At the heart of automated library system, whether EM (Electro Magnetic, RF (Radio Frequency) or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) are the tags, tapes or barcode labels. There are hundreds of millions of tagged items occupying library shelves and stockrooms all processed (issued, returned, stock-checked) using standard equipment available from a range of suppliers.
A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data relating to the object to which it is attached. Their use spread to many tasks that are generically referred to as automatic identification and data capture (AIDC).
They and ElectroMagnetic (EM) tapes have been used successfully in libraries for many years but with the introduction of radio frequency technology, with it’s ability to read out of the line of sight and better data storage has become the favoured method of media tracking.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Some tags are powered by electromagnetic induction from magnetic fields produced near the reader. Some types collect energy from the interrogating radio waves and act as a passive transponder. Other types have a local power source such as a battery and may operate at hundreds of meters from the reader.
In the last few years library professionals have collaborated in a most extraordinary way to bring the benefits of RFID to their customers and their stock management. This co-operation has resulted in compatible standards in chip design, tag performance and reliability in an open systems market.
This standardisation has enabled suppliers to extend the opportunities and benefits, in creating both hard and software solutions to create a safer and more exciting library environment.
2CQR will continue to work with like-minded suppliers to ensure librarians continue to have access to the advantages, and are made aware of any potential dangers new technology can bring.