The New York Times has this neat article on a plan to combine all the software in schools into one database. The program is entitled Schools Interoperability Framework and involves more than 80 software companies (Mr. Gates and all).\"The new standards, which were developed by the software companies and educators, will allow schools to link together the separate programs that run various functions, including the library\'s checkout system, the school\'s front office, and the cafeteria and transportation systems.\"\"The first version of the standards covers administrative software for libraries, transportation departments, cafeterias and front-office systems. The next set, expected out next year, will deal more with instructional software like grade books and student assessments, Kamp said.\"
\"Plant used the 1,200-student Ramsey Elementary School in his district to test the software standards over the past school year. The system brought together student information and library and cafeteria records. In the past, Plant said, library personnel had to key in each student\'s name at the start of the school year, a task that could take up to two weeks.\"
\"They usually were two weeks into the school year before books could be checked out,\" he said. \"It was the first time they could have all the kids entered\" at the beginning of the year.\"
\"He added that the school\'s library software requests a parent\'s name and phone number, but that information was never entered because of the additional time required, leaving much of the software underutilized.\"
\"In the future, the school plans to use the expanded library data to set up an automated phone system that will call and leave a message at the student\'s home when a requested book becomes available at the library.\"
\"It allows you to do things you couldn\'t humanly or by resource possibly do before,\" he said.\"