RFID in Libraries


Outside the Supply Chain

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:38 am

I wrote “Outside the Supply Chain” for RFID News.

Some of the nuances of my original piece were lost in the editing process. For example, it’s not clear in the paragraph regarding infringement scenarios and unauthorized data gathering that automated library systems (ALS) do not have the ability to track patrons movements. It’s the RFID readers that can potentially do the tracking. ALS only keeps patron contact info and borrowing habits. The borrowing info is rarely retained. I’ve put that section as I originally wrote it in the extended section of this post. If anybody wants to see the whole unedited piece, let me know and I’ll email you a copy.

RFID News is moving to a subscription model, but for a limited time you can subscribe for free. Act now if you’re interested.

Small reader developed

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:18 am

Innovision has developed a RFID reader smaller than a U.S. dime and “especially suited for small, battery-powered handheld devices.” It’s a 13.56MHz reader – hmm, that would be the range of most library tags, no??


Hong Kong Airport getting RFID

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:25 am

Yahoo financial news reports that Hong Kong Airport Authority has selected a vendor to install an RFID reader infrastructure in their baggage handling facilities. It says:

At various nodes within the airport including baggage carousels, unit load devices (ULDs) and conveyors, reader systems will be installed to read and write to RFID tags that will be applied on passenger bags. RFID-enabled handheld readers will also be used for mobile baggage operation.

It makes David Molnar’s scenario about airports and the Qur’an seem more plausible, doesn’t it?


Extended deadline for public comment on FTC workshop

Filed under: — Laura @ 4:10 pm

According to its website:

The FTC has extended until July 9, 2004 the deadline for filing comments on “Radio Frequency Identification: Applications and Implications for Consumers.” On April 12, 2004, the agency announced that it will hold a workshop to “explore the uses, efficiencies, and implications for consumers associated with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The workshop will address both current and anticipated uses of RFID tags and their impact on the marketplace.”

[thanks SNTreport]


Japanese library gets RFID

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:22 am

A library in Yuki city is using RFID on their 100,000 item collection.

LAPL using RFID on media

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:16 am

Jack Stephens noticed that the Los Angeles Business Journal says LA Public Library has been using RFID at its media center for the past 2 years. BTW, it’s 3 bucks to view the article


Quasi Kill Commands

Filed under: — Laura @ 10:16 am

ZDnet reports Burt Kaliski, RSA Labs director making a case for “zombie” chips – those that are deactivated at purchase point but remain capable of being reactivated. The article reports that the controversy is some way off since item-level tagging hasn’t reached critical mass in retail.

Remember kids – libraries do item-level tagging.

Calls for Laws in Germany

Filed under: — Laura @ 10:07 am

Newbrainframes reports on a German federal data protection officer Peter Scharr is calling for law to define control of RFID tags. Activists have been protesting a store which implemented RFID in their consumer cards – without informing their customers. The store withdrew the tags. [thanks scott]

Even the big guys don’t get ROI

Filed under: — Laura @ 10:00 am

Information Week reports on a study that says big companies don’t expect short term return-on-investment from RFID.

SFPL Round-up

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:53 am

As promised, a listing of the articles and resources about SFPL’s decision.

The SFPL implementation plan is particularly good. They have an understanding of the tag hardware specifications and seem very aware of the security flaws inherent at the chip level. They plan to work with vendors to develop tag encryption and better communications protocols between RFID tags and readers. They even encourage the development of environmentally friendly tags. Go SFPL!

David Molnar is quoted in the American Libraries piece. David is a Berkeley doctoral student in electrical engineering. He specializes in library RFID architectures. He has presented at the SFPL Library Commission meetings and it’s obvious they have paid attention. He currently has a scholarly article under review which details the technical security flaws in library RFID architectures. I’ll post a citation & summary as soon as I can.

I’m glad SFPL will attempt to work with the industry to improve chip security. Although libraries don’t have the purchasing clout of a Wal-Mart, we do have an activist tradition and the general respect of the public for keeping their interests at heart. Implementation plans such as SFPL’s and Berkeley’s best practices are a good start. It won’t be long before national-level best standards are available. The PLA Office of Intellectual Freedom is currently working on such a reccomendation.


ALA Posts RFID bibliography

Filed under: — Laura @ 5:40 pm

I didn’t notice this when it was posted in March, but ALA has a fact sheet on RFID that outlines the history of articles in the library literature. It’s pretty consistent with my as-yet-unposted personal bibliography of RFID articles (see the blog to-do list). I don’t know of any article in the librarian journals that ALA missed.

NCC calls for more awareness of RFID privacy issues

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:46 am

Jo Best at Silicon.com reports that the National Consumer Council (U.K.) has published a document calling upon the government to examine its current regulatory framework regarding RFID. They say consumers have been left out of the discussion on RFID privacy implications and they warn of widespead backlash should the technology proliferate without consumers awareness and consent.

The report, “Calling in the Chips” is available in PDF from the NCC site. [thanks RFID News]


Filed under: — Laura @ 9:32 am

An astute reader pointed out an error in my post about increased read ranges (many thanks!). That post should have read 11 meters not 11′. Yes, that’s about 33 feet. Do keep in mind that many of these developments pertain to commericial RFID equipment and haven’t yet been implemented by the library RFID vendors. Yet, it is still food for thought.


SFPL Approves RFID

Filed under: — Laura @ 1:54 pm

Everybody has probably heard this already, but, the SFPL Library Commission approved going forward with plans for RFID at their meeting last night. I’m sorry I’m late posting the information. I’ve touring a RFID installation at Oakland Public Library. I’ll post a roundup of articles discussing the SFPL decision after I return to Los Angeles.


California Connected Salon on RFID

Filed under: — Laura @ 12:18 pm

The online bulletin board for the California Connected episode on RFID is up and running. See Discussions :: CaliforniaConnected - RFID: Privacy vs. Efficiency.


Tag Reader with 11′ range developed

Filed under: — Laura @ 3:09 pm

The RFID web log reports on a low power RFID system that purportedly can read tags from 11 feet away. Looks like Moore’s law may be applied to RFID systems a bit faster than we think.

New Zealand Library going RFID

Filed under: — Laura @ 3:03 pm

Mankau Libraries is accepting bids from RFID vendors. [via LISnews and Stuff NZ]

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