Magazine article American Libraries

The RFID Opportunity: Use Tags to Deliver New Services to Your Patrons

Magazine article American Libraries

The RFID Opportunity: Use Tags to Deliver New Services to Your Patrons

Article excerpt

In March, the National Information Standards Organization adopted RFID in US Libraries (RP-6-2012), recommending practices for using RFID tags in libraries for shelving, circulation, sorting, inventory, security, and interlibrary loans. In addition, it recommended adopting ISO 28560-2 as the model for encoding data on the tags. The final adoption of this data model is a big step toward standardization and interoperability among RFID suppliers.

These guidelines recommend installing the RFID tag early in the life cycle of the book. The tag could then be used by publishers, distributors, and libraries alike, as well as secondary markets (used-book stores, for example).

As more libraries and vendors adopt the standard, tags from one library could be used in other libraries for both identification and security. Libraries could also buy components from any compliant vendor and everything would work together. Gradually, additional functionality will be supported as adoption spreads and library system (ILS) vendors develop interfaces that support the new capabilities.

Realizing these expanded opportunities in RFID technology, however, requires three additional steps.

Removing legacy barriers

Vendors may seek ways to differentiate their products, now that the new standard has rendered their proprietary solutions obsolete. The following are examples of seemingly attractive enhancements that in fact undermine interoperahility:

* Vendor-specific encrypting and encoding of the data;

* Proprietary security functions;

* Software or firmware that is system dependent and can be used only with specific tags.

When designing your library's RFID system, recognize that choosing proprietary over interoperable puts you in a potentially dangerous and costly situation. These so-called enhancements are not worth that risk.

Verifying compliance

Libraries need to identify an affordable service to verify that they are purchasing compliant tags, that their implementation of the data model is compliant, and that each vendor's encoding is compliant. …

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