Library Communications Framework (LCF)

Published 10th January 2014

The Library Communications Framework (LCF) is a set of library interoperability standards which defines a framework for the communication of data between self-service and other library terminal applications  to and from library management systems.

This LCF standard is recommended by BIC as the best way to implement communications between systems within a library, for example between a Library Management System (LMS/ILS) and an RFID Self-Service Solution.

There are various communication standards in use in the market in the UK and elsewhere including versions of SIP (Standard Interface Protocol). LCF supports the functionality in these standards but is also a framework seeking to enable systems developers to use and develop a common set of principles, variables and values to enable other standards to be developed.

The flexibility of LCF allows providers to determine for themselves the means by which data is exchanged as it confines itself to identifying the functionality required to deliver a service, the elements that need to be exchanged to deliver it, and the values that these elements might contain. Whilst it anticipates that the preferred means of delivering the service would be via web services (and offers examples of how these may be created) the framework is by no means prescriptive.

LCF is intended to support a much needed rationalisation of the interoperation between disparate IT solutions. In a time of scarce resources libraries are actively seeking to improve both their existing solutions and to offer new services without the risk of buying into solutions that cannot be developed or transported to a new platform. LCF provides that possibility.

The LCF framework has been developed with the active participation of leading LMS and RFID developers. Several of these organisations will be implementing LCF in the very near future so this standard will have live implementations very soon.

Libraries should specify the use of the LCF framework in future tenders for LMS/RFID implementations to help protect them by ensuring that their implementation uses a standard which is up to date, comprehensive and widely approved.

LCF will enable commercial suppliers to develop new functionality to a commonly understood and recognised standard using the elements defined in the framework.

 Suppliers will be urged to apply for certification that their products have been developed using the principles and values defined in LCF, and new functionality – not supported at the moment – will have to be submitted to BIC for inclusion in LCF. The framework – and additions – will be maintained by BIC on behalf of the industry

The LCF Framework consists of a number of documents which are downloadable from this BIC website.

The terms of use are specified here:


All LCF standards and documentation – including this document – are copyright materials, made available free of charge for general use. A full licence agreement that governs their use is available here.

In particular, if you use any of the LCF documents you will be deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions:

1.      You agree that you will not add to, delete from, amend, or copy for use outside of the framework, any part thereof except for strictly internal use in your own organisation;

 2.      You agree that if you wish to add to, amend, or make extracts of the framework for any purpose that is not strictly internal to your own organisation, you will in the first instance notify BIC and allow BIC to review and comment on your proposed use, in the interest of securing an orderly development of the framework for the benefit of other users.

If you do not accept these terms, you must not use the framework.


Document 1: This is the Libraries Communication Framework document version 1.0 which: describes the framework; establishes the information entities for which data records can be created, stored, retrieved, modified and deleted; and specifies in detail the main functions currently supported by the framework

Name: LCF v1.0

 Document 2: This describes recommended XML bindings for the LCF information entities, i.e. it specifies how to describe information entities in XML syntax

Name: LCF v1.0 Information Entity XML bindings              

 Document 3: This contains code lists which include all the controlled code values currently defined for use in LCF implementations

Name: LCF v1.0 Codelists Issue 1

 Document 4: This describes a web services implementation of the LCF framework which has been developed to enable implementers to develop interoperable web service solutions using widely-recognised, simple-to-implement web service design principles (REST)

Name: LCF v1.0 Web Services Implementation v1.0

 This information can also be found on BIC's e4Libraries site here


Read the LCF Press Release, launched Friday 2nd October 2015.


Do you have an issue that needs resolving? Leave a message for the LCF Technical Panel about your query, here.

Alternatively please email: ensuring you enter "LCF" into the email subject field. Having "LCF" in the subject field will ensure your query reaches one of our LCF technicians quickly.