RFID in Libraries


Mea Culpa: A clarification

Filed under: — Laura @ 9:13 am

In my last post regarding the dust-up experienced by the folks at Berkeley Public Library I misused the term “debunk.” I would like to ensure that the readers of this blog understand that BPL has not been debunked, only that Lee Tien and Peter Warfield appear intent on debunking the BPL with their commentary. Jackie Griffith sent me a detailed explanation of the issues mentioned in the Warfield and Tien piece, which I have posted with her permission below. As I intimated in my original post, the commentary used a unique interpretation of the facts. My apologies to Jackie and the BPL for any misunderstandings.

I was disappointed to see your blog entry on RFID at
Berkeley. I was disappointed because certainly you
knew that you could call or write me and I would at
least give you another perspective before you
published something unsubstantiated, written, at least
in part, by Peter Warfield.
I find this definition for “debunking"…repudiation:
the exposure of falseness or pretensions; “the
debunking of religion has been too successful” I found
that on WordNet2.
That suggests that you are stating that we were doing
something false or with pretensions.
In fact, as Mr. Warfield was told, what he had in
front of him about Berkeley Public Library’s injuries
was the list of injuries at the library as they are
reported by the worker. Do you know many people who
report their injury as an RSI? Mostly, in my
experience, they first report that they “pulled a
muscle” or they “strained” something. It is usually a
doctor who suggests that they have a RSI. The numbers
that Mr. Warfield has for direct RSI injuries come
from people who know that they have reinjured a
previous injury and thus, they report RSI. Mr.
Warfield was given the information on WC in this
format because the city will not release any
information in a way that would violate employee
What I have been saying and continue to say is that we
have $1 million in direct Workers Comp claims every 5
years. And, we have an additional $1 million in
indirect costs around WC. A significant proportion of
them are RSI. Last year, 14 out of 17 injuries were
RSI. Not by my count. By the city’s HR department.
And, the costs were not created by us or the HR
department but rather, by the consultant who was hired
to help the city reduce WC claims. Much of this was
published in the consultant’s study results in 2002.
Finally, I would point out that because RSI tend to be
ongoing, in at least one case in the last 5 years
the employee had to quit, they are also the most
expensive claims. In the case of workers who can no
longer work because of RSI, we will continue to pay
for years. Some city workers have been on disability
paid out by the city for years. Even if those costs
are incurred this year, we will continue to have to
pay them.
Beyond that, I am wondering if anyone can put a price
tag on a worker injury. If it only saved $100,000/year
but that meant that no worker had their career ended
or had to undergo surgery or had their range of motion
lessened, would that make the system any less
Anyway, the information is out there and available if
you want to check any of Mr. Warfield or Mr. Tien’s
Jackie Griffin


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