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
Absysnet 3M 2
Absysnet (GFI) Nedap 1
Access-IT FE Technologies 3
AMLIB Envisionware 3
AMLIB FE Technologies 6
Archimed 3M 1
Archimed Nedap 4
Astec GMBH Bibliotheca Group 2
Aurora Information Technologies FE Technologies 1
Auto-graphics 3M 1
Axiell 2CQR 1
Axiell 3M 1
Axiell Bibliotheca Group 12
Axiell DTech International 2
Bibliomondo Bibliotheca Group 1
Bibliomondo Nedap 1
BiblioTech FE Technologies 1
C3RB Bibliotheca Group 1
C3RB Nedap 2
Capita 3M 4
Capita Bibliotheca Group 20
Capita DTech International 2
Civica 3M 4
Civica Adilam 1
Civica Bibliotheca Group 6
Civica Civica 2
Civica FE Technologies 9
Decalog 3M 2
Decalog ident (Bibliotheca) 1
Decalog Nedap 1
EOS Inteletto 1
EOS FileTrail 1
Equinox Bibliotheca Group 1
EVER Team 3M 2
EVER Team Nedap 1
Evergreen 3M 1
Evergreen Bibliotheca Group 3
Evergreen In-house 1
Ex Libris 3M 11
Ex Libris Bibliotheca Group 11
Ex Libris Checkpoint 1
Ex Libris FE Technologies 1
Ex Libris InfoMedis 1
Ex Libris Lyngsoe 1
Ex Libris MK Technologies 1
Ex Libris Nedap 1
Ex Libris TechLogic 1
Fa. datronic; WinBIAP Nedap 1
HKA (BicatWise) Kno-Tech 1
Infor 2CQR 1
Infor 3M 1
Infor Bibliotheca Group 7
Infor DTech International 1
Infor Intrepid 1
Infor Nedap 1
Innovative Interfaces 2CQR 1
Innovative Interfaces 3M 17
Innovative Interfaces Bibliotheca Group 5
Innovative Interfaces Envisionware 2
Innovative Interfaces FE Technologies 1
Innovative Interfaces Libramation 1
Innovative Interfaces RFID Library Solutions 1
IS (Oxford) 3M 4
IS (Oxford) DTech International 1
IS (Oxford) Bibliotheca Group 4
IS (Oxford) PSP Asset Protection 1
Koha 3M 2
Koha Bibliotheca Group 1
Koha Envisionware 1
Libero 3M 1
Libero DTech International 1
Libero FE Technologies 8
Liblime (PTFS) Bibliotheca Group 1
Mandarin Libramation 1
MLS PSP Asset Protection 1
MondoIn Bibliotheca Group 1
OCLC Bibliotheca Group 3
OCLC Easycheck 2
OCLC FE Technologies 1
OCLC Nedap 2
Polaris 3M 4
Polaris Bibliotheca Group 7
Polaris Data4 1
Polaris Envisionware 1
Polaris FE Technologies 1
Polaris MK Technologies 1
Polaris TechLogic 3
SirsiDynix 2CQR 2
SirsiDynix 3M 19
SirsiDynix Bibliotheca Group 24
SirsiDynix Checkpoint 3
SirsiDynix DTech International 3
SirsiDynix Envisionware 2
SirsiDynix FE Technologies 16
SirsiDynix Invengo 1
SirsiDynix Nedap 4
SirsiDynix PV Supa 1
SirsiDynix RFID Library Solutions 1
SirsiDynix TechLogic 3
Softlink 3M 2
Softlink FE Technologies 2
Software Co-operative Bibliotheca Group 1
VTLS Bibliotheca Group 2
VTLS FE Technologies 2


  • And which systems (LMS/ILS vs RFID) are operating in which markets/jurisictions, and how active that market is in RFIS ? And any differences between Public, FE and HE (Other – e.g. Prisons?) markets? And which technologies are being adopted? And which kit – Kiosk, AMH, Desktop, handheld?

    And – the $64,000 question – how well is it all working, let alone what might work in future?

  • With all due respect to Mick for his never ending work to help libraries understand all things RFID, the data presented in this survey cannot be considered complete or comprehensive due to the fact that not all RFID enabled libraries responded to his survey. I can appreciate Mick’s lack of eagerness to publish this list for all the reasons he states and agree that any library searching for the right RFID provider would be better off to do their homework to assure project success and to build a relationship with a reputable company that can be depended upon.

    With that said, I would like to provide readers a more complete list of ILS systems that Tech Logic has experience in integrating RFID services with.

    ILS Vendor # of Installations
    Sirsi-Dynix 123
    TLC 68
    III 12
    VTLS 10
    Polaris 5
    Evergreen 4
    Exlibris 3
    Koha 2
    Alma 1

  • Thanks Gary
    Three other suppliers wrote to me to complain about their under representation on this list. I invited all of them to make a similar comment but all three declined to do so. My task would be much simpler if suppliers told me who their clients are but so far none have offered so I can only appeal to the librarians for help.

    You’re quite right – an entry in the table is NO indication of a system’s suitability for purchase. All it tells you is that these two companies have figured out how to make a solution work in this many instances. Followers of the US RFID list will have been reading – only this week – about the challenges of making the same functionality available across multiple platforms. There is only one way that librarians can be sure that the solutions they buy can be transferred to different partners and that is to ensure they buy from suppliers that support the same standards – for data, frequency and communication. And not just for RFID applications.

    Decisions as important and expensive as buying RFID should not be made by looking at a table or calling up your colleagues. There is no easy route, substitute for doing the research.

    Rant over. In the interests of democracy I urge other suppliers to follow Gary’s example – at least we’d have complete data that way even if it doesn’t help you make a decision. There’s plenty of help on elsewhere on this blog and on my website you can use more profitably.

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