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Benefits of NCIP in VDX. John Bodfish Senior Technical Designer. VUGANZ September 18, 2006. NCIP Review. NCIP is the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol, issued in 2002. Designed to support Circulation/Interlibrary Loan interaction (amongst other areas). Consists of two parts:

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Benefits of NCIP in VDX

John Bodfish

Senior Technical Designer


September 18, 2006

Ncip review
NCIP Review

  • NCIP is the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol, issued in 2002.

  • Designed to support Circulation/Interlibrary Loan interaction (amongst other areas).

  • Consists of two parts:

    • Protocol that specifies data structures, services and messages

    • Implementation Profile 1 which specifies XML for message encoding, UNICODE for character encoding, etc.

  • The standard looks to Application Profiles (such as the Circ/ILL profiles implemented in VDX) to specify what services and options are used by a specific application.

  • Incoming request

    ILL-Request message

    NCIP Request Item message to place a hold

    ILL Answer message

    Pick List

    Incoming Request

    Supplying Library





    If an item is on the shelf a hold is placed on it and a “Will Supply” response is sent to the requesting library.

    If an item will be available before the expiry date a hold is placed on it and a ‘Hold-placed’ response is sent.

    If none of the matching items will be available before the expiry date a ‘Retry Request’ response is sent.

    If no matching items exist an ‘Unavailable’ reply is sent.

    Automation benefits
    Automation Benefits

    • VDX locates available copies automatically.

    • VDX notifies the requester that you will or won’t be supplying the item

      • Your peers benefit from faster response times.

    • Round-the-clock operation unattended by staff.

    The role of docfind responder
    The Role of DocFind Responder

    • VDX attempts to locate a matching title in the local catalog using Z39.50.

    • Searches are done using standard numbers such as ISBN, UPC, ANBN, BN, LCCN, OCLC and other system control numbers.

      • Therefore it’s worthwhile to have those fields indexed and searchable by your Z39.50 server.

    NCIP Check Out Item message

    Shipped message

    with due date




    Supplying Library



    Available items are retrieved from the shelf and routed to the ILL desk (because the pick list has that as the destination).

    On-loan items are routed to the ILL desk by the circ system when returned by borrowers.

    Automation benefits1
    Automation Benefits

    • VDX lets your circulation system calculate:

      • loan periods, which may vary by:

        • item type, e.g. printed versus audio-visual materials, or

        • requesting library.

      • due dates, automatically accounting for:

        • holidays, semester calendar, etc.

        • reserves placed on specific items.


    Received message

    NCIP Accept Item message

    Pickup Notice


    Supplying Library





    You can use the lender’s barcode, assign a temporary one, or the circ system can create one automatically, depending on the capabilities of your circulation system.

    Your circulation system will be given a due date derived from the lender’s due date.

    Automation benefits2
    Automation Benefits

    • Temporary bibliographic record is created with whatever data is in the request.

    • Temporary item record is created with the item’s medium type (e.g. book, audio tape, etc.)

    • The item is put on hold for the user so that the user will be notified in whatever fashion is usual for local holds.


    Returned message

    NCIP Check In Item message


    Supplying Library





    Automation benefits3
    Automation Benefits

    • Assurance that items are discharged from local user’s account.

    Check in

    NCIP Check In Item message

    Checked In message

    Check In



    Supplying Library



    Automation benefits4
    Automation Benefits

    • Elimination of duplicate work

      • Staff don’t have to check items in to both VDX and your circulation system.


    Renew message

    Renew Answer message

    NCIP Renew Item message

    Renewal Notice

    NCIP Renew Item message




    Supplying Library





    The requesting library’s VDX uses the supplier’s new due date as the basis for the due date given the circ system, which it adjusts exactly as it did when the item was first received.

    Automation benefits5
    Automation Benefits

    • Supplier’s circulation system can:

      • determine renewability based on current requirements, e.g. local holds and reservations, and

      • determine loan period and renewal due date as before during the Ship action.

    • Round-the-clock operation unattended by staff.


    Cancel message

    Cancel Reply – Yes message

    NCIP Cancel Request Item message




    Supplying Library



    Automation benefits6
    Automation Benefits

    • Round-the-clock operation unattended by staff.

    Request status

    NCIP Lookup Item message

    Request Status






    ZPortal invokes the Lookup Item service for transactions where the item has been received but not yet returned.

    Such items will now indiciate they are “Available for Pickup” if the user has not yet picked them up from the hold shelf.

    Automation benefits7
    Automation Benefits

    • “Truer” information for the user because ZPortal now “knows” whether the user has checked the item out or not yet picked it up.

    • Round-the-clock operation unattended by staff.

    Ncip automation requesting libraries
    NCIP Automation: Requesting Libraries

    • When receiving:

      • Creates temporary bibliographic & item records.

      • Puts the item on hold for the patron.

    • When patron checks their requests:

      • Checks local circ status to distinguish items on the hold shelf from items they’ve checked out.

    • When patron requests a renewal:

      • Automatically updates circ with new due date if lender agrees to the renewal request.

    • When returning:

      • Ensures the item is discharged.

    Ncip automation supplying libraries
    NCIP Automation: Supplying Libraries

    • When requests arrive:

      • Locates available copies and places holds on them, so the circ system’s pick list includes these items.

    • When shipping:

      • Checks items out; due date assigned by circ system.

    • When renewal requests arrive:

      • Tries the renewal in the circ system, so local circ rules control whether the renewal is granted, and if so what the new due date is.

    • When requests are cancelled:

      • Cancels the hold in the local circ system.

    Note these are benefits of vdx
    Note: These Are Benefits of VDX

    • Your library must be using VDX for you to benefit from these NCIP features.

      • VDX is invoking NCIP services directly with your library’s circulation system.

      • VDX does not invoke NCIP services for you at the peer library.

      • Therefore it doesn’t matter whether the peer library – that’s requesting from you or lending to you – is using VDX; you still get the benefits even if they don’t. 

    Vdx is the initiator
    VDX is the Initiator

    • All NCIP messaging is initiated by VDX rather than by the circulation system because at this time all NCIP circulation implementations are being built to respond to NCIP messages rather than initiate them.

    And it s simple
    And It’s Simple

    • Screen changes

      • Added item barcode on Ship & Receive screens

    • Configuration

      • Create a one or more Naming Authorities and add IDs for your VDX locations.

      • Define the NCIP Responder (e.g. network address) and link its into the locations it serves.

      • Select which set of services to use.

      • Enter pseudo-user barcodes for your peer libraries.

    Ncip authentication
    NCIP Authentication

    • Patron authentication against local library systems.

    • Similar to existing authentication methods such as 3M SIP.

    • At the moment no circ vendors appear to be adding this capability.

    Testing and rollout
    Testing and Rollout

    • Phase 1 tests messages independent of the full request cycle

      • This can be done in an hour, but so far it has always taken longer.

    • Phase 2 tests the full request cycle

      • Including Z39.50 search, printing of picklists, check out to users, etc.

    • Both phases are completed by staff at OCLC PICA and the circ vendor.

    • Successful completion of these 2 phases allows us to proceed to beta testing with libraries in the field.

    How to talk to a circ vendor
    How to Talk to a (Circ) Vendor

    • Ask them if they support the Circ/ILL or the DCB-3 NCIP Application Area Profiles.

      • More specificly than “NCIP support”, they must support the 7 services we use, and the optional fields within them that we require.

    • If they say yes, ask them what libraries are using it. Contact those libraries to confirm this and pass us that information.

      • This will help us understand the context in which they have implemented NCIP.

    • If they say no tell them how important it is to you and give them a copy of our Circ/ILL Application Profile from the customer website.

      • This Application Profile tells them all they need to know to ensure their application will interoperate with VDX.