I have a reference list/curriculum vitae/systematic review containing a large number of citations. Can the library retrieve or request PDFs on my behalf?


Bulk retrieval of PDF files based on a list of citations is not a service provided by the library. 

However, we are happy to schedule a call or meeting to review your PDF retrieval workflow and offer support and suggestions on the best way to tackle the task. To request an appointment, please fill out our Ask a Question form. 

We can also offer the following general suggestions for patrons trying to quickly retrieve large numbers of PDFs in the most efficient way possible. Please review this list before contacting the library to schedule an appointment.

Step one: Search for immediately available PDFs from Rush's subscriptions and high-profile open access journals.

The full text of articles covered by Rush's subscriptions and high-quality open access publications can be accessed via Primo, the library's catalog and discovery service. This is a good choice for a first pass to retrieve PDFs covered by Rush's subscriptions.

  • Whenever possible, search with a unique identifier like a DOI or PMID. This can simply be pasted into the search box. 
  • If a unique identifier is unavailable, searching for the article title will often yield the article as the top result.
  • In cases where a unique identifier is unavailable and the title search fails or returns too many results because it is short or composed of common phrases, a more complex search query (for example, using a journal title or ISSN, volume, issue, and page number) can be entered into Primo's Citation Linker
  • Once you have located the article in Primo, you will either be offered a link to the full text or a link to request the article via ILLiad, Rush's online interlibrary loan system. In this context, seeing a link to ILLiad reliably indicates that the article is not available through Rush's subscriptions. At this point, download available PDFs, but hold ILLiad requests until step three. 

Step two: Search for free and open access content in Google Scholar.

Primo does not provide links to the full text of every possible free/open access article. Before placing ILLiad requests for articles which do not have a full text link in Primo, it's a good idea to check Google Scholar. 

Refer to the library's guide to using Google Scholar for tips.

Step three: Place requests for unavailable articles using interlibrary loan (ILLiad).

For articles which are neither free/OA nor available from Rush, place interlibrary loan requests via ILLiad. Requests placed via ILLiad can take several days, so it should only be used when all other options have been exhausted. 

  • The most efficient way to place interlibrary loan requests is to locate the item in Primo and use the "Request PDF via ILLiad" link; you may have already located this link in step one. This link will take you to ILLiad and fill out the appropriate request form. All you need to do is review the automatically entered citation information and click Submit. 
  • When an item cannot be found in Primo or Scholar, the ILLiad request form can be filled in manually. Go to Rush's ILLiad site, sign in, and select the appropriate option from the New Request menu. Fill in the citation data as completely as possible and click Submit.
  • Our interlibrary loan staff will cancel requests for materials in languages other than English unless they have specific instructions to do so. If you believe an item will not have an English version and you still wish to request it, be sure to choose "Yes" when 
  • ILLiad only permits ten active requests at any time. If you expect to request more than ten articles in one session, contact us at library@rush.edu to have this limit lifted for the duration of your project. 
  • In addition to content not covered by Rush's subscriptions, ILLiad can be used to request scans of articles and book chapters held in Rush's print collection. 
  • More information on using ILLiad can be found in our Borrowing Guide and FAQs.

Special cases

I'm more comfortable using PubMed (or another abstract and citation database), and I'm not familiar with Primo. Can I use it for Step One? 

If you are more comfortable constructing searches in another abstract and citation database (Scopus or Ovid, for example), you can conduct your searches there and use the green Get It button to return to Primo and retrieve the full text. The Get It button will be present on the abstract page of any database linked on the library's home page. Contact us at library@rush.edu if you have any questions about using the Get It button. 

Can I use Google Scholar for both free/OA content and content available via Rush's subscriptions, combining steps one and two?

Ultimately, this is a matter of personal preference. Even when configured to provide links to Rush, Google Scholar tends to require one or two more clicks to reach the PDF in cases where Rush does subscribe, and there may be a slightly greater possibility of a false negatives when using Scholar's less structured search. However, in cases where the majority of content is free/OA and the operator is comfortable accessing Rush's subscriptions through Scholar, it may make sense to begin in Scholar rather than Primo. If you choose to use Google Scholar, make sure you reach it by following a link on the library's home page so that it connects to our subscriptions.

I was able to find the full text of a citation through Rush, but it only contains an abstract. What's going on? 

Many reference lists and CVs contain citations referring to conference abstracts and other materials that have the same general form of a research article but may be much shorter, or may simply be an abstract (lacking the expected sections that make up a paper's "body"). If you encounter a citation that appears to lead to an abstract without the expected full text, but are not prompted to purchase access, check for the following to determine whether you should invest further time and effort in attempting to locate or request the full text.

Was the article published in a supplemental issue of a society's journal, an "abstract book," or the proceedings of an annual meeting or conference?

Is the article described as a conference or meeting abstract, a poster presentation, or does it refer to a themed conference session?

If any of these are the case, it's likely that the abstract is all that exists. 

  • Last Updated Mar 22, 2024
  • Views 5
  • Answered By Peter Tubbs

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 0 0