The US Data Model and Encoding Library RFID Tags

I've suggested many times that somewhere along the way, we are going to need to find a way to test the encoding of our RFID tags.  Now that we have a US Data Model, libraries need to be able to ensure that their encoded tags comply with ISO 28560-2.  At this point, the only company that I know of that can do such a thing is Convergent Software (out of the UK).

Materials Handling Automation to Reduce Operating Costs

Co-presented this session with Alan Kirk Gray (Darien Library), Gretchen Freeman (Salt Lake County Library) and John Callahan (Palm Beach County Library). Session was sponsored by PLA.

I provided the overview of the materials handling automation market and then each presenter talked about what they learned about how to reduce operating expenses as part of their implementation and operation of an automated materials handling system.

Our key take-aways:


RFID in Context - Libraries Won't be Walmarts

Co-presented with Alan Bern (Berkeley Public Library), Marilyn Sheck (Seattle Public Library), and Margaret Hazel (Eugene Public Library). Program was sponsered by the Intellectual Freedom Committee. The point of the session was to explain how the RFID technology used in libraries is different from what is used by Walmart and other supply-chain applications.  

Slides are no longer available.

Update from the Exhibit Floor

Yesterday the Exhibit Hall opened and I spent some time with vendors learning what's new.  Here's what I found out.

Envisionware has a new(ish) kiosk along the lines of Evanced BranchAnywhere.  It was debuted at PLA but I guess I missed it.  It's a nice looking product.  Three models available in varying capacities:  200, 400, 800.  The one on display is the 400 item model.  What I like about this product is its simplicity.  No giant cranes for putting the items that are returned back in the slots.  Instead returns are sorted into one of 5-6 bins inside so staff can quickly grab the right bin to do whatever needs to be done (e.g. reload the items in one bin, take this bin back to the library to fill holds, etc).

What to Do About the Newly Adopted ISO 28560 Data Model?

The objective of the new U.S. Data Model for RFID (NISO Document RP-6-2012) is to create an environment where every library can use every other library’s RFID tag regardless of the supplier. In addition, hardware from any RFID vendor should be interoperable and the systems should be free from proprietary interfaces that make the hardware work with any given ILS. If libraries adopt the U.S.

U.S. Data Profile Finalized: ISO 28560-2 it is!

NISO has finalized their recommendation and the U.S. Data Profile is finally resolved.  They've settled on ISO 28560-2 which was the same recommendation in the version they released for public comment.  I haven't had a chance to see if there are any changes but will keep you posted.

Having a U.S. Data Profile for Library RFID is fantastic for libraries.  Now...all you have to do is put pressure on your vendors to transition your library to the new standard.  Interoperability here we come!

RFID Survey Shows Libraries Don't Know WHAT They're Using

Mick Fortune has released the first results of this year's RFID survey. Mick does this survey every year in the UK.  This year, Alan Butters (Australia) and I asked Mick to try for a global reach with the survey and we succeeded.  The survey includes respondents from several countries around the world and include over 50 libraries from the U.S. and over 50 from Australia.

Global RFID in Libraries Survey

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.