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RapidILL Offers Fast Access to Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Thanks to Lehigh Libraries and the new RapidILL service, Lehigh students and faculty can obtain scholarly materials from other Libraries faster than ever -- often in a matter of hours!

Implemented at Lehigh in the Fall of 2012, RapidILL is an online, automated resource sharing system that provides rapid access to academic journal articles. RapidILL offers an average turnaround time of less than one day, compared to a previous standard of three days. Articles are delivered via email in PDF format. RapidILL is speedy,but it also offers nearly universal coverage (99%). Of 10,500 Lehigh RapidILL requests placed in 2013, only 82 articles were not available -- these were ordered via commercial means.

In the Fall of 2013, RapidILL added book chapters to its offerings. In the last six months of 2013, nearly 400 book chapters were requested by Lehigh researchers via interlibrary loan. Nearly 95% of these requests were filled through the RapidILL system and the average turnaround time was just 24 hours. One of the most intriguing possibilities with book chapters via RapidILL is the opportunity to access works that are otherwise 'non-circulating'.

RapidILL is cost-effective too! Its membership of peer libraries participate in article resource sharing through the Rapid system. RapidILL currently has over 200 member libraries - including some of the largest libraries in the world - and over 50 million unique, individual volumes available. The RapidILL membership, as a group, is both broad and powerful.

The RapidILL system is vendor neutral and works with any interlibrary loan system. For Lehigh researchers, that means there has been no major changes to the interface of interlibrary loan. Scholarly articles are still ordered and delivered in the same way, through the ILLiad online system. The big change rather, is the speed with which materials not owned by Lehigh Libraries can be obtained. RapidILL facilitates fast turnaround by utilizing a dynamic load-leveling system so that requests are distributed evenly between members.

RapidILL is a reciprocal system, so each Rapid member commits to a high level of service for filling requests. Also, there are no transaction fees within the system. RapidILL has been rated the most cost effective resource sharing system by the Association for Research Libraries (ARL).

Lehigh Libraries' interlibrary loan services are available online: Palci E-ZBorrow for Books and ILLiad for articles and book chapters. More information about the Libraries Interlibrary Loan service can be found here: https://illiad.lib.lehigh.edu/illiad/FAQ.html.