Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

Libraries Adopt RFID By The Book

Four years ago, Rockefeller University Library became the first library to use RFID to track books. Dozens of others have followed suit. Do these systems pay off?
Sep 02, 2002—Sept. 2, 2002 - It was 1998 when Patricia Mackey realized she had a problem she could no longer ignore. The librarian for Rockefeller University Library was having increasing problems tracking the books and periodicals in her collection. The research university in upper Manhattan is home to post-doctoral students working on cutting edge research. They needed access to the biomedical research collection 24 hours a day.

RFID goes beyond theft prevention
Budgetary cutbacks meant that Mackey couldn’t keep staff working past 5 PM, so students were entrusted to check books out themselves. The system just wasn’t working. Students often took books at night without checking them out properly. Sometimes items wouldn’t be returned for months, even years, and no one knew who had them.

The solution to Mackey’s problem came in the form of a tiny microchip attached to an antenna – a simple RFID tag. Checkpoint Systems, the Thorofare, N.J., maker of RFID systems for retail applications, was working on a system designed specifically for libraries. Checkpoint was looking to test the system in a real environment. Mackey decided to be the proverbial guinea pig.

The library has tagged some 100,000 items in its collection with 2-inch by 2-inch RFID labels and installed a self-checkout station and RFID readers at the door. Teachers and students at the university all have photo IDs with either bar codes or magnetic stripes. When someone wants to check out a book, they simple swipe or scan their card, and place the book on a platform reader. The reader can scan a dozen books at once. The data is routed to a server that runs the circulation system, and the books are registered as checked out.

Longer-range RFID readers have been placed along side the library exit. When someone tries to leave with a book, the reader picks up the RFID tag number and checks it against a list of books that have been checked out. If there is a match, the person can leave. If there is no match, a short alarm sounds to remind the person to check out the book.

The library could strengthen the self-checkout system by having the doors remain locked when someone tries to leave with a book that hasn’t been checked out. But it didn’t want to use such draconian measures. Overall, the system has improved compliance just by making it easier for students to check books out themselves. The number of people doing so has increased sevenfold since the system went into place in 2000, and the library also knows which books are missing, since the tags are read at the door.

"Our biggest concern was knowing where the books and periodicals are so that professors and students would have access to information when they need it," Mackey says. "From that standpoint, the system is working very well."

Dozens of other libraries have begun introducing RFID for inventory, circulation and security purpose. In addition to Checkpoint, 3M Library Systems offers an RFID tracking system using smart labels from Texas Instruments. And French RFID systems provider Tagsys has teamed up with VTLS, an automated library system vendor, to offer a product for libraries. But the systems don’t come cheap, and librarians have to consider the potential benefits carefully.
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 1,796 words and 3 pages. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations