NCIP Standard (ILL Trends & Challenges)

NCIP is being used by some libraries using the MnLINK Gateway's interlibrary loan system. It is currently implemented with sites using the SirsiDynix integrated library system. We expect that it will be available to Innovative Interfaces locations soon via an NCIP Gateway that OCLC will put in place. Staff in libraries that are using this function have realized staff savings because of the automated updating that the standard allows for.

One standard that can assist in streamlining workflow is the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol – Z39.83, which allows a circulation system to "talk" to an interlibrary loan system. The messages that are exchanged between the two systems allow for updating the status of a transaction. The following update was recently sent out from the NCIP Implementers Group:

NCIP Implementers Group Update

NISO's NCIP Implementers Group has defined a core set of nine messages that is recommended for a minimal implementation of NCIP (ANSI/NISO Z39.83-2008, NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol, Parts 1 and 2). The NCIP standard addresses the need for interoperability among disparate circulation, interlibrary loan, and related applications.

NCIP – which was revised in 2008 to include greater extensibility and improved self-service and error handling – was conceived as a toolkit-style standard with no minimum requirement for compliance beyond the use of at least one of the 45 messages. This has led to confusion and an impression that NCIP is difficult to support. By defining a Core Message Set, the NCIP Implementers Group has provided a simple roadmap needed for a basic implementation. The group believes that the NCIP Core Messages support the majority of the current functionality for resource sharing and self-service applications. Responding applications need only implement this set of messages, which reduces the effort needed to become NCIP compliant. Initiating applications may still use additional messages, but the definition of a core set of messages will increase interoperability and enable librarians to expect support for a common baseline workflow.

The messages in the core set are: Accept Item, Cancel Request Item, Check In Item, Check Out Item, Lookup Item, Lookup User, Recall Item, Renew Item, and Request Item.

The NCIP Implementers Group, which has semiannual meetings and monthly conference calls to discuss maintenance and implementation issues, is also looking to update the NCIP website with additional resources, considering a move to a continuous maintenance model, creating a checklist to identify vendors who have implemented specific messages, and aims to streamline the profile template. The NCIP Maintenance Agency is EnvisionWare, led by Rob Walsh, President.

Librarians and vendors who wish to learn more about the NCIP Implementers Group are invited to contact Gail Wanner, Chair of the Implementers Group, at or visit the NCIP Implementation Group website.

The NCIP standard is available for free download from the NISO website.

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