service to patrons, we only provide this to libraries who support our work through our leadership tier or who are piloting. To find our more, go here.

If you're on our leadership tier, or in pilot mode, and would like a report email Joe@openaccessbutton.org.

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These aren't needed for normal InstantILL set ups, but you may still be useful.


You can integrate with InstantILL using APIs. For example, you can reteive all the ILLs made through your embed, or use individual features (e.g OA finding, metadata retreival).

Full documentation on how to do this can be found here.

Making your ILL form work well with InstantILL

InstantILL is designed to work with your standard form. However, you can improve the user experience by changing it. We suggest passing as much data in the background (not in user visible fields) and treating the page as a confirmation form. We’d like to provide examples of this in various systems, so if you do this and can share your code please send it to us.

Multiple Accounts

You can have as many InstantILL accounts as you need. This can be helpful for embedding InstantILL into different places (e.g homepage, link resolver, ILL page) with different settings.

Emails to Authors

To lower the cost of Interlibrary Loan, and make more articles freely available to everyone, when ILLs are submitted through InstantILL we reach out to the authors of those articles to ask them to make them Open Access.

We do this on your behalf, as we have done for years for users of the Open Access Button. The current text of emails we send can be found here.

To protect patron privacy, we won't:

  • Include patron names, or details, in emails (we don't even know them!)
  • Contact authors several times from the same institution within three months
  • Contact authors at the same institution as it's being sent from

If you have any questions or concerns about this, you can email us.

If you'd prefer we didn't make work Open Access on your behalf, you can do that below.

Do not generate Open Access Button requests


You need to be logged in to set up InstantILL. It only takes a moment.


We use your email to contact you about InstantILL, and ensure only you can access your settings.



1. How, generally, does InstantILL work?

2. What systems do you work with?

3. How do you find my subscriptions?

4. How do you find Open Access?

5. How do you find article metadata?

6. How do you submit ILLs?

7. How much OA can I expect to find?

8. How do you decide what links to Open Access / Subscriptions to provide?

9. Where do I put InstantILL?

10. How can I be sure InstantILL is sustainable?

11. Who's using InstantILL?

12. What's on the roadmap?

13. Can I alter the text of InstantILL?

14. Is InstantILL a link resolver?

15. How do you handle our patrons data?

1. How, generally, does InstantILL work?

A brief overview can be found here. A deeper dive can be found here.

2. What systems do you work with?

See the compatibility list.

3. How do you find my subscriptions?

Our goal is to find what you have subscribed to and be able to direct users on or off campus to a full-text link.

We understand your holdings by integrating with your link resolver. If it says you have access, we tell the patron that you do, and we provide them with the link. This means that you handle authentication, you don't have another system to maintain, and only you know what your patron is accessing. To set this up, all we need is your link resolver URL.

4. How do you find Open Access?

Sometimes, patrons need help finding an accessible copy. If there is an open access copy, we'll use the Open Access Button API to give immediate access and provide clear instructions on how it can and can't be used. We've been pioneers in discovering and delivering open access copies, and our content comes only from legal aggregators such as Unpaywall, DOAJ, and many more.

Our sources include all of the aggregated repositories in the world, hybrid articles, open access journals, and those on authors' personal pages. We don't use content from ResearchGate or Academia.edu.

5. How do you find article metadata?

Our goal is to identify, from reliable sources, metadata about articles so we can give ILL teams (and other services) everything they need to know. We do that using a similar approach and sources that we use for finding Open Access, plus Crossref.

6. How do you submit ILLs?

Our goal is to streamline the submission of your ILL forms without you needing to change systems or do complex integrations.

InstantILL works with your existing ILL systems to create requests in one of three ways. The primary method is to use a flexible OpenURL (or URL parameters, where article information is communicated through the URL), commonly supported in library systems, to send patrons to your existing ILL form with all the required fields filled out for confirmation. This means your existing ILL system handles login, submission, payment, and fulfillment, and as we never want to handle your patrons' information. If your patrons submit requests via email instead of a form, InstantILL can submit requests to any email address. Lastly, we provide a free, documented API that your technical staff can use to integrate with your ILL system.

Soon, we hope to do deep integrations over APIs with ILL systems to enable users to submit requests directly through our streamlined UI.

7. How much OA can I expect to find?

In short, an increasing amount. It depends on what your patrons read, what you subscribe to, and how you configure your systems to access the content. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. We've seen as high as 23% and as low as 5%. We consider 10% to be a reasonable guess, and we built OAsheets so you can get an exact answer. However, what we know is that more and more articles will be Open Access, so this is increasingly important to take into account.

8. How do you decide what links to Open Access / Subscriptions to provide?


If we find you have subscribed access to something, we'll provide that even if we find an open access version. With both subscribed and open access content, we try to provide links directly to full text (i.e. avoiding splash pages).

9. Where do I put InstantILL?

Wherever you want your Interlibrary Loan form. Anywhere you can put a couple of lines of code InstantILL can be integrated. This means it can be put:

  • On your ILL information pages
  • Inside your current ILL system
  • Inside your library search
  • On a link resolver page
  • On an alternative access page
  • Into the middle of a workflow (e.g. Link resolver to ILL form)

And more.

10. How can I be sure InstantILL is sustainable?

A focus on sustainability is essential for open-source community-owned projects, and it's something that we have given a lot of thought to. While we keep a version of InstantILL free for anyone to use in order to serve our mission, we offer a paid service and strongly recommend that institutions concerned about the sustainability of the tool pay to ensure it is. Details of what you'll get in return can be found at InstantILL.org/leadership. Even for those who pay, we're committed to creating more cost savings for institutions than we request back in financial support.

If we're not able to sustain the tool, then our contingency and succession plan will come into effect.

11. Who's using InstantILL?

We partnered with IUPUI to be the first to rollout InstantILL. In late 2019, we started a beta where others could implement it. With over 400 institutions on the waiting list for InstantILL, we expect many campuses to be using it soon.

Soon, we'll have examples for you to see and people you can contact to discuss experiences with InstantILL.

12. What's on the roadmap?

We're continuing to build out features from your requests and user feedback — for example, supporting purchase on demand, using InstantILL as a replacement for link resolvers/library search, and enabling InstantILL to help authors make their work open access. You can track what we're planning on Github, where we openly discuss issues and enhancements to make.

13. Can I alter the text of InstantILL?

The goal of InstantILL's copy is to succinctly and simply explain to an end-user how to use the tool, while ensuring users understand what they're receiving. To this end, we work with experts in website copywriting and librarians, we test directly with users (through user testing), and we review real usage data. This means any sentence you see in InstantILL has likely undergone dozens of revisions and benefits from hours of real work testing. This often results in counter-intuitive results, but ones that work.

Copy is automatically customized to meet major use cases (e.g placement on front pages, link resolvers, ILL forms, etc.), significant settings changes (e.g enabling forms for books, changing ILL price and delivery times), and regional differences.

Generally, we don't allow individual libraries to further customize copy for their version given the above process helping ensure high quality and consistent copy for users while ensuring we can build and maintain InstantILL for a broad audience at a low cost without individual libraries needing to manage updates. However, we gratefully accept feedback and suggestions, and where we see strong ideas or frequent issues, we'll ensure they're resolved through the process above.

If you want deeply customized copy, you're welcome to use our APIs and code to replicate the functionality with your own preferences.

14. Is InstantILL a link resolver?

InstantILL is a next generation Interlibrary Loan form with a strong focus on excellent user interfaces and experience. It delivers accessible content immediately, while streamlining Interlibrary Loan requesting and management. As we speak with the library community we're hearing that it feels similar to a link resolver, and we're exploring if there is a strong desire to actively cultivate that.

Currently, we don't consider InstantILL a fully fledged link resolver because it can't directly manage what you do or don't subscribe to. We use your existing Link Resolver for that. However, we can:

  • Be integrated into databases via OpenURL
  • Streamline access to research articles through subscriptions, Open Access, and interlibrary loan
  • Provide a new user interface for your current link resolver
  • Be placed between your current link resolver and ILL form to ensure patrons don't submit ILL requests for available content.

15. How do you protect our patrons' privacy?

We value, and are strong advocates for, privacy. We don't want your patrons' data, and so we build products and business models that don't rely on collecting it.

Whenever possible, we try not to collect data on who's using InstantILL, for example we rely on your authentication systems to log patrons in. The one exception to this is when ILLs are submitted over email, where we ask for a patron's email so the library can contact them.

Analytics provided through InstantILL only give aggregated figures on how many searches have been done, and what their outcome was.

You can find more in our privacy policy, and terms of use. If you have concerns, let us know.

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Not got your quesiton answered?

Drop Joe@openaccessbutton.org an email.

Think you've found an issue?

Report it here.


Supported systems


  • ILLiad
  • Relais ILL
  • Tipasa
  • Worldshare
  • Email


  • Serial Solutions
  • EBSCO Full Text Finder
  • SFX

Soon to be supported systems

  • Primo
  • Alma
  • I don't see my system...

    That doesn't mean InstantILL won't work for you! InstantILL can submit ILL's to most systems that can fill forms with OpenURL. Even if not all the integrations work, that mean InstantILL can't still provide significant value.

    If you find your system works, let us know, and we'll add it to supported systems.

    Our hope is that InstantILL will support all major, or open, library systems.