SIP and NCIP Standards Development
SIP is the standard interface protocol that is supported by many vendors for library circulation. It was developed originally to support the 3M SelfCheck System, which allows library users to check their materials in and out themselves. We developed SIP to be a common protocol, published it as a public, open standard, and encouraged library automation vendors to use it in an effort to promote interoperability.
Customers of our self-service products would often require their ILS vendor to support SIP and it quickly became a defacto standard. It’s still in use today, even though the NISO NCIP standard has been released.
NCIP Standard Develo2pment
3M was a major participant in the nCip standard development. We saw the opportunity to take our defacto standard, SIP, and build on it with the NISO community to create a consensus standard that was broader in scope than SIP. 3M currently supports both SIP and NCIP in its products; we’ve had NCIP 1.0 implemented for over two years.
Version 2 of NCIP, which was published in 2008, incorporates more capability for the self-service areas where vendors are still using SIP. We plan to support the new version of NCIP and we continue to participate on the NCIP Implementers Group. The Group is actively promoting the adoption of NCIP 2.0 by library equipment and ILS vendors.
3M Standards Development
Outside the library industry, 3M is heavily involved in standards development in every area we have products, from consumer to aerospace. We also work with various industries to promote standards. We like to work though organizations like NISO so we can collaborate with others.
We participated in NISO’s RFID Working Group and on the ISO working group developing the International Standard for RFID in libraries, which will hopefully become the umbrella standard that closes the gap for RFID standards . Once vendors, such as ourselves, implement this standard, libraries will have assurance that their systems will be able to read tags from partner libraries when they inter-borrow, and also that their investments will be secure over time despite equipment and vendor changes.
Industry Standards & Development
At 3M, standards are pervasive in everything we do. The factory where our products are made is ISO 9000 certified. We use test standards extensively to ensure safety and product quality. For example, we test our RFID products as a system for electromagnetic compatibility to prevent interference and to meet FCC regulations. We even have a special department at 3M to guide developers through their testing of products. We know both durability and longevity are important and we do accelerated aging tests in our specialized laboratory so our customers can have confidence that our RFID tags will be reliable and will last as long as the items to which they are attached.
We also use standards in our software development, from ANSI standards for coding, to ISO standards on currencies and date formatting, to IEEE standards for the software development process. Our customers’ health and safety are a number one concern.
Standards provide us with flexibility, interoperability, and the ability to differentiate ourselves and to be competitive. Standards help grow the market and provide competitive opportunities because they give the customer greater vendor independence in the selection of compliant products. The customer is the real beneficiary of standards. They can be confident their investments will have lasting value and work with other products—not only those products they have now but also those they might buy in the future.
We are responsible for making products that live up to the 3M brand reputation and have longevity. Standards help ensure that. We participate in standards development and do significant R&D, in order to continue making good products that the library community needs. And where no standards exist, we will sometimes develop our own and share them with the industry.
Our customers can be confident their investments will have lasting value and work with other products—not only those products they have now but also those they might buy in the future.