Chipping in - reflections and predictions for library RFID - Cilips

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27 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 6 μήνες)

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Chipping in

Reflections on and
Predictions for Library RFID.

Mick Fortune

Library RFID Limited

Today I shall mostly be talking about…

The story so far


a missed opportunity for libraries?

Where do we go from here?

…but first

Library 24


Automated Receiving


RFID enabled
smartphone, USA

Book sorter


Smart Shelves,

Future, or Futurama?

RFID enabled

Available from




How did it all begin?

Self service has two main requirements

rapid circulation and security

Library RFID has two key attributes

transaction handling and onboard security


a match made in heaven?

Rapid Growth

Based on data from the annual RFID survey on LIB

Surveys show that librarians mostly seek
advice from… other librarians.

This may have created a “me too” effect that
has driven our record investment in RFID

BUT the obvious and immediate benefits of
self service may have obscured the underlying
problem of interoperability.

What inspired such growth?

A Happy Coincidence or…

How libraries first encountered RFID has
tended to shape their thinking about what it
can do.

What suppliers sold before RFID has tended to
influence the type of solutions they offer.

A Series of
Unfortunate Events?

Development has been slow

Librarians feel they want more from RFID

but are not sure how to get it.

RFID companies want to offer more

often need LMS help to develop.

Lack of common RFID standards discourages
LMS from developing functionality

IT skills often absent from libraries.

(Dis)integrating Solutions

RFID suppliers have tended to develop their
solutions in isolation.

LMS “integration” is mostly limited to using an
outdated serial protocol (SIP).

Self service was relatively easy and effective
but has been delivered by sacrificing

A Google search will find dozens of ideas for
using RFID in the library

almost all unique.

There are many misconceptions…

It threatens jobs

It’s too complex

It’s very simple

Just a smart label

“Barcode on Steroids”

It threatens privacy

…and an (un)comfortable assumption?

The lack of data standards was recognised as a
problem as early as 2003 in both the USA

“If the possibility exists that more than one vendor’s RFID system
will be used, RFID interoperability standards must be developed
and adhered to.”

and in Germany,

“All existing RFID systems use proprietary technology which
means that if company A puts an RFID tag on a product, it
can't be read by Company B unless they both use the same
RFID system from the same vendor."

[RFID Journal 2003]. Quoted by Mats G. Lindquist at IFLA Berlin, Chair, IFLA's Information Technology


Have we aimed too low?

Concentration on self
service has limited our

Pace of UK adoption has been frenetic, but
development has been slow.

Suppliers too busy with self

Little engagement from LMS

Global market now developing using

and may rapidly overtake UK

Hobson’s Choice

97.8% of RFID installations buy their entire
RFID solution from a single supplier.

There is (almost) no competition once an RFID
supplier is chosen.

Many new products now available

but all

Most RFID companies are committed to
change this

but most librarians aren’t

What is to be done?

Change the way it works

Common Data Standard

Common Communication Framework

Change the way you buy

A Common Data Standard

Currently every RFID supplier uses their own.

New installations are insisting on ISO 28560
and the UK Data Model


Four UK RFID companies have pledged to
support the new standard.


Three of them claim “interoperability”
will be available for new installations.

Only one has produced

compliant tags.

A Common Communication


Three RFID companies are working with
BIC to develop a new communication

Only a few LMS suppliers have shown any
interest in the work.

3M have announced the development of SIP

NCIP still considering a separate protocol for

Change the way you buy

Procurement needn’t be a major undertaking

Frameworks mitigate against change and
increase costs.

Best practice and procurement guidelines are

Buy what you want

from whom you wish!


The Chip Manufacturer’s View

“RFID Puts Librarians Where They're Needed Most”

RFID technology is simple, robust and inexpensive. Each RFID
label has a unique identification number and
can be
programmed with additional information such as type of
media and storage location

The tag is "re
writeable" so libraries don't have to replace a
book’s digital identification tag when updating a book's status
or flagging a book for reservation. In addition,
libraries are
finding new ways to take advantage of tagged items, such as
gathering statistics on what items are most often used

The RFID Supplier’s View

“RFID Alliance to Unlock Library Potential”*

The benefits …could be
instrumental to the wider public use of
library facilities


Importantly for existing customers of the Alliance suppliers, each
committed to supporting their historical customer base with
the move to the new standard

as and when it should be required.

With the Alliance agreement in place, and with ISO/DIS 28560
setting the standard for all future tags,

the next logical step is for
libraries to act on this

to further improve their services.

*Joint statement by 2CQR, 3M, Bibliotheca, D Tech, Intellident and Plescon


The Librarian’s View?

“Currently I would see the main advantage of a data model as
when/if we change supplier for our tags/equipment. One of
my concerns would be what happens to the 800,000 books
we have tagged using a propriety data model.”

(email from an unnamed University Librarian

May 2011)

The Market is Changing

Mergers and partnership deals continue apace

3M and Lyngsoe (US)
August 2010

Bibliotheca and ITG (USA)
April 2011

Bibliotheca and Intellident (UK)
June 2011

Consolidation of data models now makes
sense for corporations too

More open market = greater competition

…and so should the service

RFID creates intelligent stock

using it only for
service fails to deliver full ROI.

Consider automating accessions and returns,
use wearable devices to manage stock,
explore the possibilities of smart shelves and
displays, interactive books

all now being

but unavailable to most.

A Simple Manifesto for RFID?

Standardise on a single data model (UKDM)

Support the work being done to improve communication
between LMS/RFID

So that,

All suppliers can read each other’s tags

Competition increase

Costs are reduced

Purchasing becomes more straightforward

Innovation is encouraged

Service is improved

Thank You!

Mick Fortune

Library RFID Ltd.

t. +44 1865 727411

m. +44 7786 625544