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Technology and Libraries:RFID vs. Barcodes

Technology and Libraries:RFID vs. Barcodes a presentation given at MELCOM International 27th Conference
May 23-25, 2005 Alexandria, Egypt
Houeida Kammourié-Charara
Head, Information Systems Department
University Libraries
Notre Dame University-Louaizé

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Technology and Libraries:RFID vs. Barcodes

  1. 1. Technology and Libraries: RFID vs. Barcodes Houeida Kammourié-Charara Head, Information Systems Department University Libraries Notre Dame University-Louaizé MELCOM International 27 th Conference May 23-25, 2005 Alexandria, Egypt
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>When automating a library the following steps are to be considered: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Purchasing a Library Information System </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Converting the present shelf list into computer language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adding barcodes to the library items; and assigning barcodes to users. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Barcodes enable library staff to process materials and information quickly and accurately. </li></ul><ul><li>Nowadays a new technology is starting to replace barcodes: RFID. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Barcodes <ul><li>A standard method of identifying the manufacturer and product category of a particular item. </li></ul><ul><li>Barcodes were adopted in the 1970s because the bars were easier for machines to read than optical characters. </li></ul><ul><li>They can be read with barcode readers, one barcode at a time, line of sight is required. </li></ul><ul><li>Barcodes have different codes: Codabar, Code 39, Code 128, etc. [1]. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Code 39 is used in several Lebanese libraries. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Photocomposed laminated barcodes are recommended; because they have a life span much longer than other types. They are resistant to fading and scratching. </li></ul><ul><li>The use of barcode protectors can increase barcodes life span. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Barcode Formats <ul><li>Smart barcodes: Used when doing a retrospective conversion; they include: Title, author, barcode, shelfmark, institution name and location (optional) and any other data specific to the institution. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SHOULD be applied on a specific item. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dumb barcodes: Used for new items entering the library collection and system; they include a barcode and the institution name. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be applied randomly on any item. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. What is RFID? <ul><li>RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. It is a new technology recently used in libraries [2] . </li></ul><ul><li>RFID is a wireless, non-contact data capture technology used to read or write information from or to a tag [3] . </li></ul>
  6. 6. RFID History <ul><li>“ 1940 - 1950 Radar refined and used, major World War II development effort. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>RFID invented in 1948. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1950 – 1960 Early explorations of RFID technology, laboratory experiments. </li></ul><ul><li>1960 – 1970 Development of the theory of RFID. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start of applications field trials. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1970 – 1980 Explosion of RFID development. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tests of RFID accelerate. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Very early adopter implementations of RFID. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1980 – 1990 Commercial applications of RFID enter mainstream. </li></ul><ul><li>1990 – 2000 Emergence of standards. RFID widely deployed. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>RFID becomes a part of everyday life” [4] . </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. RFID System Requirement <ul><li>“ A system requires, in addition to tags, a means of reading or interrogating the tags and some means of communicating the data to a host computer or information management system. </li></ul><ul><li>A system will also include a facility for entering or programming data into the tags, if this is not undertaken at source by the manufacturer” [5] . </li></ul>
  8. 8. Areas of Application for RFID <ul><li>RFID applications are applied in different sectors of industry, commerce and services where data is to be collected. RFID is used for hundreds of applications such as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Preventing theft of automobiles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managing traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transportation and logistics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manufacturing and Processing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Security </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Controlling access of vehicles to public and private areas i.e., residential compounds, airports, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Animal tagging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Waste management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time and attendance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Postal tracking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Airline baggage reconciliation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Road toll management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tracking library books [5] , and much more. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Standards <ul><li>RFID standards are in the stage of unification. However, the main standards pertaining to library RFID are SIP2 (Standard Interchange Protocol), ISO 15693 and ISO 18000-3. </li></ul><ul><li>SIP2 manages the communication between the RFID system and the Library Information System. </li></ul><ul><li>ISO 15693 -which defines the physical characteristics of the chip- was the standard used in libraries until the issuing of the ISO 18000-3 standard which will be employed with the frequency 13.56 MHz RFID tags used in libraries. ISO standards are used for communication between tags and tag readers. </li></ul><ul><li>The deficiency of SIP2 led the NISO to develop the Z39.83-2002 protocol to have more interoperability between RFID tags of different vendors, i.e., tags to be read by any reader [6], [7]. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ As standardization enabled the tremendous growth and widespread use of barcode, cooperation among RFID manufacturers will be necessary for promoting the technology developments and refinements that will enable broad-based application growth” [5]. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. RFID Components <ul><li>An RFID system has three components: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tags programmed with unique information. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Readers to read the tags (also known as sensors or interrogators). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A server or docking station which receives, decodes, and communicates the information with the Library Information System [2], [8] . </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. RFID Tag [2], [5], [9] <ul><li>The tag is paper thin, flexible and approximately 2”x 2” in size which allows it to be placed discreetly on the inside cover of any book in the library. </li></ul><ul><li>It consists of an etched antenna and a tiny chip which stores information (predefined by the library) including a unique ID number to identify each item. </li></ul><ul><li>It is usually covered by a label. </li></ul><ul><li>Although transponder is the technical term, the most common and preferred term by the Automatic Identification Manufacturers is tag. </li></ul><ul><li>Tags can be applied on all materials formats, including print, audiotape, videotape, CD/CD-ROM, and DVD, etc. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Tag Functionality [2], [5], [8] <ul><li>Passive/Active tags: All tags used in libraries are passive tags; They don’t have an internal battery source. They operate from the field generated by the reader. </li></ul><ul><li>Read Only: Tags do not have a write feature, which means that we can write to the tags only one time at the programming level. Thus, the information stored in the tag’s memory is unchangeable. </li></ul><ul><li>Read/Write: Information stored in the memory of read/write tags can be updated as required by the library. </li></ul><ul><li>Anti-collision: Several tags can be read simultaneously. However, the total number of tags that can be read and the speed of this action, will vary from tag to tag according to its specification. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Tag Memory Capacity <ul><li>The size of the memory should be selected according to the library needs, (the amount of information to be included). It varies between 64, 74, 94, 128, 256, 1024 and 2000 bits [2], [5] . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>256 bits is an adequate size for libraries. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>More memory is not necessarily better than less - it depends on the price, and the data transmission speed required by the library and it varies by vendor and library decision. </li></ul>
  14. 14. How Can Libraries Use RFID? <ul><li>Libraries can benefit from RFID in several activities. These include [10] : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Circulation of library materials: Check-out and check-in. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inventory management: Inventories are a basic task in libraries usually done every year or two to ensure that library materials are properly located in the collection. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Book processing: RFID streamlines the addition of new items to the library’s collection by eliminating additional tasks such as adding security strips, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. How It Functions? Theory <ul><li>“ The Reader powers the antenna to generate an RF field. When a tag passes through this RF field, the information stored on the chip is decoded by the reader, and sent to the server which in turn, communicates to the Library Information System” [11] . </li></ul><ul><li>Some RFID tags can be used to prevent theft in the library (The Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) mechanism). The anti theft component may be integrated into the chip itself [2] . </li></ul><ul><li>The security exits may be linked to the server which interrogates the database to conclude whether an alarm needs to be triggered or not. </li></ul>
  16. 16. How It Functions? Practice [12] <ul><li>Library materials have RFID tags, electronically programmed with information provided by the library to the RFID vendor. </li></ul><ul><li>When the user wants to check-out items all he needs to do is to go to the staff checkout workstation (or the self check-out) and to enter his user details. </li></ul>
  17. 17. . <ul><li>Then he just passes a book or a stack of books through the RF field. </li></ul><ul><li>When the tag has also the anti theft bit, the exit reader (or sensor) reads the information on the tag and the server, after checking against the circulation database, activates an alarm if the material is not properly checked out. </li></ul>How It Functions? Practice [6]
  18. 18. Returning Items <ul><li>Items can be returned whether to Circulation staff or through bookdrops. </li></ul><ul><li>When RFID readers are installed in bookdrops (interfaced with the Library Information System) the user record will be immediately updated and the items status will be changed accordingly [11], [12] . </li></ul>
  19. 19. Sorting Feature <ul><li>Some bookdrop stations have a sorting feature which allows the distribution of returned items [6] according to predefined sections in the library, i.e., reserves, DVD’s, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Tags can hold information that automatically directs the book sorter to separate materials that go to Library A from those that belong to Library B.” [11] . </li></ul>
  20. 20. Inventory Management <ul><li>With a hand-held inventory reader the librarian is able to conduct inventory counts without removing a single book from the shelf [2] . </li></ul><ul><li>Using wireless technology, the librarian can also identify items that are out of proper order [7] . </li></ul><ul><li>This feature is the most important advantage of RFID over barcodes. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Barcode Conversion into RFID <ul><li>Libraries switching from barcodes to RFID systems need to do a retrospective conversion of their existing barcoded collection. </li></ul><ul><li>The use of a conversion station or reader-writer, is needed to transfer the barcode identification number to an RFID tag either by keying or scanning the barcode [2], [7] . </li></ul>
  22. 22. Recommended Tag Functionalities <ul><li>The following tag functionalities are recommended by Richard Boss for implementing RFID: </li></ul><ul><li>Read/Write, passive. </li></ul><ul><li>13.56 MHz. </li></ul><ul><li>Possibility of programming at the library to add or modify information. </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-programmed with an identification number that cannot be modified. </li></ul><ul><li>Minimum memory of 256 bits. </li></ul><ul><li>Anti theft or security bit that can be turned on and off, and that triggers an alarm if an item not charged is read by the exit sensors. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Costs <ul><li>The cost of tags depends on the type and quantities that are purchased. </li></ul><ul><li>The average for library use tags is between $0.85 to over $1 per tag. However, some vendors are proposing RFID tags for $0.50 after negotiations [5] . </li></ul><ul><li>Once RFID is implemented widely in libraries all over the world, the price will certainly drop. </li></ul><ul><li>However, this is a vicious circle because manufacturers argue that a big demand will decrease the prices, and libraries are waiting for prices to decrease before implementing RFID. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Budgeting For RFID/As Proposed By Richard Boss <ul><li>A small library of 40,000 items should plan on a minimum budget of $70,000 for an RFID system. The shopping list would consist of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>40,000 tags @ $0.85 = $34,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One programmer/converter rental (three weeks) $750 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two staff stations @ $2,500 = $5,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two exit sensors @ $4,000 = $8,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One wireless portable scanner $4,500 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One server $15,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>222 hours of labor @ $8.00 = $1,775. The labor cost assumes a conversion rate of three tags per minute. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carpentry and electrical $975 </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Privacy Concerns [7], [12], [13] <ul><li>Some privacy concerns in the use of RFID tagging of library books has been raised by several bodies in particular by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). </li></ul><ul><li>These concerns were raised because insecure RFID tags permit inventorying and tracking of people according to their readings. </li></ul><ul><li>To overcome this issue, the following needs to be done: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collection of information should be limited to that needed for library purposes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize data on tag, with NO personal data encoded in RFID tags. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The library should adopt a privacy policy that encompasses its implementation of RFID. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is the duty of librarians to assist in protecting user privacy and alerting their users about the use of RFID. </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Library “To-do-list” When Implementing RFID [13] <ul><li>Providing public access to all the library policies and practices about the use of RFID systems. </li></ul><ul><li>Informing the users about the presence of tags as well as the readers location.   </li></ul><ul><li>Giving the library users the right to know the technical specifications of RFID tags.   </li></ul><ul><li>Signage about RFID system must be clearly displayed and easily understood by all users.   </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t allow tag-reading in secret. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Advantages (1) [7], [10], [11] <ul><li>Reducing injuries caused by the repetitive motions related to flipping books and angling books under barcode readers. </li></ul><ul><li>Replacing both the EM security strips or RF tags of older theft detection systems and the barcodes of the Library Information System. </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid charging/discharging of items because no line of sight is required and items can be read several at a time. </li></ul><ul><li>Users can self-charge items which shifts the work from staff to users. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Advantages (2) [7] <ul><li>Staff is relieved further when RFID readers are installed in bookdrops. </li></ul><ul><li>Readers reliability: Several vendors of RFID library systems claim an almost 100% detection rate using RFID tags; but since RFID system is a new technology no statistical data has been published to support this claim. </li></ul><ul><li>High-speed inventorying: RFID offers the ability to analyze and correct library inventories without handling the items. </li></ul><ul><li>RFID improves library workflow, staff productivity by relieving staff from doing simple tasks and concentrating on complicated and more advanced tasks. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Disadvantages (1) <ul><li>RFID tags are expensive. Not every library can afford their purchase [7] . </li></ul><ul><li>RFID standards are not unified between all vendors, which may have negative impact on libraries wishing to switch from one vendor to another. Their existing tags cannot be read by other vendors equipment. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Disadvantages (2) [2] <ul><li>RFID tags are vulnerable to compromise; A user can block the radio signal by wrapping the book in ordinary household foil or by placing two items against each other so one tag overlays another which may cancel the signals. </li></ul><ul><li>RFID tags are easy to remove if they are placed in an exposed position. </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy and security issues are still controversial. </li></ul>
  31. 31. RFID vs. Barcodes <ul><li>Long tag life because nothing comes into contact with them. </li></ul><ul><li>Expensive. </li></ul><ul><li>Can be read through desktops and book covers (no line of sight is required). </li></ul><ul><li>Storage capabilities. </li></ul><ul><li>One or a stack of books at a time (max. 8 to 10 usually). </li></ul><ul><li>Line of sight to read them is required. </li></ul><ul><li>Affordable price. </li></ul><ul><li>Needs a separate EM system for theft. </li></ul><ul><li>No storage of information. </li></ul><ul><li>Only one barcode can be read at a time. </li></ul><ul><li>No privacy concerns involved. </li></ul>
  32. 32. RFID in Lebanese Libraries <ul><li>Lebanese libraries (automated ones) are using barcodes for circulation purposes. </li></ul><ul><li>No libraries, as far as known, are using the RFID system. </li></ul>
  33. 33. RFID Future in Lebanon <ul><li>The future is for RFID because Lebanese universities are competing to attract students; thus, providing better services to students means more notoriety which leads to more chances to attract them. </li></ul><ul><li>However, due to budget constraints, RFID implementation in Lebanon is not considered as a short term project. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Conclusion <ul><li>The library profession must be encouraged, in collaboration with the concerned organizations, to develop best practices about RFID in Libraries. </li></ul><ul><li>Today, more and more libraries in the world are using RFID as it brings new functionality. However, its use is mainly in North America. </li></ul><ul><li>RFID has become very important for libraries that can afford such a costly technology. </li></ul>
  35. 35. RFID Vendors & Customers [7], [9], [12] <ul><li>Bibliotheca , </li></ul><ul><li>Checkpoint ,  </li></ul><ul><li>ID Systems ,  </li></ul><ul><li>Libramation ,  </li></ul><ul><li>3M , </li></ul><ul><li>TAGSYS represented by  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TechLogic , </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vernon , and  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>VTLS . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Marine Parade Community Library in Singapore. </li></ul><ul><li>New Hanover County Public Library in North Carolina </li></ul><ul><li>City Library at Santa Clara in California </li></ul><ul><li>University of Connecticut </li></ul><ul><li>University of Nevada in Las Vegas </li></ul><ul><li>San Francisco Public Library (in progress) </li></ul>
  36. 36. Any Questions? <ul><li>Thank you </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have money? Think RFID. </li></ul><ul><li>Houeida Kammourié-Charara </li></ul><ul><li>Head, Information Systems Department </li></ul><ul><li>Notre Dame University-Louaizé Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>LEBANON </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail </li></ul><ul><li>www. ndu . edu .lb </li></ul>
  37. 37. References <ul><li>1- “Code 39 Barcode Font.” Barcode store. 27 April 2005 < http://www. barcodestore .com/software/ bcfont /code39/index.html > </li></ul><ul><li>2- Boss, Richard W. RFID technology for libraries . Spec. issue of Library Technology Reports 39.6 (2003): 3-64. </li></ul><ul><li>3- “Glossary of RFID Terms.” RFID journal 29 April 2004 < http://www. rfidjournal .com/article/ articleview /208 > </li></ul><ul><li>4- “Shrouds of Time: the history of RFID.” 2001. Association of Automatic Identification Manufacturers . 26 April 2004. <http://www. aimglobal .org/technologies/ rfid /resources/shrouds_of_time. pdf .> </li></ul><ul><li>5- “Radio Frequency Identification – RFID A basic primer.” Vers. 1.11, 1999-09-28. Association of Automatic Identification Manufacturers . 29 April 2004. <http://www. aimglobal .org/technologies/ rfid /resources/papers/ rfid _basics_primer. htm > </li></ul><ul><li>6- Luidolt, Markus. “RFID-Standards in Libraries.” March 2004. BL Identification-Philips Semiconductors / BL Identification / MST T&L. DBC. 12 April 2005. < http://www. dbc . dk /Brugerseminar2004/Standards%20in%20Libraries. pdf > </li></ul><ul><li>7- Smart, Laura, and Louise Schaper. “ Making Sense of RFID ”. Netconnect . Suppl. of Library journal 129.17 (2004): 4-14. </li></ul>
  38. 38. References <ul><li>8- “What is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)?” Association of Automatic Identification Manufacturers . 27 October, 2004. < http://www. aimglobal .org/technologies/ rfid /what_is_ rfid .asp .> </li></ul><ul><li>9- Chachra, Vinod, and Daniel McPherson. “Personal Privacy and Use of RFID Technology in Libraries.” VTLS Visionary Technology in Library Solutions . 29 March 2004. < http://www. vtls .com/ >. Path: Featured Links; - RFID and Privacy Facts . </li></ul><ul><li>10- Schneider, Karen G. “RFID and Libraries: Both Sides of the Chip.” Nov. 2003. American Library Association . 27 October 2004. < oif / ifissues / rfid . htm > </li></ul><ul><li>11- Ward, Diane Marie. “RFID systems. The helping you buy series. Comparing competing library technology products: Your guide to vendor product facts.” Computers in libraries 24.3 (2004): 19-24. </li></ul><ul><li>12- Palmer, Martin. “RFID in action: a library case study”. 15 March 2005. Essex County Council Libraries. LBF Supply Chain Seminar. 10 March 2005. < http://www. bic .org. uk /palmer%20lbf05. pdf > </li></ul><ul><li>13- Schuyler, Michael. “RFID: Helpmate or conspiracy?” Computers in libraries 24.1 (2004): 22-24. </li></ul>