paged partial collection AJAX

I have several places in my app where there is a collection with hundreds of
items to render. Paging in the usual sense (i.e., mislav-will_pagination)
does not make sense. I want to render them all, but the long response time
(often greater than 7 seconds) is not user-friendly. It occurs to me that I
can batch them, sending a batch with a bit of Javascript at the bottom to pull
in the next batch, repeat until done. Hopefully this will render each batch
in the browser as received making progress visible to the user. Has anything
like this already been written?

TIA,
  Jeffrey