Ariel®—Document Delivery on the Internet

This activity is now closed. The information on this page is provided for historical purposes only. OCLC never operated Ariel. The Ariel software was sold by RLG to Infotrieve in 2003. 

In the late 1980s RLG's resource sharing community needed a better tool for rapid delivery of "nonreturnable" (copied) materials. At that time interlibrary loan staffs had numerous problems with fax technology—poor image quality, the cost of machines and telecommunications, the amount of preprocessing required to prepare a document for faxing (especially from bound volumes), and more.

We surveyed members and determined that the rising level of Internet connectivity, plus the growing affordability of scanners and laser printers, would enable us to develop a document transmission workstation that would be a new model for document delivery.

We took its name from the spirit Ariel in Shakespeare The Tempest, who replies when sent to do his master's bidding—"I drink the air before me, and return or ere your pulse beat twice."

In 1991 we released the first version of Ariel software to a small band of early adopters of this new delivery model. By 2003, when Infotrieve acquired the product from RLG to continue its support and accelerate new enhancements, Ariel had become a familiar tool in libraries and document supply centers around the world.