McHENRY, IL - March 15, 1999 - Follett Software Company has joined forces with Microsoft and other leading educational vendors to develop the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF). By enabling K-12 instructional and administrative software applications (e.g., student information systems, library systems, etc.) to interact and share data, the new framework will help alleviate inefficiencies in schools caused by disparate software solutions. The framework is planned for release this fall.
Approached by Microsoft to participate, Follett Software Company is a charter member of the SIF initiative. As such, Follett Software Company's software engineers played a key role in the development of the SIF, enabling the company to release SIF compatible versions of its widely used library automation software long before other vendors.
What Is the Schools Interoperability Framework?
The SIF is not a product, but rather an industry-supported technical blueprint for K-12 software. The SIF defines a common format for data (such as student demographics, attendance information, library information, grades and more) that needs to be shared among applications as well as how the software applications will interact with each other. By following standards, the SIF will enable disparate software solutions to talk to each other more easily and allow open access to data using Internet technologies. The new framework will:
- eliminate the need to re-key identical data for use in multiple software applications
- support one location in which data needs to be updated
- enable the sharing of data for easier ways to produce required reports at the district, state and federal levels
Software vendors must enhance their applications with the new standards in mind. Follett Software is already modifying its products to interoperate with the SIF, enabling its software to work with other school applications without re-keying data or importing and exporting of data files. This will save educators' time by enabling them to gather information from multiple applications with little effort. Tom Schenck, Follett Software Company President, explains, "If a school subscribes to the SIF and has our Circulation Plus for Windows system and a student information system such as NCS' SASIxp system, patron information added to the SASIxp system would almost instantly appear in Circulation Plus's Patron Maintenance - without any user intervention."
Follett Software Company began working on the prototype for the SIF initiative in 1998 with Microsoft, National Computer Systems (NCS) and SNAP Technologies. Many additional vendors have since joined the SIF effort. Microsoft's Bill Gates demonstrated Follett Software Company, NCS and SNAP software operating according to the SIF standard at the American Association of School Administrators conference held in February.
About Follett Software Company
Since 1985, Follett Software Company has provided school, public and special libraries with leading-edge library automation, Internet and curriculum resource software and services. Its Circulation Plus software, with more than 29,000 installations worldwide, is the number one selling library automation system in the K-12 marketplace. Follett Software Company is a division of Follett Corporation, and is headquartered in McHenry, IL. The company was recently ranked among the top ten largest software companies in Chicago. For additional information, call (800) 323-3397 or go to www.fsc.follett.com.