RFID: Radio Frequency Identification

This is a blog about RFID in library

Sunday, May 14, 2006

RFID technology for libraries

In his paper, Boss defines RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) as “the combination of radio-frequency based technology and microchip technology”. According to him, RFID systems have many advantages over the traditional barcodes. As Boss described, an RFID system has three key components: RFID tags, readers, and a server. About tagging the materials, according to him, most libraries cannot tag their whole collections at one time. Therefore, he suggests converting materials when they are being discharged. But this way is costly with a rental of approximately $250 a week. So, most libraries tag new acquisitions as part of the cataloguing process. In the author’s view, the advantages of the RFID system are rapid charge or discharge, simplified patron self-charge or discharge, high reliability, high-speed inventorying, automated material handling and long life tags. High cost is a potential disadvantage of the RFID system. Besides, a RFID system is vulnerable to compromise. Other disadvantages are that the tags are exposed and can easily to be removed, and the exit sensors can engage problems. In addition, the threat to patron privacy of an RFID system is being considered a matter by many States.

This is one of the papers from Public Library Association which introduces some specific technologies for librarians. Updated in 2004, this paper is not a so current resource. But it is still valuable because it provides basic information about the RFID systems and it is cited by many other authors. The calculations on budgeting for applying RFID are good examples for the institutions which are going to apply this technology.

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