The problem

Where interlibrary loan requests cannot be satisfied immediately by
the supplying library, a response is required in order to inform the
requesting library of the reason for non-supply.

Often, the responding library uses a set of standardised responses
consisting of phrases or comments written in their own language. Many
different sets of responses are in use around the world, and the same
response may be written in many different ways, and of course in many
different languages. The use of different languages or even alphabets
can result in the requesting library not being able to understand the
response given.

It is important that the requesting library fully understands the
reason for non-supply, and the use of coded replies not based on
natural language is one way in which the language barrier can be

The solution

The IFLA Office for Universal Availability of Publications (UAP) and
International Lending was asked to create a comprehensive list of
responses which might be given in response to interlibrary loan
requests. A code, not reliant on natural language, would then be
assigned to each response, in order that they are understood by all and
used internationally. The use of a single list of codes will help to
overcome the language barrier to effective interlending and document

To create the comprehensive list, existing response codes were
studied and compared, and the opinions of interlibrary loan librarians
sought and analysed. There was a good response from colleagues
worldwide with very useful and relevant information coming from the
USA, UK, Estonia, Macedonia, Sweden, Denmark and Russia. The response
codes used by the British Library Document Supply Centre and the ISO
ILL Protocol were also consulted.

When the different response code lists were compared it became
apparent that many of the responses were common to them all, although
they may be expressed differently. Some codes used are unique
especially if the library using them specialises in certain materials.


The IFLA list of recommended response codes for interlibrary loans
has 28 responses which will allow libraries to communicate their
information in a precise and standard format. The plan now is to offer
the list of response codes in many different languages, beginning with
the five IFLA languages. We would be delighted to hear from anyone who
is able to translate the list of coded responses into their own
language, in order to extend the usefulness of the list, and to support
effective international interlibrary loan.

Comments or feedback on the use of the IFLA List of Response Codes should be sent to

The Codes

To view a complete list of the ILL Response Codes in another language,
please click on one of the languages listed here. To obtain a translation
of one of the numeric codes, please click on the code in the English table



Group Code Message
A. Not yet
1 In Process, the item has been received but is not yet ready for use
  2 The item is on order, but has not yet been received
  3 Title owned but requested part/issue not yet received
B. Held but
not for supply
4 The item requested is currently on loan or in use by a reader
  5 The item is at bindery
  6 The item is on course reserve and not available for loan
C. Held but
not for supply
7 The item has been lost from stock
  8 The item is non-circulating (we hold the item but it is not available for loan)
  9 The item is missing from stock, but may be available in the future.
  10 The item can not be loaned because it is damaged and/or in poor physical condition
  11 Copyright regulations do not permit this item to be copied
D. Not held 12 The title or item is not held
  13 The part required is not held
  14 Item not held, Name and address of a potential supplier to follow
E. Conditions
of supply
Financial 15 The cost of the ILL is greater than the maximum cost indicated on the request form. If this cost is acceptable, please reapply.
  16 Payment required before ILL request is processed
Time 17 Being processed for supply
  18 Preferred delivery time not possible
Delivery 19 Request does not include indication of copyright compliance
  20 Unable to send via the type of delivery method requested
  21 Client signature required
Use 22 The supplied item may only be used within the requesting library
  23 Supplied item only to be used under the supervision of a librarian and/or in the special collections department
  24 Supplied item not to be photocopied and/or reproduced
F. Not found 25 Unable to trace the item with the information quoted. Please check your reference
  26 No locations have been found
G. Others 27 Other
  28 Library closed