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May 14, 2013
My role as a library RFID consultant is to advocate for the library at several levels. The most obvious way is to work directly with a library - ideally starting when RFID is just a twinkle in their eye. I help them understand what the technology does and doesn't do and what they need to think about as they move forward. The engagement might start early and go all the way through implementation. Or it could just be for some of the pieces along the way. Ideally, I work with the library on the procurement so I can help ensure that they are asking for the things that are most important like standards compliance and performance guarantees, and that the library is addressing their own needs and not just using some raggedy 'ol RFID RFP they found online somewhere.
I like to work with libraries on the demo portion of the procurement too. This is where the rubber meets the road. I've seen good vendors go down in flames at demos. So, it is important to have a solid balance of a good procurement document and a demanding demo.
But you can't always get hired by the library. So, I try to talk about RFID issues whenever I can to help get the information out. Webinars, conferences, and any other place where two or more librarians gather..... I write about it and sometimes get paid for the writing. Most often not.
The second kind of library advocacy I do is with the vendors. The only way for me to provide good information to libraries is to really know the vendors. To that end, I've visited 3M, Bibliotheca, Tech-Logic and Lyngsoe offices and gotten tours of many of their installations. I didn't see the HQ but I did get a nice tour from D-Tech as well. I also make a point of visiting these vendors as well as some of the other players I haven't had a chance to visit yet like Envisionware and MK Sorting to find out what their latest offerings are, what issues they are encountering, and how they are handling issues of concern to me.
In addition to learning about their products, I also share what I see in the libraries. I talk about what is or isn't working, what new product ideas I've got and wish they would develop, and I give them any feedback I can that might make them a better provider to libraries. I see that as an important aspect of my library advocacy as well.
The third kind of advocacy I do is on the standards front. Before the RFID data model was announced last year, I had a lot of back channel conversations with other people involved in library RFID standards. During this time, I developed some very important relationships with my counterparts in other parts of the world: Mick Fortune and Alan Butters. Both of these men are RFID consultants. Mick in the UK and Alan in Australia. The UK and Australian libraries settled on a data model long before NISO did here in the US. And we are all using the same basic approach (ISO 28560-2) so I have been able to benefit enormously from their work.
The three of us share the belief that RFID standards are good for libraries because they make interoperability possible (ideally) and provide a level of security for libraries (hopefully)....the theory being that standards are generally very thoroughly vetted before being finalized. So, libraries that utilize standards are less likely to get caught having made any real big mistakes. As such, we all take our role in the standards process very seriously and we struggle to understand the technology (some of us struggle more than others....) but none of us are engineeers so this isn't always easy. Still, each of us has deepened our knowledge of the technology significantly over the years in order to keep abreast of the issues and to offer opinions to key players in the RFID marketplace.
I joined the NCIP Standing Committee in order to more effectively lobby on behalf of RFID standards. As I've noted, my warm reception to that committee has been a great relief and I feel confident that my contributions there will be meaningful. In fact, I think I've already made a big difference. And while working on that committee, I'm also working closely with Mick and Alan to make sure we are a united front. They work on other standards bodies. All in all, I feel it's a great responsibility and a privilege to be in this unique role.
May 7, 2013
If you haven't signed that RFID contract yet, you may want to set down your pen and check one thing....is the chip in your vendor's RFID tag capable of locking and password-protecting your content as well as the AFI and EAS registers? If not, don't sign that contract. Here's why....
May 2, 2013
"ISO tags" can mean a lot of different things. For a long time, when vendors said they had "ISO tags," they meant that the tags comply with ISO-15693 which is a standard that applies to the physical tag itself. That was okay for awhile but now what we are looking for in the physical tag is compliance with ISO 18000-3, Mode 1.
The reason it is important to specify ISO 18000-3, Mode 1 is because of the Application Family Identifier (AFI). This is a special register on the tag. It isn't a field that contains data - I'm not addressing content on the tag in this post. The AFI register is a special feature of the tag separate from the data elements and the chip itself.
So, this AFI register is what the ISO 28560 compliant tag uses for security. And security is more broadly defined than you might think. The AFI, when used properly, indicates that the item to which it is affixed is either a "circulating library item" or a "non-circulating library item." So, not only does it tell your library security gates to alarm when it sees a noncirculating library item leaving the building, it also ensures that security gates at Kohl's ignore your library books. Similarly, when someone walks into your library with an item tagged with an ISO 18000-3 tag (and there are lots of other industries that use them), it ensures that your gates don't alarm.
Apr 30, 2013
One of my clients, Salt Lake City Library, is kicking some RFID tagging booty! They are tagging in teams of two using 3M Conversion Stations. While most of the team of averaging about 300 items tagged per hour, one of their energizer bunny teams (not surprisingly from the Children's Department) hit the 650 books in an hour mark. Very impressive!
And if you always wondered what it means to RFID tag your collection, check out these great little videos.
Apr 25, 2013
I just got back from attending my first NCIP Standing Committee meeting at OCLC headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. It turned out to be a far better experience than I could have imagined. The people working on this committee are dedicated to making NCIP the "go-to" protocol for communications with the ILS/LMS. My objective going there was to possibly challenge that idea insofar as my intention was to introduce them to the Library Communcation Framework (LCF) - a protocol being developed in the U.K. by people who aspire to make LCF the library "go-to" protocol.
Mar 4, 2013
Discovery to Delivery: Rethinking Resource Sharing
Preconference– June 28, 2013 in Chicago
ASCLA’s Physical Delivery Interest Group and RUSA’s Rethinking Resource Sharing Steering Committee have teamed up to plan an important preconference on June 28, 2013 at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, “Discovery to Delivery: Rethinking Resource Sharing.” Please join us for this important discussion.
This event will provide valuable insight for academic, public, and consortia librarians/staff who manage or work in the areas of interlibrary loan, physical delivery, systems (ILS/discovery), circulation, and ebooks/ejournals on the challenges and opportunities libraries face in the future of discovery and resource sharing.
Resource sharing is approaching a crossroads. Our current models may not be effective in the coming years. The circulation and physical delivery of traditional library materials is flattening after years of double-digit growth.
Copyright laws are not the same as a library license agreement for access to an ebook or ejournal article. Many academic libraries are expending 75% or more of acquisitions budgets on econtent and public libraries are spending 5% and this proportion is rising. How will we lend and borrow with our resource-sharing partners as content becomes more and more virtual?
Library vendors and the open source community are developing and improving discovery tools. Are they library patron centric? Which features of our discovery tools hold promise for the future? How can libraries develop the most effective tools?
The speaker lineup includes, Anya Arnold of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, where resource sharing is a primary goal. Anya will deliver the keynote address on the latest trends in discovery to delivery. The program also includes three panels on the topics: State of the art in discovery; Costs and innovation for ILL and eBooks; and Innovations and trends in physical delivery. Jamie LaRue, an ebook pioneer from the Douglas County Colorado Library will discuss the economics and innovations of ebook access. Lars Leon, University of Kansas, will speak on recent cost analysis for ILL. Marshall Breeding, library consultant, will discuss his recent findings on discovery as part of a panel of librarians from shared ILS systems in the public and academic environments.
Lori Ayre, library consultant, will discuss the state-of-the-art and a vision for the future of delivery.
Feb 26, 2013
Do You Have Something to Make Noise About?
Deadline March 15, 2013
This year's CLA Conference is going to be the best ever and we need your program or poster submission to help make it so!
We are looking for presentations that are interactive, interesting, and innovative. Will your session inspire and engage the people in the rooms, create a buzz in the Exhibit Hall, and raise the roof of the Convention Center?! If so, we want you!
Not only do we need your program submissions, we will also need you to vote on some of the programs. We'll be selecting a batch of programs for crowdsourcing: before completing the final slate of programs, everyone will be able to put in their "thumbs up" for their favorite programs. So stay tuned!
Help us make this conference the best one yet and submit your most fabulous program or poster session today! Here's how!
Dec 19, 2012
Thanks to Michael Peters you can provide this critical feedback to the developers. What JSPAC features do you think are most important? Which features should the developers make sure get into TPAC before JSPAC is end-of-lifed?
How to do it? Respond to this informal survey and make your voice heard.
Dec 4, 2012
On June 6, 2012 Library Journal announced that 3M would be donating the copyright for SIP to NISO which would mean that NISO "will now have responsibility for future development and ongoing maintenance of SIP."
The article also correctly points out that
SIP is the de facto standard for communication between library self-service devices and the wide variety of integrated library systems (ILS) that libraries use. It provides the crucial common language that makes possible such widespread functions as self checkouts, automated materials handling systems, PC management systems, or fine and fee payment transactions.
In other words, SIP is really important when we try to integrate ANYTHING with our ILSs. So, given its importance you'd think that there might be something in the works for 2013 at NISO but alas SIP is not the subject of discussion at any of the scheduled 2013 NISO Events.
Nov 18, 2012
I have just returned from the UK, where I spoke at the RFID in Libraries Conference. While there, I met with representatives from the Book Industry Communications (BIC) and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) as well as RFID vendors. BIC and CILIP are two UK entities roughly equivalent (very roughly) to the BISG (Book Industry Study Group) and ALA.