18. October 2012 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized

I’m often asked (or ‘challenged’ might be more accurate) what benefits might accrue from using the ISO data standard for library use of RFID. I’ve always said that it’s not for me to suggest how standards might be used, (indeed it’s not really my ‘job’ to do anything of course) – but I think standards make life easier and encourage innovation so I’ve been supporting them for some time now.

Very recently two UK developments have come to my attention that could have a major impact on libraries using RFID – and reinforce the need for them to do them in a structured way.

The first is the Conarls ILL survey that was published on UK lists earlier this week. Since it went out in the name of one of my oldest friends in the library world, Mike McGrath, I wrote to him to ask why there was no mention of RFID anywhere in the survey. Apparently no-one thought it might be relevant. Which is odd since the Danish national lending model – which I believe is the goal we’re aiming at here – is pretty much built on the Danish standard for RFID data. It is this standard that was the starting point for ISO 28560 – the international standard – and both provide for the name of an owning library to be encoded in RFID tags.

Clearly in an ILL or consortia system it’s much better if everyone agrees what codes should be used so ISO 28560 (and the UK data model – a subset of 28560) specify the use of ISIL codes – managed by the British Library (or provided by OCLC). Why this wasn’t mentioned in the survey is a bit of a mystery so I thought I just remind subscribers to this list that it’s there, and it’s a good idea to use it.

The other interesting development – notified to me by a book supplier – concerns supplier codes being stored on RFID tags. Apparently several universities are now asking for this information to be encoded on tags (although I confess I can’t think why). Nonetheless the data standard does indeed provide for this eventuality so it’s a perfectly valid request. The CILIP/RFID committee that drew up the UK data model (and which I chaired for a while) determined to include this element in the UKDM but did not establish values that could be entered. (None of us could think why it might ever be used either!). We determined to wait until there was a demand before deciding which values would be valid.

Since this has now happened I have alerted BIC – as guardians of the UKDM – to the issue and there will shortly be a consultation to decide how best to implement a code table. If you are one of the institutions considering doing this it might be a good idea to wait for the values to be set rather than creating some local code that won’t be understood by anyone else. It is your choice of course – but European libraries should bear in mind the requirement that will most likely be coming down the pipe from the EU next year – to be able to identify all the data being stored on your tags.

 

2 Comments

  1. “The other interesting development – notified to me by a book supplier – concerns supplier codes being stored on RFID tags. Apparently several universities are now asking for this information to be encoded on tags (although I confess I can’t think why).”

    Do you think it’s possible that in the future MARC records could be delivered via RFID?

  2. Hi John
    Sorry for the delay – your comment was hidden by my WordPress client 🙁

    I think the answer is ‘no’. MARC would defeat the storage capacity of most current tags and I’m not sure how the process would work? I presume you’re considering some kind of CIP entry at the point of publication? One problem with that is likely to be that publishers mostly use a different frequency to that found in most libraries. A complete redesign of ILS provision might accommodate MARC on tags but I don’t think that’s really very likely either.

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