The advantage of radio frequency identification (RFID) over other self service technologies used in libraries is usually seen to be its ability to combine the functions of the barcode (as a unique item identifier) and the security tag (able to indicate that an item is being removed from the library without permission), but with the added advantage of not needing line of sight. The customer-friendly self service that this combination of features makes possible is at the heart of the attraction of RFID for most libraries. Indeed the term ‘RFID’ has become a shorthand for self-service.
The contrasts between RFID as used in retail and RFID in the library
RFID and some suppliers came from the retail supply chain – a very different market to libraries . In the fast moving world of RFID solutions appear and disappear rapidly. New tag technologies appear all the time making old ones obsolete.In retail such rapid change is welcomed. In a market where the priorities are speed of supply, greater accuracy and better margins data standards are practically non-existent and tags – and tag data – change almost as fast as the applications that use them. These solutions are not designed to be used by anyone else, Asda don’t share their RFID warehousing solutions with Tesco. So the solutions are “closed loop” – i.e. they are designed to work in a closed environment to perform a particular task. In the library world RFID tag remain in item for years and may outlast the equipment originally purchased to read them.
Self service using mobile phones is enabled by meeScan which started 2015. Users use a free mobile app on their phones to check out items anywhere in the library. The transactions are carried out securely by the meeScan cloud server that keeps the connection to the library management system open and ready at all times.
RFID listserve (LIB-RFID-UK)
Note the IFLA special interest group was discontinued in 2014
A Librarian’s Guide to RFID Procurement. by Mick Fortune BIC & NAG (rev) 2016
"The document is in four parts.
Part One offers a sample template for the buyer to set out the scope of the project, explain how it fits within the existing ICT infrastructure, detail any future requirements that may need to be considered, give a detailed description of the existing library service and provide any additional information that will assist the supplier in making their best offer. Specific details relating to aspects of the procurement may either be included in this section or at the head of the relevant section in the main text of the specification.
Part Two sets out the key areas of concern that should be addressed by a potential supplier. It covers both the broader aspects of credibility, experience and durability one should expect from any supplier as well as specific points relating to RFID deliverables. Each section is introduced bya brief explanation of its importance and relevance followed by guidance for the librarian in providing relevant information to the supplier that should ensure mutual understanding. Finally a list of sample questions –that may need to be amended to reflect your particular circumstances –is offered for you to begin drafting your requirement.
Part Three offers an sample template for suppliers to submit costs.
Part Four offers a simple model for evaluating supplier responses."
The Library RFID Guide. Buying, installing, using Mick Fortune website: http://rfid.mickfortune.com/
-An introduction to RFID in libraries including explaining and why the standards are so important. .A US focus.By Lori Bowen Ayre. Library Technology Consultant / The Galecia Group +1 (707) 763-6869 Lori.Ayre@galecia.com
RFID page on Galecia Consulting website. Showing RFID products are available with links to resources. Also links to Lori Bowen Ayre's pinterest pages. A US focus. By Lori Bowen Ayre. Library Technology Consultant / The Galecia Group. +1 (707) 763-6869. Lori.Ayre@galecia.com
RFID providers in the UK
This LCF standard is recommended by BIC as the best way to implement communications between systems within a library, for example between a Library Management System (LMS/ILS) and an RFID Self-Service Solution. Published 10th January 2014
RFID self service usage rates
Feedback on the RFID discussion list (LIB-RFID-UK@JISCMAIL.AC.UK) to Ken Chad from libraries (January/February 2018) on achievable self-service usage rates and nature of ‘exceptions’
Library 1 (Academic)“We average – fairly consistently over time – about 80% self-service. This is fine by us as we still offer staffed desks and a proportion of customers will always:
I don’t feel that people should HAVE to use it if they prefer not to. Obviously at times (for example overnight opening when there are only security-type staff available) they have to if they want to borrow/return. I’d rather offer them a choice.”
Library 2 (Academic)“We average about 84% of issues and about 70% of returns via self-service.”
Library 3 (Academic)“Looking at loans and discharges since April 2017, when we went live with our new system.
75.6% of our total loans, which include the exceptions below.
User-based exceptions that tend not to be done through the self-issue terminals:
Library 4 (academic)“We had figures of 92% for 16/17, and 95% thus far for 17/18”.
Library 5 (Public Library)“We have a target of 90% of all issues for our self service kiosks, and over the last 10 months of the financial year, we have been achieving just under 87%. We do have some types of transactions that are excluded from the stats for operational reasons but they are generally low volume, so I would say the 87% is representative.
ILLs, orchestral and playset loans would all be examples of types of transactions that would be excluded – it is usually because of the degree of staff intervention that is required to complete the loan anyway.”
Library 6 (academic)“The library is 24/7/365 access …and we are what amounts to being a single faculty, independent university. Apart from the occasional item that needs to be issued manually in order to override the prescribed loan periods, I would guess that we have a little less than 100% RFID issues and returns as RFID self-service is the only method on offer as we have no staffed desk, one librarian and one part time assistant for a collection of 50,000 volumes..and around 250 students.”
What Librarians (Public & Academic), Library Suppliers and Library Systems Vendors Need to Know BIC (Date?)
"Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) in libraries involves the tagging of library books with RFID tags and the use of self-services kiosks and other technologies to enable library customers to self-issue and self-return library books. The EU has issued two mandates for member states to encourage them to adopt measures to limit the risk to privacy from the use of RFID-tagged items. The risk has been identified as:
Libraries are identified as high risk within this analysis because unlike retail RFID tags which are switched off during purchase, RFID tags on library books are always available to be read so that, on their return to the library, the tags can be read as part of a self-return process"