Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 3 March 2001
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epixtech Announces Open Source Licensing Plans for NISO CIP Engine

epixtech, Inc. has announced that it plans to offer open source licensing for its software to implement the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP). According to the announcement, this will eliminate the need for vendors to write the basic software that creates and handles the protocol's messaging. By using this piece, vendors will be able to focus their development efforts on building the appropriate responses to the messages into their circulation, resource-sharing systems, and other systems.

Although the draft of this new standard was just published in January, the functionality it promotes has long been a goal of libraries, according to the announcement. NCIP allows library circulation systems to communicate directly with one another via messages sent on the Internet, regardless of hardware platform and vendor. The four main categories of library activities that NCIP addresses are patron authentication, patron self-service circulation, circulation/
interlibrary loan interactions, and direct consortial borrowing (which is sometimes referred to as reciprocal borrowing).

With NCIP, libraries can share resources with other libraries in their community and beyond. Reciprocal borrowing agreements are more feasible because patrons can be registered once at their homelibrary and use the resources of many library systems without needing to re-register. During authentication, libraries are easily alerted to blocks, excessive overdues, and other problems that would prevent them from lending materials to the individual. Patrons may request an item during an online search of virtual catalogs or pull an item from a library's shelves to check out in person, using a "foreign" library card.

Lana Porter, president and CEO of epixtech, said: "We believe that NCIP will revolutionize the way the library staff performs many routine tasks. As a strong supporter of standards, we feel that this is an opportunity for our company to facilitate the kinds of changes our customers have been asking for. It also allows epixtech to share our expertise in both library automation and resource-sharing systems with other companies."

John Bodfish, epixtech's representative on the NCIP committee, said: "We believe that making this software available quickly will have a tremendous impact on the speed with which the library industry can implement the draft standard. The best use of a standard like this is to make it available in practical applications."

Source: epixtech, Inc., Provo, UT, 800/288-8020; http://www.epixtech.com.

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