About Rapid

RapidILL is a unique resource sharing system that was designed by the Interlibrary Loan staff at Colorado State University Libraries.

Following a devastating flood in July of 1997, RapidILL was developed to provide very fast, cost effective article requesting and delivery through Interlibrary Loan. RapidILL was designed by Interlibrary Loan staff for Interlibrary Loan staff.

RapidILL has 4 features that set it apart from other resource sharing systems.

  1. The software that runs the Rapid system was designed specifically for resource sharing. Among its many features are automatic processing, routing and load leveling.
  2. The holdings database is tailored to resource sharing needs. The database matches requests down to the year level.
  3. Every RapidILL library signs a contract that includes peer to peer service commitments. Service performance is closely monitored by Rapid staff.
  4. The innovative RapidX feature.

RapidILL is composed of groups of libraries referred to as ‘pods.’ Pods are created to support peer or consortium resource sharing.

The ARL pod is exclusive to ARL libraries.

Rapid’s Academic E pod is home to sites listed in the Carnegie Foundation’s “Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education” as ‘Very High’ (RU/VH) or ‘High’ (RU/H) research activity universities.

Rapid’s Academic I pod is home to libraries listed in the Carnegie Foundation’s “Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education” as DRU: Doctoral/Research Universities.

The Academic M pod is designed for libraries listed in the Carnegie Foundation’s “Classification of Institutions of Higher Education” document as ‘Large’ (L) Master’s degree granting institutions.

The Cosmo pod is open to all Rapid libraries that are eligible for one or more of the Academic Pods, and is one of the most popular pods.

The ASERL, Boston Library Consortium, ConnectNY, JULAC, Oberlin, PALCI, Prospector, SECAC and Taiwan pods are private pods open only to libraries participating in those groups.

We have participating libraries all over the world.

Please contact Rapid staff for a list of current participants

Yes! Your library is welcome to join all pods for which it meets the membership requirements and service expectations. There is no additional charge for multiple pod participation.

Participating in multiple pods is a free and easy way to expand your RapidILL resource sharing network.

Each library chooses which, if any, document suppliers to include in its Rapid supply line. This decision is encompassing and is not tailored to individual articles. Document suppliers are held to the same service expectation as other Rapid libraries.

The Center for Research Libraries, CISTI and Linda Hall Library are Rapid sites. Linda Hall Library supplies material to Rapid libraries at a reduced cost.

Yes! Rapid works with all of the major Interlibrary Loan management software packages including Clio, ILLiad, and Relais. No ILL management software? No problem, Rapid will work for you, too.

Rapid is ISO and XML compatible and performs automatic load leveling.

The majority of RapidILL’s cost savings are attributed to savings in staff time. For example, Rapid automates many borrowing tasks such as selecting lenders and verifying holdings and locations. In addition, Rapid now offers unmediated borrowing. After copyright clearance is completed, unmediated borrowing eliminates all staff intervention in sending requests. Your patrons’ requests are sent into Rapid even as the ILL staff sleeps!

Lending staff benefit by receiving requests only for material your library owns, and your library’s local call number and library location are embedded in each request. In addition, the RapidILL request number and borrowing library’s Ariel IP address are barcoded for fast and accurate updating.

RapidILL is the only system offering Easy-Lending! Easy-Lending frees staff to handle more complex task while Rapid automatically runs borrowing requests against a uniquely designed database of over 3 million open access articles. When a match is made the article is automatically sent to your library. There is no request to print, no pulling material from the shelf, no scanning, updating or reshelving. There is no staff intervention. The turnaround time for Easy Lending requests is 3-5 minutes!

Other savings are realized because there are: no searching or transactions charges within the Rapid system, and because of Rapid’s reciprocal lending policy, there are no invoicing costs.

The Rapid database is unique in several ways.

  • It is designed specifically for resource sharing activity. Only information essential to borrowing and lending material is maintained in the database.
  • The database is comprised only of the holdings of the participating Rapid libraries. Each library provides a holdings file to the Rapid programming team for inclusion in the database. you decide what material you will supply from, and if you want to block a specific collection or title.
  • The RapidILL database is unmatched in depth of indexing. Most ILL databases index only to the journal title level, but Rapid matches to the year level. When your borrowing request matches in the Rapid database you know that year of that title is held by a Rapid participant. Holdings are updated on a six-month cycle.

The RapidILL system automatically searches the database for you. You simply call the RapidILL client with one keystroke*. All of the searching and sending is done for you.

* Unmediated borrowing eliminates this keystroke.

There are several required fields to be supplied to the programming team. For example, journal title, ISSN and/or OCLC number, years held, etc. These fields are easily gleaned from your catalog and Rapid staff is available to answer questions.

It is very important that your library supplies all of your journal holdings, including electronic journals, for inclusion in the Rapid database.

Ejournals, or any other holdings, from which your library is unable to provide material can easily be blocked in the Rapid database. Blocking allows accurate identification of local holdings, but blocks requests for that material. You determine what your library can or cannot supply from. Blocking can be done by call number, standard number, library location, etc. Simply tell the Rapid staff what material is to be blocked and we take care of it for you.

Rapid staff is available and happy to answer your holdings questions at any time.

Absolutely! RapidILL is completely system neutral and works independently of your integrated library system. It doesn’t matter if your library uses Voyager, III, Dynix, etc., Rapid will work for you.

Each month RapidILL automatically posts your library’s Rapid statistics. Statistics include the number of requests submitted, number and percentage filled/unfilled, and the turnaround time for filled/unfilled. For easy comparison your statistics are posted next to the system average of the pods in which you participate. Statistics are displayed in table and spreadsheet formats and can be reviewed down to the article title level.

In addition, Rapid provides an informational Collection management function that returns the total number of requests your library queried, the number of those requests that matched against the Rapid database, the number of unmatched requests, and the number of requests identified as being for material held in your library’s collection. The Collection Management function can also return a list of the journal titles you supplied to other Rapid sites. The timeframe for Collection management information is self selected and you can easily access the information at any time.

You continue to produce any other reports, including copyright, as you do now.

RapidILL is transparent to your users; there is nothing new for them to learn or do. They will continue to make their ILL requests as they do now.

Since your patrons will continue to make their requests through your current system, RapidILL doesn’t authenticate. You’ve already done that!

Rapid training is done in two 60 minute phone calls. In addition, the Rapid user manuals are available online, and Rapid staff is happy to answer questions any time.

Rapid participants agree to provide 24 hour turnaround time (Monday-Friday) for lending requests. This is described as:

  1. locating and filling a request within 24 hours of receipt and,
  2. updating to unfilled or bad citation within 24 hours when a item cannot be located on the first retrieval attempt. Easy-Lending requests are usually filled within 5 minutes.

RapidX is the most innovative development in resource sharing in years. Conceived and developed by the Rapid team, we are proud to offer RapidX to our users.

RapidX eliminates the need for libraries to use Ariel or Odyssey for electronic delivery or receipt of incoming articles. If a library has the ability to create a .pdf, .tif or .tiff file in article request fulfillment, they will be able to easily deliver that article to any other Rapid site. In addition, the need for libraries to run both Ariel and Odyssey workstations is eliminated.

Using RapidX libraries simply upload the scanned article to the Rapid routing service. The Rapid system will update the request in Rapid to “filled” and send the article to the borrowing library using their preferred receiving method whether it be via Ariel, Odyssey, Relais or as a web-post.

Alternate delivery options such as FTP drop off and email are in development.

There is no additional cost for RapidX.

The Rapid system runs several listservs. Each consortium pod has its own Rapid list, while the ARL, Academic E and Academic I pods share the Rapid-L listserv. All of the lists are monitored and maintained by Rapid staff. The Rapid-L list is open to the public.

To subscribe to the Rapid listserv:

  1. Send an email message to: Rapid-L@Rapidill.org
  2. In the SUBJECT line type: subscribe
  3. Leave the body of the message blank. If you use an automatic signature file, please erase it.

(To unsubscribe, follow the instructions above, but substitute the word unsubscribe for subscribe.)

If you are a Rapid member, login and use our Email List Subscription management page.

That’s an easy question and it has been an almost universal issue. The most difficult aspect of RapidILL for people to understand is: “That’s really all there is.” RapidILL is so simple to install and use that most libraries keep waiting for ‘the other shoe to drop’ expecting the process to be difficult or cumbersome when it simply is not.

Contact the Rapid team at: RapidStaff@RapidILL.org.

Also remember to visit our website at RapidILL.org for announcements and updated information.