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Search Strategies: InterLibrary Loan

Accessing Books via InterLibrary Loan

The InterLibrary Loan request process is fully online and integrated with our CST/Worldcat Discovery catalog. Start by finding your item in the catalog. To find holdings outside of the CST Library, select "Libraries Worldwide" on the checklist to the left and then sort by "Relevance Only" in the drop-down menu on the right. Once you find the item in the catalog, click on the title to open the item record. Scroll down to the "Check Availability" section and click the "Request Item" button and fill out the form. Note that the Patron ID is the number found with the barcode on your library/student ID card.

Accessing Journal Articles via Interlibrary Loan

Journal articles and some individual book chapters can usually be found via ILL in the same way as books.

If you cannot find a specific article or chapter listed as a distinct item in the catalog, search for the larger work (the journal or book) in which the article or chapter appears. Click on the "Request Item" button for that larger work, but in the Notes field of the form be sure to provide a full bibliographic entry (APA, Chicago, or MLA) for the article or chapter, including the article/chapter author, title, and starting and ending page numbers. If this information is missing, the article or chapter request will be rejected and the person making the request will be instructed to fill out the form again.

Accessing InterLibrary Loan Off Campus

CST's InterLibrary Loan is available to local patrons only. If you do not live in Claremont or the Los Angeles/Inland Empire area, please see the information here.

Due to software issues, the ILL system may not function for patrons searching from off campus. If you are receiving an error message when you attempt to request items through ILL, wait until your next visit to campus, or email with as much information about the item as possible (title, author, publication date, publisher/journal, etc.).


The InterLibrary Loan department is available through email at Please contact ILL if you

  • are having problems with the ILL system
  • need to request a book or article without a WorldCat record (see the instructions below)
  • need to renew a book that you borrowed through ILL

Accessing Items Without WorldCat Records

Sometimes the specific item you are looking for may not have a record in the WorldCat system, either in the CST catalog or under Libraries Worldwide. However, before you determine that your item does not have a WorldCat record, try these strategies:

  • Make sure all of your search terms are spelled correctly. Authors' names can be particularly easy to misspell.
  • Double-check the "Libraries Worldwide" and "Sort by Relevance" settings. Sometimes these will reset with new searches. You can keep them from resetting by checking the "Keep Selections for Next Search" box on the left side of the catalog.
  • Search the author's last name with a few major and distinctive keywords from the title, excluding articles, particles, and prepositions. For example, if you were looking for Philip Clayton's recent book, How I Found God in Everyone and Everywhere, you might search for the phrase "clayton found god everyone everywhere" without the quotation marks.
  • Search for the author only. Type "au:" into the search box, followed by the author's first and last name, or the name under which the author usually publishes (e.g., "N. T. Wright," not "Tom Wright"). Do not include quotation marks. In the list that generates, click the name of the author (NOT the book title) in the first record where the correct name appears. Use the checkboxes in the left-hand column to narrow your search and find the item you're looking for.
  • Search for the title only. Type "ti:" into the search box without quotation marks, followed by the full title. Alternatively, search the full title inside quotation marks.
  • For books, find the item's ISBN through Amazon or Google, and search the catalog for the ISBN.
  • For articles, find the journal by searching ti: + the journal title, or the journal title in quotation marks. Click the "Access Journal" button, and navigate the journal's archives to find the article.

If you are unable to find the item using these strategies, send an email to with a full bibliographic entry, or as much information about the item as you have.