October 2015, London, UK. In a move that should be applauded by the industry, BIC and leading RFID and LMS suppliers from around the UK have been working over the last three years on a communication framework to replace the now dated Standard Interchange Protocol (SIP)2 protocol.
SIP2, an extension of SIP, allowed the interchange of data between systems to happen – predominantly between an LMS and a self-checkout unit. Originally released in 1993 by 3M Library Systems, the protocol soon became the de-facto standard in libraries, and has been tweaked ever since but is now considered (by some) to be stretched to its limit.
LCF is a modern framework, based on web protocols, that builds on the foundations that SIP2 laid in the early years. The framework continues support for all existing communications, but supplements the basics with a range of calls that not only allows self-service systems to communicate more efficiently with the LMS, but opens up bi-directional communication to a range of other devices – such as handheld inventory devices.
Supported officially by Book Industry Communications (BIC) and the suppliers and associations listed below, LCF is now the recommended framework for libraries seeking to ensure the interoperability of their solutions. Librarians should be looking to adopt LCF, and to ensure that their system providers (including LMS and RFID) are developing their products in support of the framework. This applies for libraries wishing to implement new systems, or upgrade current systems to take advantage of these new features.
RFID vendors confirming their support include:
- 3M Library Systems
- Intrepid Security and
- PSP Asset Protection.
LMS and system vendors confirming their support include:
- Insight Media
- SirsiDynix and
In addition, the framework is officially backed by BIC and the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP), with BIC providing the ongoing technical support and maintenance. In order to govern and facilitate LCF's development, BIC hosts 2 key LCF Groups: the LCF Review Group (charged with the marketing and promotion of the framework) and the LCF Technical Panel (charged with technical development, responding to requests for change, improvements to the framework)
Karina Luke, Executive Director for BIC commented "BIC is delighted to have been in the position to develop and support LCF from the beginning, but it is really the adoption by the UK suppliers that makes this initiative work. Without the breadth of suppliers that have joined the programme, it simply would not be possible for new frameworks to breath into life. Along with our fellow associations, we wholeheartedly recommend that libraries look to work with their suppliers to implement LCF and take advantage of the benefits it can offer".
The vendors listed above have either already implemented support for LCF in their systems or have committed to officially doing so before the end of Q1 2016. In addition, technical teams from each vendor continue to provide input both into the framework specification and into cross-supplier system testing to ensure compliance for their customers.
BIC is all about the book supply chain - both physical and digital, in retail and in libraries.
An independent organisation established in 1991, BIC focuses on efficiencies and best practice, training, events and communications in all sectors of the book world. At its heart are e-commerce and the generation and application of standard processes and procedures to help create a fast and efficient industry. Sponsored by The Booksellers Association, The British Library, The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and The Publishers Association, BIC is governed by both an Executive and Operational Board, comprised of members from across the entire book industry.