Heyyyyyy, here's a post that takes a little bit of info about the Podcasts I've mentioned from time to time, and points out that enclosures (the bit of RSS that makes podcasts truly a new thing) can be used to deliver more than just mp3 files: Weblogg-ed - Using RSS Enclosures in Schools.
So why couldn't they be used to deliver scanned articles that have been requested via document delivery? Well, aside from the fact that in Canada we're not allowed to digitize stuff this way (grumble grumble). But you guys down South could experiment with this! So instead of Prospero sending you an email to tell you to come pick up your article, it would simply show up in your aggregator and be waiting for you on your computer. Sure, the email is already pretty convenient, but this would save one more step...
Let's see, it'd have to be an individual RSS feed for each student. I don't use Prospero, but I think each student has a profile in that system, so why not have an RSS feed in that profile, so when the document is ready, instead of an email, it just gets attached to that feed. Might need to make it an authenticated feed somehow to satisfy the copyright police. I'm pretty sure I've seen some applications that do this already.
OK, so it's geeky and probably only 1.74% of our distance students are using an enclosure-aware aggregator on a regular basis, but it's a neat idea, right? :-)