Information Today
Volume 19, Issue 5 — May 2002
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TLC Shares NCIP Exchange with epixtech, Announces System Installations

The Library Corporation (TLC) and epixtech, Inc. have announced the successful implementation of the industry's first NCIP (National Circulation Interchange Protocol) communication exchange between two different automation systems. According to the announcement, this will lead the way to sharing circulation information between automation systems from different vendors worldwide. TLC has also announced that both the Park City (Utah) Library and the Santa Ana (California) Public Library have adopted its Library•Solution system.

Mark Wilson, TLC chief scientist, and John Bodfish, epixtech technical architect, both members of NISO's Committee AT, tested the first NCIP communication exchange using open source toolkits. Wilson developed both TLC's "gencip" C++ toolkit and the test bed where the exchange occurred. Bodfish created epixtech's C++ and Java-based toolkit. According to the announcement, the successful exchange of messages or "NCIP Services" proves that the toolkits interoperate and that other vendors can choose to use either toolkit based on their programming preferences.

Wilson said: "This is a landmark event in the development and application of another great protocol in the library industry. We have the Z39.50 discovery protocol, the ISO ILL borrowing protocol, and now the NCIP circulation standard. NCIP supports message exchange in circulation and ILL transactions, self-service applications, direct consortial borrowing, and electronic resource access. TLC and epixtech are very proud to be a part of this great advancement in library technology."

Bodfish said: "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 NCIP is to make it available in practical applications."

In 1999, NISO's Committee AT began its work to develop a standard protocol for the exchange of circulation information. NCIP will undergo a year of implementation testing before it will be ready for general application in the library industry. With this protocol, patrons will no longer be restrained by the boundaries of differing automation platforms. Ultimately, the success of NCIP will be determined by how quickly other automation vendors adopt this "open system" technology.

Committee AT chair Patricia Stevens said, "This exchange of message represents a real milestone in the development of this protocol as it demonstrates real interoperability among circulation system providers."

Park City Library
According to the announcement, TLC's Library•Solution automation system will provide up-to-date information and reporting; a fully customizable Web interface; and integration of electronic resources, including files, images, and documents.

Linda Tillson, library director at Park City Library, said: "It is particularly important for our automation system to have the power to provide extensive reporting and an intuitive catalog, without the need for a new tech team. TLC's philosophy of 'you be the library, we'll be the tech staff' was a good fit for the Park City Library. Their outstanding customer service, combined with a customized solution, will provide a wealth of resources to advance and expand our circulation."

Santa Ana Public Library
Santa Ana Public Library, located in Southern California's Orange County, needed a library automation system that provides a customized Web catalog and online acquisitions processing with its current book vendors. The Library•Solution installation, which is scheduled to be completed by early summer, will include 80 technical workstations and 40 public access catalog stations, totaling 120 network stations.

The library serves a population base of 317,000 with holdings in excess of 400,000books and a yearly circulation of more than 830,000. Santa Ana Public Library also opted to integrate advanced TLC offerings that allow patrons to view book jackets and tables of contents from the library's Web site.

Source: The Library Corporation, Inwood, WV, 800/325-7759; and epixtech, Inc., Provo, UT, 808/288-8020;

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