RFID in Libraries


but can you use it in Scrabble?

Filed under: — Laura @ 7:44 am

RFID is now an official word in the Oxford New American dictionary.


Another RFID CD/DVD application

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:22 am

Anita over at the RFID Weblog has a good article regarding an initiative by UCLA researchers to use RFID for managing copyright on CD/DVD.

Watch this one folks. It’s going to have big implications for digital robinhood in south africa libraries & archives if its successful.

Singapore adds facial recognition

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:12 am

CNET Asia is reporting that six of Singapore’s public libraries are getting facial pattern recognition software added to their RFID self-check machines.

If you thought the uproar over privacy for a few bits of book information was robinhood trading app intense, imagine what would happen if American libraries started using biometric security.


ALA opposed to Real-ID act

Filed under: — Laura @ 2:53 pm

As addendum to Margaret’s post about RFID in passports, Internetnews.com is reporting on numerous organizations that are on record as opposing the Real-ID Act. This is the legislation proposes a national driver’s license – and it could very well be RFID enabled. The article quotes Bruce Scheiner of the Counterpane Internet Security:

“Real ID requires driver’s licenses to include a ‘common machine-readable technology.’ This will, of course, make identity theft easier,” Schneier said in a recent blog posting. “Assume that this information will be collected by bars and other businesses, and that it will be resold to companies like ChoicePoint and Acxiom.”

Even worse, Schneier said, the same specification for RFID chips embedded in passports includes details about embedding RFID chips in driver’s licenses, making it an even juicer target for thieves and terrorists.

The ALA Washington Office has a page listing ALA’s official positions official positions on privacy related legislation.

The Act is expected to be signed into law today. If you’re implementing RFID at your library expect to answer robinhood alternatives more questions from members of your constituency if this story really takes off in the media.

Other 13.56MHz applications

Filed under: — Margaret @ 12:29 pm

This article discusses some additional uses of 13.56 MHz RFID tags, in relationship to the State Deptartment’s recent decision to use RFID in passports, and the ensuing uproar from various quarters, including the ACLU. Probably useful background information for if you get privacy advocates giving you grief about some of the misconceptions they have read in the press about RFID.



3M releases CD/DVD tag

Filed under: — Laura @ 8:12 am

Library Journal is reporting that 3M has a tag/software solution for the CD/DVD problem. It’s called 3M CD8 RFID and it links a tag on the media to a tag on the jewel case to prevent patrons from checking out empty cases or cases with the wrong disc.

More information about it is available from the 3M site.


California RFID bill hearing set for Judiciary Committee Tues April 26

Filed under: — Mary @ 6:59 pm

Update and background.


California RFID bill hearing postponed

Filed under: — Mary @ 5:42 pm

Senator Simitian’s Identity Information Protection Act of 2005, SB 695, had its committee hearing postponed according to California’s leginfo.ca.gov.

You can subscribe to future action on the bill here.

American Libraries reports on RFID and Layoff concerns at BPL

Filed under: — Margaret @ 8:58 am

The April 2005 American Libraries (p. 13) reports on the stresses Jackie Griffin, director of Berkeley Public Library, is encountering over her staff and the public linking staff layoffs with the purchase of RFID tags. Also mentioned is the CA SB682 described by Laura a few weeks ago.


Welcome Margaret, Editorial Policy & little fixes

Filed under: — Laura Smart @ 3:53 pm

We’ve added another contributor to the blog. Welcome Margaret Hazel. Margaret has first hand experience implementing RFID at a public library and will be a valuable voice for RFID in Libraries.

I’ve made links to contributor bios under the “Authors” permalinks on the left-hand side.

Also please note there is a more detailed editorial policy available under the “About–This blog” section, also on the left-hand side.

I know changes have been slow in coming to this blog and I thank all the readers for their patience. I’m bootstrapping myself about Wordpress. I do not find it intuitive to administer. Add that to the amount of time I have to devote to the blog and, well, changes occur at glacial rate. I do think the additional contributors will help keep the blog entries more current and timely.

My next big administrative task is to get comment and track-backs in functioning order once more. Wordpress does have some comment-spam controls but I’ve got a backlog of spam to clear out. If anybody knows how to do this quickly, give me a ring and hold my hand through the process. I want to see RFID in Libraries become a real community space. Discussion is crucial for that. After I do that, I’ll tackle doing an upgrade to the latest version of WordPress.

Thoughts on Warfield & Tien piece

Filed under: — Laura Smart @ 3:41 pm

I’ve got a bit of ranting to do about the most recent commentary in the Berkeley Daily Planet from anti-RFID activists Peter Warfield and Lee Tien. Full disclosure: I’m neither pro or con on RFID. I think the privacy concerns are valid and return on investment is poorly documented. Yet, I also believe the technology holds promise for improving service to library users. My fence-sitting advice to librarians considering RFID is “tread carefully.” This shouldn’t be news to anybody that read my fall 2004 netConnect article.

Any decision a librarian makes on RFID should be supported by facts. A list of particulars without context doesn’t do anybody any good. I question the Daily Planet’s ability to be unbiased in their reporting of this ongoing story. Some of Warfield and Tien’s reasoning is specious and should not be left to stand without question.


Warfield and Tien at it again

Filed under: — Laura @ 2:57 pm

The Berkeley Daily Planet has published another commentary by anti-RFID activists Peter Warfield and Lee Tien. I’ve got quite a bit to say about it, but I’ll refrain until I can do a bit of fact-checking. I think there are problems with some of their points and good rebuttals to others. Stay tuned.

More contributors

Filed under: — Laura @ 1:31 pm

Please welcome Lori Bowen Ayre and Mary Minow to libraryrfid.net. Lori and Mary have graciously accepted my invitation to make contributions to the blog. Many thanks to the both of you for widening the perspective of this space and for helping to keep its content current and timely.


TLC buys Tech Logic

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:21 am

More from Library Journal. The Library Corporation bought Tech Logic Corp., the RFID vendor.

ALA/BISG continues to meet

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:19 am

Library Journal is reporting on a February 25 meeting held by the RFID Working Group, which is jointly sponsored by the American Library Association and the Book Industry Study Group.

As always, privacy was a major part of the conversation. It was noted that there is a continuing need for education about the issues in the library community. Our old friend David Molnar discussed the risks and noted that increased standardization, while very necessary, also increases the vulnerability of the tags.

This is going to be a big concern as libraries and book publishers and sellers continue to work together on RFID. Each constituency is concerned with moving books around. As books move through the information chain, how will we deal with the chips? From an economic perspective it makes sense to use the same chips for every industry. Why add labor and additional chips at each point? Libraries could just use the chips already inserted into the book during publication.

Yet, the need for protecting individuals engenders the need for “kill” functions to stop tags once they leave the warehouse or bookstore.

It’s a tricky balance and one where I think we should err on the side of caution. I seem to recall that there is a type of tag which can be put to sleep rather than being killed outright and this may provide the neccessary middle ground.


New Berkeley Library trustee

Filed under: — Laura @ 1:01 pm

The top story in today’s Berkeley Daily planet reports on the appointment of a new trustee to the library board. Ying Lee, who opposes the decision to use RFID, said she didn’t know enough about Jackie Griffin’s plans to comment on the budget.

The article does say that the board will be having a community meeting on April 12 to discuss RFID and proposed staff layoffs.

I’ve been predicting that such a meeting would happen and I’m glad to see that it is. The library needs some good PR. Yes there are privacy issues with RFID. No doubt about it. I think, however, that the media coverage is conflating the issues with the staff layoff situation. If the board is able to get the budget numbers out to the people along with how those numbers were generated/obtained then folks will see that Jackie and the board have made decisions based upon their needs. They are not installing RFID due to technolust or a grand desire to eliminate staff.

Evaulation is going to be the key to long term public acceptance of those decisions. Hard numbers to illustrate the decrease in workers comp costs and qualitative studies about patron satisfaction with customer service will demonstrate that RFID was (or wasn’t?) worth it.



Filed under: — Laura @ 11:33 am

Color me skeptical. RFIDwasher is a soon to be released tool which claims to locate RFID tags and “destroy them forever.” No word on when this little baby will be released. I’m too afraid of spam to register to be notified of its availability.

Tags can be write-protected and locked against tampering so this thing would have to circumvent that.


IT decision makers give thumbs up to eliminating staffed check out

Filed under: — Laura @ 10:01 am

Primary Research Group released a report based on exhaustive interviews with library IT directors from nine major public libraries. Regarding RFID they say,

“Libraries that are using RFID automated book check out technology appear to be divided into two camps: those which hesitate in implementing the technology, and those which essentially limit or eliminate non-automated check out, literally compelling patrons to adjust to the new technology. All of those that had taken the latter approach were glad that they had.”

This is consistent with the experiences of the library IT folk in California that I interviewed when I was investigating RFID for my place of work. Without the option of a staffed circulation desk patrons quickly became accustomed to the RFID self-check. The key for the people I spoke with, however, was placing a dedicated staffer near the machines for the first few weeks to assist patrons during the transition.


More on Mea Culpa

Filed under: — Laura @ 2:34 pm

Karen Schneider gave me the proverbial (and deserved) lashing with a wet noodle over my poor choice of words regarding the Warfield/Tien vs. Berkeley Public Library tit for tat in the Berkeley Daily Planet. If you’d like more background on just how my original post came to be, you can read my response to it by following the above link.

I encourage anybody who thinks my original post compounded any problems to re-read it substituting “dispute” for “debunk” and they will get my original intent.

I’m off to re-read the dictionary. Thanks to all the etymologists who corrected my usage.

Feds not going to regulate RFID anytime soon

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:48 am

A Senate high-tech task force has reccomended protecting (and I quote):

“exciting new technologies from premature regulation or legislation in search of a problem. RFID holds tremendous promise for our economy, including military logistics and commercial inventory efficiencies, and should not be saddled prematurely with regulation.”

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