Library Stakeholders Meeting

Almost a full house for the meeting at CILIP HQ on Monday. Only D Tech had a more pressing engagement at the last minute and a packed meeting managed to fill 2 hours with some very useful discussion!

It became clear, quite early on, that there was widespread support in the room for a common data standard. Book suppliers being especially eager to find a solution to the problem of having a different set-up for every customer. None of the RFID companies present saw any advantage in maintaining the status quo and the group decided quite rapidly to agree to the adoption of ISO 28560-1.

After that, and some helpful guidance from Paul Chartier, it was a relatively simple task to further agree that 28560-2 offered us the greatest flexibility. The meeting duly decided to support the adoption of 28560-2 as the preferred model for the UK model once it is published later this year.

From a purely personal viewpoint I was delighted both with the attendance (this was the first time almost all the UK’s leading RFID and LMS companies had sat down together) and the outcomes. It would be easy to believe – as many libraries apparently already do – that there are no obstacles to the widespread deployment of what is undoubtedly an exciting technology, but we still have some way to go before we reach Nirvana. Further meetings and consultations will now  establish the best way for the technology to serve the interests of its investors.

At present we live in an almost entirely proprietary world.

  • Each RFID supplier uses their own tag data model in combination with their own unique hardware solutions – making it very difficult to use systems from any other company.
  • Libraries continue to find unique solutions to their problems. At this meeting representatives from Norfolk libraries explained how they added data to their tags to prevent unauthorised borrowing during LMS downtime – by creating tag data that cannot be read by anyone else. Currently they have no other choice.
  • LMS providers strive to offer enhanced functionality through innovative use of tag memory – creating solutions that cannot be migrated to any other LMS/RFID pairing.

What we have to do is enable choice without destroying creativity. To do that we have to agree on a number of issues among which are:

  • Which of the 25 available fields should we use?
  • How should the data in those fields be stored?
  • What is the recommended minimum data requirement?
  • By what means is the data transferred from LMS to RFID system – SIP, web services, something else?
  • Which new functions can/should we create?

The meeting decided unanimously that we should begin this process as soon as possible. BIC were charged with making recommendations for future meetings and for deciding how best to make the market aware of the impact these changes will have.

This blog will, over the coming weeks, seek to examine the issues outlined above in more depth.

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