Posted by Lori Ayre on January 11, 2012

For the last four years Mick Fortune, consultant and blogger at RFID: Changing Libraries for Good (, has been running an annual survey of UK libraries’ use of RFID. Last year’s survey yielded the largest response so far with a total of 122 UK library authorities completing the questionnaire.


 Results are made available free of charge through a variety of channels.


What began as a simple count of self-service users (in response to an enquiry from the then UK national agency for libraries) has now grown into something approaching a full-scale audit of all the ways that libraries have found of exploiting the technology.


In the US, we don't have the history that Mick  and the UK libraries have about their use of RFID. But I thought we might be able to get started and build upon what Mick has done and Mick agreed to let us use his survey here in the U.S.  So we've modified it a bit to take into account some language differences ( we do all speak English, right?!) and we asked Alan Butters (, based in Australia , to participate as well.  Our goal is to obtain a more global view of this rapidly expanding, often confusing but always exciting market.  


The information gathered is used for a variety of purposes. At one level it provides a simple snapshot of the spread of the technology but the survey also provides a valuable resource for users to gain information about their supplier’s performance and other user’s experiences.  Individual reports are sent to all responders and their suppliers showing performance in key areas like reliability of equipment, speed of response etc. All these reports contain statistical information only – no-one is named!


One service the results have enabled Mick to provide has been to connect same supplier clients sharing similar issues to each other (with their consent of course).


Finally the information gathered helps all of us trying to improve the way in which RFID solutions operate, and particularly the ways in which they interoperate with other systems, to establish areas where closer attention might be needed. Input from UK librarians in previous years helped lead to the establishment of both a national data model for tags and a new communication protocol for tighter integration between management systems and RFID solutions.


There has possibly never been a more important time to make the right technology decisions so the survey also seeks to establish what we’ve already done, how successful we have been, and what those about to commit their organisations to using RFID expect for their investment. 


Please take a moment to complete it. This link will take you there:


The survey will be open until the end of January. First results will be published during February.