463 replies from librarians in 19 different countries were received.By far the largest number were from the UK and Australia, probably as a result of users in these two countries being more aware of the survey – which was advertised on the UK RFID list.The survey did receive a lot of support from the US RFID list but – unlike in Australia and the UK – we were unable to persuade either the professional bodies or standards agencies in the USA to promote the survey this year. We are heavily indebted to Frank Seeliger for his efforts in promoting the survey both in his native land and on the IFLA SIG website.
Public libraries appear to be the most interested in the technology - accounting for more than half the total responses received. From this point on the results displayed have been filtered to show answers from actual users - and de-duplicated to ensure only one response per organisation.
Most librarians don’t appear to know which frequency they are using.Concerns about the accuracy of these figures are further exacerbated by the fact that some libraries claimed to be using UHF with data standards that the frequency doesn’t support. Even so it seems clear that HF remains the most popular frequency in use worldwide.
Don’t knows have been excluded to give a clearer picture.With the exception of the USA HF solutions heavily outweigh UHF.More research is needed to understand why this is the case but the most likely explanation is the reliance of most RFID solutions on some form of ‘data model’ – something currently not supported by UHF solutions.
RFID has been in use in libraries for at least 12 years (some claim much longer) but the survey showed that large scale investment is a more recent event. The UK in particular showed a marked interest in the technology between 3 and 5 years ago while Australia’s peak was more recent (1-3 years). In the USA we found the greatest number of long term users whilst the number of libraries worldwide having invested only in the last year shows that interest continues to grow.
Most libraries appear to commit to an RFID strategy once they have decided to invest. Most of those in the “under 25%” group were in the first year of deployment.Interestingly the UK, despite having shown the most rapid recent growth in the number of organisations using RFID, do not appear to be as whole-heartedly committed full scale deployment.
Figures show respondents who rated these elements as “Very important”
Self-service loans and returns – whether a major reason for using RFID or not – is used by a massive majority of organisations.Until relatively recently it was also almost the only application available…
The figures appear to suggest that librarians have been very wise in their selection of sites when deploying self-service solutions. For example UK libraries, despite often deploying in less than 50% of sites are still achieving over 85% of loans managed by self-service devices.
Security – being easily included with RFID tags – is a popular “add-on” but from comments made is not always as successful as other methods. Returns handling is growing in popularity with other applications lagging behind. It will be interesting to see if increased use of standards changes this picture at all.
Once again the don’t knows are very high. Only the Australians, Americans and ‘Others’ were sure they had achieved ROI.
Interesting one this.This suggests that quality of support may not be as important as is sometimes thought since most librarians – despite not being prepared to recommend their supplier to others based on support alone – are still happy to do so overall. New Zealand libraries appear to be the least content with the support they receive – yet still recommend their solutions to others.
The question we asked was whether the solution in use did – or would – support SIP 3.0 or NCIP (for self-service).At the present time most ILS/RFID integration is driven by the ageing SIP protocol. New ways of integrating the two services are being deployed but most are the result of bilateral agreements between ILS and RFID suppliers.At the time of the survey there were two alternatives to this essentially proprietary approach to integration for circulation – SIP 3.0 and NCIP. Since then both of these protocols have become the property of NISO and we now await the result of their deliberations to see which will emerge as the NISO standard.The survey results suggest that the library community at large has very little interest in the outcome.
‘Data standards’ included any existing national model, ISO 28560-2 and ISO 28560-3. Very few libraries appear to be using any kind of data standard – possibly explaining why most are still only using self-service, overwhelmingly from a single supplier.It will be interesting to see if the recent publication of ISO 28560 will alter this picture over the next 12 months.
RFID means different things to different people – self-service is no longer a synonym – a few libraries don’t use RFID for this at all.No consensus (or even interest?) in standards or frequencies. It’s a supplier-ledmarket.Library system providers display little interest in potential of RFID data so integration is still very poor.Interoperability between RFID solutions desired but not realised. Standards would change this – but will they?US librarians in particular have been very critical of attempts to introduce standards – often see them as ‘stifling’ creativity.
RFID is an exciting, creative and innovative technology and RFID suppliers are eager to extend its use. No longer just about self-service or AMH. We need to consider how best to accommodate this reality in the way we approach the technology.Libraries appear content with what they have – even when it’s badly supported. Little interest or awareness among librarians of the advantages or disadvantages of different frequencies, protocols or standards.Lesson for the standards agencies really – need to promote their activities more – raise awareness of advantages of using standards rather than simply creating them.
Next survey needs to be much broader in scope – look at uses of RFID for asset management, access control etc.Gather more detail about current levels of interoperability and integration (or lack of it). Don’t assume there is any – also look at ‘closed loop’ solutions.Look at growing use of NFC – another form of RFIDReach a wider audience – especially in North America and non-English speaking marketsHelp needed!
Last year I had to pay my own way to Puerto Rico so I was very grateful to have received support from suppliers this time. Acceptance is not endorsement however – and for balance I’d be equally happy to receive support from other companies to get me to Singapore in 2013
2012 Library RFID Survey - report to IFLA/WLIC
The 2012 survey of RFID use in the Library.Library RFID Lessons learned and indicators for the future Mick Fortune Library RFID Ltd.
Overview • Who did it – and why. • The results • Some assumptions – and why they were wrong • Lessons learnedLibrary RFID • Next Year’s survey
Who did it? • RFID use in the UK surveyed since 2008. • In 2011 Lori Ayre (US) and Alan Butters (Australia) asked to join in. • Launched the first ‘global’ survey in January 2012Library RFID
Why? • Try and better understand a confusing global picture • Establish baseline for future surveys • Identify common practices • Assess market response to publication ofLibrary RFID data and communications standards. • Measure client satisfaction
Overview • More than 100 questions in the survey • A summary of responses has been published online. • Written report to be published in Alexandria (University of ManchesterLibrary RFID Press) • Supplier performance was shared confidentially with clients.
Replies by Country Austria, Netherlands (2) United States (65) Switzerland (6) New Zealand (11) Australia (166) Ireland (3) Germany (22) Sweden (3) Canada (14)Library RFID Belgium, Cyprus, India, Italy, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine United Kingdom (161) (1) 463 valid responses from 19 different countries
What frequencies are being used? Both, 3 HF, 102 Dont Know, 122Library RFID UHF , 23
Frequency by Country 45 40 35 30 25 % 20 HF 15Library RFID UHF 10 5 0
Years used 80 70 60 Other 50 New Zealand Germany 40 CanadaLibrary RFID 30 USA 20 UK 10 Australia 0 Less than 1-3 Years 3-5 years Over 5 1 year years
Extent of Deployment 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% Australia 40% UK USALibrary RFID 30% Other 20% 10% 0% All Over 50-75% 25-50% Under 75% 25%
Reasons for investing in RFID 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%Library RFID
Using Self-issue/check Total 6%Library RFID Yes No 94%
Percentage of loans managed by Self-Service 30% 25% 20% 15%Library RFID 10% 5% 0% less than 50-75% 75-85% 85-95% 95-100% 50%
Other uses 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20%Library RFID 10% 0%
Return on investment achieved? 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% Dont know 30% Yes 20%Library RFID No 10% 0%
How important is support? Would not recommend to others 60% 50% 40% 30% On SupportLibrary RFID 20% Overall 10% 0%
Who are the major suppliers*? 100 90 80 70 Others 60 50 New Zealand 40 Germany 30 Canada 20 USALibrary RFID 10 0 Techlogic UK 3M Nedap Envisionware 2CQR Axiell Australia Bibliotheca FE Tech D Tech Other Civica Easy Check ST Logitrack Plescon * Suppliers with fewer than 2 clients omitted
ILS Communication 60% 50% 40% 30%Library RFID 20% 10% 0% NCIP SIP 3.0 Neither Don’t know
Using data standards? Yes, 18% Dont know, 43%Library RFID No, 39%
Our assumptions… • RFID mostly used in conjunction with ILS/LMS. • Integration with other library systems is important. • Interoperability with other RFID systems is important.Library RFID • Standards are a good thing.
Major lessons learned • RFID is being used in ways we had not imagined (survey did not allow some of these to be recorded) • Close integration and interoperability not common.Library RFID • Little awareness among librarians of efforts being made by agencies to improve/expand usage.
Next Year • Extend coverage – Scope – NFC – TerritoriesLibrary RFID • Volunteers? – Contact firstname.lastname@example.org – Tell your colleagues!