Secure Electronic Delivery (SED)

Please read these instructions carefully before attempting to open an SED document.

1. What is SED?

Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) allows journal articles ordered from the British Library to be delivered directly to your BSU email address.

To receive an SED document fill in the online order form to make an inter-library loan request for a journal article. If it is available from the British Library it will be delivered by SED.

However there are some occasions when items still need to be delivered in paper form. These include:

  • Articles which are not held by the British Library
  • Whole volumes of a journal title
  • Books

2. Software requirements

The article will be sent to you in the form of a link to an encrypted PDf document. In order to view this document you need to have installed:

More information is available on the FileOpen FAQs.

  • University open access computers
    Due to a problem with the software required by The British Library you will not be able to print SED documents from the thin client machines in the University. Please contact us if you do not have access to another computer to print your document and we will make other arrangements.
  • Google Chrome
    There is a known issue when downloading SED documents so the British Library recommends using another browser, such as Firefox.


3. Before you download an SED document

Before you attempt to open an SED document please check the following:

  • Check your computer has the right software installed
    We strongly recommend you download the test document available from the British Library's website. If you can successfully read their test document, you should be able to open your SED documents.
  • Printers
    Check your printer is switched on, connected to your computer, and has enough toner to print a multi-page journal article. As a final check, we recommend you print one copy of the British Library test document (see above) before trying to print your SED journal article.
  • Adobe Reader
    If you are using the latest version of Adobe Reader, you can only print your SED document if you adjust a setting.
    • Go to the Edit menu, Security (enhanced), and untick "Enable protected mode at startup".
  • Mac Users
    Note that you will need to set Adobe Reader as your default PDF viewer, instead of Preview. If you use Preview, the document will open as a blank page, in which case:

1. Save the file on your desktop

2. Go to your desktop, right click (Ctrl + click) on the file and choose to open in Adobe Reader.

In either case you must have FileOpen installed on your computer.
If you have it enabled, turn off your browser pop up blocker before downloading your document.

Follow these steps again every time you use a different computer to open SED documents from your email account.

4. Downloading SED documents

You will receive your SED documents in an email from

To open your documents:

  • Click on link which says 'Click here to download your document'.
  • Or, if the link doesn't work, try copying and pasting the full URL, given at the bottom of the email message, into your web browser.

We recommend that you open and print SED documents as soon as possible after you receive them. SED documents can only be opened on one computer and can only be printed once.

Please be aware that: 

  • You have 30 days to download the SED document from the date the email arrives.
  • Once opened on one device (computer, tablet or phone) an SED document will not open on another one.
  • You can only print your SED document once. It can only be printed from the same computer that you used to originally open it on.
  • You cannot copy and paste text from a document.
  • You can forward SED emails to a different email address as long as you haven't opened the link to the document.

Further help

Telephone: +44 (0)1225 875304

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