Posted by Lori Ayre on April 10, 2006

Just came back from the Oregon Library Association where I participated on a panel called RFID in Context: Libraries Won't be Walmarts. Other panelists included Marilyn Sheck of Seattle Public Library, Alan Bern of Berkeley Public Library, and Margaret Hazel of Eugene Public. We pointed out the benefits and limitations of the current library RFID technology and discussed what is likely down the road. As readers of my blog know, I'm not convinced that the current library RFID systems are worth the investment. Some studies are out there that will help us answer that question but since the oldest installation (in CA) is only six years old, its really too early to tell how RFID affects RSI injuries and how fast the return on investment is. We'll have more data available to answer those questions after the California State Library releases their report (underway now by Karen Coyle and Elena Engel). Here are the issues with first generation systems: (1) no meaningful standards. Data model standards (aka data map or schema) are a good three years away. NISO just formed a committtee to begin work on this. As a result of the lack of standards, current systems are incompatible; (2) there are persistent problems with metal interference (on DVDs and CDs in particular), and (3) tags that are in use are not as secure as they should be (this improves some as libraries move to ISO 18000-3 tags).