Retrieving online and hard copy documents


Once you have found literature relevant to your research question and established its authority, you may need help locating, downloading and storing the documents. This section will consider how to find books, use ebooks, find the full-text of an article, and if QUT does not hold an item submit a request through document delivery (QUT students only) to obtain the item.

Books (print)

For physical items including books, a call number is used to locate the item on the library shelves.

See Find an item on the shelf for help locating physical books in QUT Library.

If you can't find an item on the shelf, ask staff at the HiQ service points. If the item you require is at another campus, on loan to someone else, or in Library Store then Place a hold to request the item. The item will be delivered to you at the campus of your choice. You will receive an email when the item is ready for collection.


Many library eBooks can be "borrowed" or downloaded to your mobile device, tablet or computer for a specified period of time. Note:

  • loan periods vary - please check the interface before downloading
  • some eBooks have limited simultaneous downloads (e.g. only one person can download at a time)
  • some eBook collections require you to register for an individual account before downloading (e.g. EBSCOhost eBooks), however in most cases you can still read the eBook online without registration

To enhance your eBook experiences download the necessary software onto your computer and mobile devices:

  • Adobe Digital Editions enables the download of QUT eBooks onto your computer. These books are only 'borrowed', not yours to keep. So you will need to renew the download after a set number of days (usually 1-14 days). As well as downloading Adobe Digital Editions, you need to get an Adobe ID and Password to authorise your computer. This allows Adobe to recognise that you are a legitimate borrower at a registered organisation.

QUT Library has a guide to help you get started with eBooks.

Activity – Successfully access an eBook

  1. Go to Advanced Search in Library Search.
  2. Enter your search terms (HINT: limit to 'subject or title' to get more relevant results).
  3. Limit search by Format. Pick 'Books' from the drop-down menu.
  4. Under 'filter your results' on the left side of the results page, select 'available online' under the 'show only' filter
  5. Choose an eBook from the results to download.
  6. Click the link under 'view it' to access the eBook.
  7. Read or download according to the QUT Library eBook guide.

Article full text

Many library databases include a majority of articles in full text. Click on 'full text online' in the database entry and click 'Read Article'. You will have to authenticate using your QUT username and password to access full text journal articles. Now that you are linked to the publisher's website, look for 'full text' with a PDF icon to download the article from the website to your computer.

If full text is not available for a journal article, look for a link: 'find full text'. Clicking the QUT Fulltext Finder button QUT Fulltext Finder performs a quick search for this article across other QUT databases. Fulltext Finder suggests other articles that may be useful - look for the PDF and click to download.

Document delivery

QUT may not have a digital or physical copy of the item you require. As a QUT researcher, you have access to the QUT Library Document Delivery Service, which sources articles, conference papers, book chapters, books, theses and other formats of documents currently unavailable in the QUT Library collection.

You may receive PDF versions via email within four days of a document delivery request. Document Delivery also supplies books, videos and other formats of literature to postgraduate students and researchers.

It is good practice to look at other theses, and Document Delivery can help you locate these, but here are a few things that can help:

  • check ProQuest Dissertations first
  • check Ethos (for British theses) - you can register for free if you wish to access any digitised thesis
  • non digitised theses might take up to 6 weeks to obtain
  • some theses have author embargoes and we cannot supply them.

Watch the video: Document Delivery (YouTube video, 2m57s)

Purchasing research resources

If you need to use a resource that QUT Library doesn't hold for an extended period of time, rather than borrowing it from another library you can ask your Liaison Librarian to purchase a copy for the collection. To request a purchase send details of the item via email to your Liaison Librarian.