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3M Launches Tag Data Manager for Libraries

The software upgrade will enable libraries to add a variety of tag data formats to their RFID systems, and to provide a migration path to the proposed ISO RFID tag data standard.
By Beth Bacheldor
To use the new 3M Tag Data Manager, most libraries' existing 3M systems will require a simple software upgrade, Haas says, adding that some older systems will require a firmware upgrade, which typically necessitates a service representative to come to the library and load 3M Tag Data Manager onto the systems. Once the systems have been upgraded, libraries can add any tag data formats they need by installing them via a CD, including the four country-specific European formats.

"The Tag Data Manager gives libraries peace of mind that the technology they are using won't become irrelevant, and they can move toward a standard as it becomes available," Haas explains. "Many libraries share books, and this gives our [RFID] readers the ability to read all the tags that are out there on the market, so now libraries can share books and read the tags."

The 3M announcement coincides with news that an international standard is nearing completion. ISO published recommendations for a library tag data format earlier this month, and Haas says many expect there will be an official standard from the organization by year's end. His company is working with ISO on the proposed standard (ISO 28560), and currently has a representative serving on a committee of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), ISO's U.S. member organization, which is helping to develop uniform standards.

In addition, 3M has also announced that its own proprietary tag data format will be available to any customer that requests it. "We previously did not publish our tag data format," Haas says, "not because we didn't want to, but because we just didn't think customers would want it." But 3M's customers have told the company they do want access to the format, so they can use it to write tags themselves.

"Our customers would really like, for peace of mind, to have tag our data format, particularly until a standard is announced and adopted," Haas says. The document containing 3M's tag format mapping can be requested online here.

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