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  1. RFID A New Frontier for Libraries Radio Frequency Identification Created By: Marybeth Bean, Emily Boisvert, Peter Breault

  2. Radio Frequency Identification Basic History of RFID Technology Research done by Singh, Brar, and Fong (2006) states First Public Library use was the Farmington Community Library in Michigan - 1999 (p.24) Research started as early as the 1970s RFID designed to replace the UPC code Key Promoters: Walmart,Target, and the U.S. Department of Defense

  3. Source 1: Sweeney, P. J. II.(2005) . RFID for Dummies. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc. p.45. Source 2: Sweeney, P. J. II.(2005) . RFID for Dummies. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc. p. 46. UPC vs. EPC Bar Codes use UPC’s (Universal Product Code) Data identifier / Manufacturer’s number / Product number / Single digit security RFID uses EPC’s (Electronic Product Code) Header / Manufacturer code / Stock Keeping Unit / Serial Number

  4. How It Works • The system is made up of a Host (a computer) where the data is stored • A reader emits and interprets an electrical signal • Two antennas disburse and receive the signal - similar to sonar • A tag is the target, and it returns the antenna’s signal Source: Sweeney, P. J. II.(2005) . RFID for Dummies. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc. p. 38.

  5. Components Reader **Think of this like a high tech version of Morse Code** • The reader is what produces the electrical frequency that the antenna sends off. HF 13.56 Megahertz • UHF 860 - 960 Megahertz • The reader then takes in a signal that is returned by the tag. • It turns the signals back and forth into ones and zeros which can then be sent to the host computer for storage. Source: Sweeney, P. J. II.(2005) . RFID for Dummies. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc. p. 21.

  6. Components Antennas • They send out and receive the electromagnetic frequency through the air • Think of its range like being in a big bubble Source: Sweeney, P. J. II.(2005) . RFID for Dummies. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc. p. 21.

  7. Components Tag • Part 1: An integrated circuit - contains an on or off activation code & stored data such as library barcodes for that specific item. • Part 2: An antenna helps the tag gain energy and respond to the reader. Source: (2009). Dual Aisle Plexi – Tech Gates. Retrieved September 22, 2009 from Source: Sweeney, P. J. II.(2005) . RFID for Dummies. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc. p. 21.

  8. Active vs. Passive Tags • Does the tag have its own power supply? • Yes - That is an Active chip • No - That is a Passive Chip • If the tag has no independent power supply it uses Backscatter • Backscatter - The tag does not emit its own signal it just absorbs, modifies, and returns the original signal to the reader.

  9. TAGSHF versus UHF RFID High Frequency versus Ultra High Frequency • HF was developed first, and has been around longer. • UHF has faster speeds, and longer reading ranges. • UHF has a lower manufacturer cost. • UHF is more susceptible to water (debatable). Source: (2009). Roll of RFID tags. Retrieved September 22, 2009 from HF Tags>>>

  10. Bar Codes, Memory Buttons, and RFID • Linear Bar Codes • Scans one object at a time • Information can’t be changed • Cheap • If the image is dirty it is hard to read • Memory Buttons • Readers must physically touch the tag for it to scan • Durable • Information can be modified

  11. • RFID - Tags can be read over distances of 10 meter - Information can be modified ***And MORE*** Source: Heinrich, C. (2005) . RFID and Beyond: Growing Your Business Through Real World Awareness. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc. p. 65.

  12. RFID Applications in Libraries

  13. At the service desk: • RFID can be used to check out material • It can be used in conjunction with a library’s LMS (Library Management System) • It can check out a whole stack of books at one time • If so enabled, it can deactivate security chip

  14. From a patron’s perspective: • Self check option • Patron can check out own materials, avoiding lines • Self check readers allow for check out of multiple items at one time Patron self check station by Bibliotheca Source: BIBLIOTHECA RFID Library Systems RFID Products. Retrieved September 21, 2009 from

  15. Stacks Management: • Current inventory practices are: • Labor intensive • Time intensive

  16. Checking against shelf list drawer… • …or using barcode, barcode reader, laptop, software to talk to LMS

  17. All involve checking book by book…by book…

  18. Stacks Management: • RFID inventory • Staff run wand along shelf of books • Wand reads tags in books on shelf • Stores data for download later or connects to laptop • Can tell what is missing • Can tell what is out of order

  19. Wand for scanning PDA for data collection in inventory Source: BIBLIOTHECA RFID Library Systems RFID Products. Retrieved September 21, 2009 from

  20. Automated Book Check in and Sorting

  21. Automated Book Returns • Books checked in as placed through the return • Security can be turned on • Books pass along a conveyor belt • Based on info from check in, books are sorted into bins for re-shelving

  22. Book return items are checked in Conveyor sorts to bins based on RFID sort at discharge Bins sorted by shelving location Source: 3M Library Systems Product Guide (2009). Retrieved September 21, 2009 at

  23. Security of Collection: • RFID tags can be enabled with a security chip • When activated, will activate alarm at exit • Are automatically deactivated at checkout • Staff have access to identity of what has been removed • If patrons have RFID enabled library identification, there will also be access to who has removed the material • Catches check out error, staff or system

  24. Difficult to capture statistics • Browsing of collection difficult to capture • Relies on cooperation of patron to record/report • RFID can capture this: • Co-locate readers with materials from a collection • Readers undetected for a period of time indicate materials off shelf

  25. RFID Benefits: Advantages of Implementation

  26. Benefits for • Library organization as a whole • Library staff • Library patrons

  27. How does RFID help the whole library organization? • Tags combine barcode and security device functions (barcodes + book cards + magnetic strips) • Provides ability to increase business without adding to the budget for more staff (hours, speed, streamline tasks) • Cost savings

  28. Cost savings examples: Berkeley, CA Berkeley Library director claims $2 million saved in worker’s compensation over 5-year period due to decrease in repetitive motion injuries University of Nevada, Las Vegas Library recovered 500+ items by tagging collection, saved $40,000 in replacement costs

  29. What else can it provide? • Flexibility in library design and use • Greater control over stock and acquisitions/ revising current records • Decreased human error Which means…

  30. A focus on increasing patron satisfaction and services in all areas of library use Source: Man with Child, Retrieved September 21, 2009, from

  31. Benefits for library staff may include… • Fewer instances of injury from repetitive motions • Opportunity for more interesting roles and tasks • Greater job satisfaction and decreased stress • Shift to flexible and customer-oriented focus

  32. A look at traditional handling of library materials at the circulation desk… • Staff reach for materials to be checked in/out. • Staff locate barcode to scan. • Staff sensitize/desensitize security device on material. • Staff may insert cards or stamp materials at check-out. • Staff sort returned materials for shelving.

  33. The RFID Method Staff may be involved in some circulation tasks, but RFID technology allows for multiple items scanned at once (six items or items up to six inches height) OR No staff involvement with self-service equipment including sorting conveyor

  34. New ways to review inventory with hand-held RFID scanners… • No need to touch or move materials • Less physical, less time • Scanner IDs items out of order • Simultaneous check for activation of security component • Increased accuracy • Additional use for reference materials/periodicals previously unchecked Source: Products: RFID Library Management. Retrieved September 21, 2009, from

  35. An example from the Vatican Library… Source: Vatican Library. Retrieved 21, 2009, from

  36. Before RFID: Library closes for one month per year for inventory of stock With RFID: Library remains open, inventory takes few hours Conclusion: RFID reduces downtime and increases success in finding materials Reportedly 5, 10, even 20 times faster than traditional barcode reading

  37. Staff efficiencies: • Reduction of time preparing materials for re-shelving with help from conveyor and sorting system • RFID tag system allows staff to readily locate materials for patrons • Increase of staff-patron interaction • Increase of library security and supervision by staff • Personalized service with patron information available on tags Which means…

  38. A focus on increasing patron satisfaction and services in all areas of library use Source: Library Computer Child, Retrieved 21, 2009, from

  39. Now, what about patrons and RFID? • Shorter lines for check-out with self-check devices • Increased staff assistance with specific searches and questions • Enhanced privacy • Faster rate of reserve requests • Timeliness of account changes and status

  40. Self-scanners provide receipts of all patron holdings Aesthetic appeal of library space along with increased functionality Noted rise in customer satisfaction, opinion of staff helpfulness Hand-held guiding equipment tailoring interest of patron used for personal service Source: All in one Kiosk Library, Retrieved 21, 2009, from

  41. What do patrons have to say about RFID? • Study by Salt Lake County Library Services found 95% of 625 patrons surveyed gave self-checkout systems grade of B or above

  42. Case study #1: Darien, CT • New library opened Jan. 10, 2009 complete with RFID technology • Changes included 3M and FKI Logistex automated returns technology= elimination of circulation desk • Addition of “Welcome Desk” acting as concierge for building, more circulation staff trained as readers’ advisors • Technology became way to expand services and save Source: Berry, L.P., & Gray, A.K. (2009, May 15). State of the art in Darien. Library Journal, 9.

  43. Case Study #2: Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom • Four sites with RFID self-service as of Jan. 2009 • Goals: increase staff involvement with academic schools, provide better research support • Introduction of smaller information desks= larger and more private office/work area for library assistants Source: Library Kiosk, Retrieved 21, 2009, from

  44. Two staff members at circ desk (3 at peak) Subject librarian and most staff 2-3 hours/day rotation Work=inter-library loan, book orders, overdues, journal processing, invoicing, etc. One staff member maximum 2 hour shift Library staff roam for 1 hour at peak times Work=new training program for research staff, blog for distance learners, developing pages on Blackboard and converting manual to wiki format Pre-RFID Post-RFID

  45. Case study #3: San Bernardino County Library System, CA • 30 branches serve 1,000,000+ people • Staff able to greet patrons, guide and assist • With self-service, patrons can also unlock AV security cases and pay fines and fees • Benefit=kiosk available 24/7 • Found that takes 2 people 1 hour to tag 200 items

  46. Additional Benefits • Predict costs will decrease to point of tag inclusion in books and AV materials at time of manufacture • Reduction of security equipment purchased and maintained long term • Grants may be available for technology projects like RFID

  47. Challenges MONEY, MONEY, & More MONEY According to Singh, Brar, and Fong (2006), In 2006 California Library Association did a survey and found that out of the 51% who were not implementing RFID in their survey 58 % cited cost as their major issue (p.24). • According to Singh, Brar, and Fong (2006), The costs to convert a library to RFID technology range from $113,000 to $1.2 million average being $502,917 (p.28).

  48. The Truth about the Price The Real Cost is in the Tags Libraries would face an initial one time cost then it would be like buying expensive barcodes today. According to Shahid Syed (2005) the average cost for tags was $ .40 to $ .75 (p.6). -- Prices are dropping, but the goal for most bulk purchasers is $.05 per tag According to Alan Butters (2008) UHF may be the better choice in the long run because of manufacturing companies affecting the price

  49. Challenges • Technical / Physical Layout of the Library • Reader & Tag Collisions • According to an article by Singh, Brar, and Fong, a single conversion takes 11.8 month to complete (p.29).

  50. Challenges By installing RFID systems you are taking on new technology that is developing while we speak! A growing concern is the lack of trained professionals in this field • In a 2009 article by Sadanand Bansode and Desale, concerning the University of Pune (located in India) the library was forced to outsource the entry of their computer data to other areas (p. 206). • Beware of a imposters!