Boston College Libraries Faculty Newsletter


FALL 2006

RAPID Delivery of Journal Articles to Your Desktop

Have you wondered how copies of articles from journals we don’t own at Boston College get to your desktop so fast? Or wondered what the interlibrary loan staff located in O’Neill and the Law Library do behind the scenes to fill your requests? They have many resources at their fingertips but are also continually examining new software and systems to make requesting easier and to decrease the turn around time for the article requests you make. One recent initiative undertaken to improve service is a membership in an organization called RAPID. The Boston College Libraries, together with colleagues in the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), began using RAPID for borrowing and lending journal articles in August. This unique resource sharing system is comprised of hardware, software, and a relational database located at Colorado State University's Morgan Library. A key component of RAPID is that participants agree to adhere to a 24-hour turnaround time when filling journal requests.


What Does This Mean to You?

You do not have to make any changes in the way you place requests. When a request is placed for a journal article through an online form and/or via Find It, or when you monitor your requests through your interlibrary loan account, you will see no difference. What you may see is a faster turn around time from when you request an item to when the item is sent to your email. All requests filled for you through RAPID must be sent electronically – no paper copies are sent snail mail in this system.


We began using RAPID in mid-August and will have to wait several months to see what all the positive effects may be. During the first 6 weeks use of RAPID, 701 requests were placed for Boston College users. The system automatically selects the library to fill your request so even if Boston University has the item, the request may go to Colorado State. It makes no difference since requests are filled electronically, using the Internet to transport the journal articles.

Boston College is participating in RAPID as a member of the BLC which includes Boston University, Brandeis University, Brown University, MIT, Tufts, University of Massachusetts/Amherst, Williams College, and others. RAPID membership also expands our reciprocal agreements to include other members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), including Columbia University, Cornell University, Notre Dame, Rutgers, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, a number of law libraries, and others.

The interlibrary loan staffs (in O’Neill and at the Law Library) already pride themselves on fast turn around time and excel in customer service - joining RAPID enhances their ability to continue this high level of service. Any questions you may have about RAPID or interlibrary loan in general can be sent to either or


Margie FielsMargie Fiels
Head, Access Services
O’Neill Library

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