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Durham University

University Library

DRM Lite Electronic Article Delivery

DRM Lite is the electronic article delivery method British Library uses to send journal articles, book chapters and conference papers direct to you. When you receive your first article from British Library you will need to register for On Demand (see related links) and this password will be used to open all your future documents, enabling you to move and view them on any machine or device with internet access.

Software required. To receive DRM Lite articles you will need Adobe Reader version 10 or above and a British Library On Demand login and password. If your web browser has a built in pdf viewer then you will need to temporarily disable this to allow the document to open directly into Adobe Reader.

Electronic delivery is the standard delivery method for articles requested through the Document Delivery Service. After making the request you will receive an email from the British Library with a link to download the article you have requested. Electronic delivery is fast and because delivery is via email you can access the documents wherever you happen to be. DRM Lite locks documents to a person (rather than to a machine) so they can be moved, giving you even more flexibility to work how and where you like.

How it works:

  • Make your DDS request using the online request forms.
  • Check your email regularly. Articles will only be stored on the server at British Library for 30 days, so you need to save or print them before this time runs out.
  • When you open your first DRM Lite article you will need to register for British Library On Demand. Registration is quick and only has to be done once. When creating a username you are asked not to use ones containing an '@' symbol (such as an email address), usernames containing a mixture of letters and numbers (like your CIS username) would be fine. Give it a few minutes before opening your document as it could take up to five minutes for British Library to process your registration.
  • Click on download. If possible download the document via Internet Explorer which provides the option to save your document (other browsers may not). You will be asked for your On Demand login and password, this will lock the document to your account and you will be asked for these details each time you open the document. (The email link can be re-used for 30 days but we recommend you print or save the document as soon as possible.)
    • Adobe Reader will ask if you want to remember the login/password information: say NO if you are working on a shared or public computer where you might lock out other users.
    • If your web browser has a built in pdf viewer then you will need to temporarily disable this to allow the document to open directly into Adobe Reader (instructions for Goolgle Chrome are given in the problems tab on this page).
  • When downloading you have the choice to open and print the document, or save it to your device.
    • To read the article online (first 30 days only) select "open" to view it in Adobe Reader.
    • To print the article.
      • In Internet Explorer select "open" to open and view the document, and then click on the "print" icon.
      • In Google Chrome click on the pdf icon at the bottom left corner of the screen to open the document, and then click on the "print" icon.
    • To save the article
      • In Internet Explorer select "save as" when downloading the document to rename the file and save it somewhere convenient (the document is not saved automatically so you need to do this manually).
      • In Google Chrome right-click on the pdf icon (at the bottom left corner of the screen) and select "show in folder" which takes you to an automatically saved temporary copy. Open the folder and move the file to somewhere more permanent.
      • You will be able to view the document for up to 3 months, or 3 years depending on the publisher. The DRM Lite delivery system allows you to move the file and use it almost anywhere you want, the document is tied to your On Demand login, rather that the machine you first downloaded it on. (If you are not given the option to "save" when downloading or opening the document then try downloading it using a different web browser.)
  • You will receive a confirmation email from the Document Delivery Service when we hear that British Library has shipped the document. (This email is for information only.) If you pay for your DDS request then the charge will be added to your library record at this point. Click here to see if your department pays for your DDS requests.
  • To re-open the saved article. As long as you have internet access you will be able to view your article anywhere, just enter your On Demand login and password when asked.

Points to note:

  • Paper copies. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of an article then un-tick the box marked "Send me an electronic copy if possible" on the request form and choose where you want the hardcopy delivering.
  • Availability. DRM Lite electronic delivery is only available for articles supplied by the British Library. Articles from other libraries will be delivered electronically where possible but there may be occasions where we have to supply a hardcopy: when placing your DDS request please choose a convenient delivery address in case a paper copy is supplied (the default option is to hold the article at the Bill Bryson Library and we will email you if/when the paper copy arrives).
  • Spam/Junk mail. Emails from British Library will come addressed from and could be identified as junk mail by your email software. If you have not received the email from British Library by the time the confirmation email from DDS arrives, then check your junk and deleted items mail folders before contacting DDS staff.
  • Inbox size. If your email inbox is full then British Library will not be able to deliver the email to you.
  • Printing. Files can be large, so print longer documents (100+ pages) in sections.


If you have problems opening your document here are a few things to check:

  • First time user? Registration for On Demand is a two step process, so check to make sure that you have completed both parts: the initial registration and then activating the link in the email sent by British Library and completing the second half of the registration. Once the online forms are completed it might take up to 5 minutes for the British Library to process your registration, so if the system doesn't recognize your details then give it a couple more minutes and try again.
  • Do you already have a British Library Readers Pass account? If you do, then you may not receive the registration email which you need to activate your On Demand account. You can request an activation link by logging in to your On Demand account once you have completed the first part of the registration process. There will be a link in the top right corner to "new account activation link" which you can use to request the missing email.Use the link in the email to activate your account and complete the second part of the registration process.
  • Does your BL On Demand username contain an '@' symbol? Usernames containing an '@' symbol (like email addresses) can cause documents to fail to open. Select a username without an '@' symbol when registering.
  • Forgotten your On Demand username? Contact British Library for a reminder of your username.
  • Forgotten your On Demand password? Contact British Library to re-set your password. If you change your password then you can continue to access saved documents using your new password, but you may need to amend saved account information in Adobe Reader (see instructions under "are you on a shared computer?" below).
  • Are you on a shared computer? A previous user might have stored their BL On Demand password and locked you out.
    • To clear previously stored information in Adobe Reader: go to Edit>Preferences>Security and click and confirm the 'Clear remembered account' option, then try opening the document again.
  • Do you have Adobe Reader 10 or above? This is required on all devices to view documents. Documents will not open on any other PDF viewer.
  • Are you using Adobe Reader as your PDF viewer? Some browsers (like Google Chrome) use their own viewer so you need to disable them or paste the document web address into another web browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. Internet Explorer is the recommended browser to use as the "save" option is sometimes unavailable in other browsers.
    • Disabling the Google Chrome viewer: type 'chrome://plugins' into the address bar, scroll down to 'Chrome PDF viewer' and click 'disable'.
    • Apple users might prefer to use Safari rather than Google Chrome as their browser for mobile devices, but other browsers may work.
    • Microsoft Edge browser (used by Windows 10) will not give you the option to open the document in Adobe Reader: save the document instead. When you open the saved document you will be offered a range of tools to use to view the document: select Adobe Reader at this point and your DRM Lite document should open into Adobe Reader.
  • Is your device connected to the internet? Online access is required every time you open the document. If you are going to need access to an article and will not have internet access then print a hardcopy.
  • Are you trying to access this using a WiFi connection? The WiFi service has a limited capacity, so if you are using it in an area with poor reception, or using it at a busy time then your document might not connect successfully with the security software at British Library. Try opening the document using a direct internet connection, or try again later using WiFi.
  • Has the download link expired? The download link will work for 30 days from the date of the original email from British Library, so you must save or print a copy before this time elapses. After this date you would need to re-order the item so that a new scan can be created.
  • Save option is not available? Use the option to "save" or "save as" when downloading the document in Internet Explorer as the option to save is greyed out if you select "open" and view the document first. If you do not have the option to save either at the point of opening the document or when viewing the document then try using a different web browser.

If you have any other problems, or would like us to print the article for you, then please contact us at .