Questions arising from the 2014 survey – 2. Which systems work together?
A perennial question is which library management systems have been successfully installed with which RFID solutions?
I’m never too eager to publish this information since I fear that some may simply look for their ILS/LMS and see which RFID suppliers they should consider. Why is that a bad idea? Well if you’re not buying a solution based on the data standards recommended by the various national bodies around the world (the vast majority of them based on ISO 28560) then I suppose it’s the only way you can be sure of buying something that might work.
There are however at least three reasons why this seems to me to be a rather short-sighted approach to decision-making.
Firstly, buying in a solution based on the following table could mean that you’re buying something that does not support data standards and could in fact limit your choices in the future since there’s no way to be sure that anything else you might decide to buy will work with what you have already.
Secondly, what happens if you change your ILS/LMS provider? Will your RFID solution still work? Whilst communication between systems may be based on 3M’s ageing and rickety SIP protocol many have been developed using a proprietary API developed for a particular system pairing.
And finally, for now, what about future developments? Knowing that your current self-service and circulation system providers can work together won’t guarantee that, for example, a future smartphone app will be able to access the information stored on your RFID tags. New providers are more likely to develop solutions that can read the majority of – probably standards based – tags in the market, not those that have only been used in a handful of applications.
With all those caveats in mind here is the data as provided by respondents to this year’s survey. Figures are for all countries and only show responses received in the survey. Some libraries reported using several suppliers many did not indicate which suppliers they used at all.
Regrettably the table does not indicate which products are being used at each site as this information was not sought in the survey. Since both LMS/ILS and RFID suppliers may support many different products it was simpler (for myself and the respondents) to collect information about the companies rather than the products.
|Library Management System (ILS)||RFID Supplier||# installed|
|Astec GMBH||Bibliotheca Group||2|
|Aurora Information Technologies||FE Technologies||1|
|Ex Libris||Bibliotheca Group||11|
|Ex Libris||FE Technologies||1|
|Ex Libris||MK Technologies||1|
|Fa. datronic; WinBIAP||Nedap||1|
|Innovative Interfaces||Bibliotheca Group||5|
|Innovative Interfaces||FE Technologies||1|
|Innovative Interfaces||RFID Library Solutions||1|
|IS (Oxford)||DTech International||1|
|IS (Oxford)||Bibliotheca Group||4|
|IS (Oxford)||PSP Asset Protection||1|
|Liblime (PTFS)||Bibliotheca Group||1|
|MLS||PSP Asset Protection||1|
|SirsiDynix||RFID Library Solutions||1|
|Software Co-operative||Bibliotheca Group||1|