Posted by Lori Ayre on September 7, 2006

Per BiblioTech, two more California libraries have decided to move to RFID. El Dorado County Library has chosen TechLogic and will roll out RFID as part of the construction of a new branch. Riverside County has chosen P.V. Supa. My concern with the choice to implement RFID today is that libraries may get stuck holding the bag when the data model standard finally gets adopted. The good news is that there is finally some progress being made in that regard. In fact, both Denmark and Finland have accepted the Danish Data Model which makes choosing a Finnish company like P.V. Supa possibly a better choice than some others. The data model standard for libraries is just getting started in the U.S. with the formation of a Technical Committee at NISO. In their last meeting meeting (June, 2006), the Committee notes: To facilitate real interoperability, all libraries should be utilizing standardized tag architectures. ISO 15693 is the standard most widely used in libraries at this point, and all ISO 15693-3 / ISO 18000-3 Mode 1 tags do support AFI. To further facilitate interoperability, all library RFID systems, regardless of security method, should use AFI codes authorized by ISO for use by libraries for library items. This facilitates interoperability with other applications. Such codes have not yet been assigned, but ISO JTC1 SC31 WG4 SG1 is working to secure a pair of codes which can be used by the library industry, based on a request from UK-based EDItEUR, and supported by information on AFI use in libraries provided by NISO. So, when those codes get assigned, what happens to all the libraries who already have RFID systems in place? The goal of the standards is to design a data model that accomodates remote borrowing and interlibrary loan...every library needs that! Again, from the meeting minutes: Systems should be designed so that should an AFI code or EAS bit be changed during an inter-library loan event, they will seamlessly reprogram the AFI code or EAS bit on the item back to a compatible setting upon its return to the owning library. Hopefully, the libraries making deals with RFID companies today have included in their negotiations a guarantee that their RFID vendor will provide an affordable and timely conversion to the new standard when it becomes official in the U.S.