Syracuse, NY (June 11, 1999)- Gaylord Information Systems (GIS) today announced that it has joined with Microsoft Corp. and other leading educational software vendors to further develop and implement the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) standards.
The SIF is an industry-supported technical specification for K-12 software. The goal of the SIF is to formalize data-sharing methods among applications, and to define how those applications interact. Participating software vendors work together to define a common format for school data, such as student demographics, attendance information, library information, and grades.
GIS elected to be an active participant in the Library Automation Working Group and the SIF Infrastructure Working Group. As the only Microsoft Certified Solutions Provider developing integrated, native-Windows NT library automation solutions, 015 brings a valuable perspective to the SIF. Bill Schickling, Vice President of Product Development at GIS, noted that participating in the SIF initiative allows GIS to share with other vendors its years of experience providing automation solutions to public schools. "We've been working with public schools for 25 years, so we understand the technology challenges they face. Our experience with data and systems has shown that cooperative efforts like the SIF translate immediately into more robust and flexible system functionality. Broad industry cooperation and adherence to standards in any market segment always benefit the consumer - in this case, the schools."
By following SIF standards, software solutions like GIS' award-winning Polaris integrated library system can more readily talk to each other and provide open access to data using Internet technologies. This is where Schickling feels GIS can contribute the most to the SIF. "We developed Polaris in direct adherence to Microsoft's Distributed InterNet Application architecture. The MCSEs [Microsoft Certified Solution Engineers] on our staff know how to exploit the latest Internet technologies - especially those developed by Microsoft. In working with the other SIF members, I think we can show that all Windows-compliant K-12 applications can be extended in an integrated, web-like environment," Schickling said.
GIS software engineers are currently reviewing the SIF specifications for opportunities to propose more interoperable and flexible frameworks. Based on its adherence to Microsoft's open-architecture standards, 015 engineers are confident that Polaris will meet all of the SIF standards developed to date. 015 has already successfully imported student registration data to a Polaris' SQL Server database at one of its academic sites. This allows the school to support a single location in which data needs to be updated - a primary goal of the SIF Library Automation Working Group.
Schickling said all schools considering a new library automation system should review the SlF specifications and press participating vendors for more information about their interoperability standards. "Schools require the absolute highest return on their technology investments. Student information systems should be able to share data with a library automation system as easily as business applications share data. The framework of the Windows NT and BackOffice infrastructure proves that interoperability is possible in all computing environments. It just takes a dedicated effort from the vendor to make the solution work for the customer," Schickling said.
GIS is not new to the standards community. The company has been a voting member of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) for more than fifteen years. Schickling has recently been named to the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol Committee tasked with drafting a national standard to define a protocol that supports circulation activities among independent library systems. The protocol will enable libraries running different systems to interoperate and share circulation information. Schickling commented, "Libraries will benefit from this standard because it provides for access to more resources. We are extremely close to realizing a global community of linked information resources - of schools borrowing and sharing across independent systems." Jim English, Ph.D., Manager of Technical Support Services at GIS, is also a voting NISO member.
GIS is the 25-year young library automation software division of Gaylord Bros., a leading supplier to the library industry for over a century. 015 also offers networking, conversion, and database enhancement services. For more information, visit www.gaylord.com/automation or contact GIS headquarters at 800-272-3414.