Imagine a library system that knows where every book is and allows visitors to return and issue books automatically. That dream is slowly becoming a reality as libraries adopt the use of tiny Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags for tracking books and audiovisual items. Tiny RFID tags can store detailed information about an item, which is then sent via radio waves to a reading device - either a handheld or fixed unit. The technology is used for tracking the movement of goods in the retail industry, but it is making inroads in other areas, such as library management systems. The main benefit is that books can be checked quickly using a handheld reader, reducing stocktaking time from weeks to half a day. Each book also retains details of its usage, which can be read in an instant. The tag can be used as a security device, triggering alarms if a book is removed without being issued. With automated check-ins, it can allow 24-hour returns, like a video shop. Because most libraries have library management IT systems, the data for the tags can be generated from the library's database. The data can include a number of fields such as the book's unique identifier, loan record and bar code number. The tag is manually stuck into the book's inner spine or close to the spine in the inside cover, sometimes using special non-damaging glue. The library then uses handheld readers to perform stocktakes, while fixed readers at issuing desks scan books entering or leaving the library. A stack of books can be scanned in seconds, significantly reducing the time and staff needed to manage loans. In some libraries, this activity has become partly self-service.
RFID for Libraries :- RFID can be used library circulation operations and theft detection systems. RFID-based systems move beyond security to become tracking systems that combine security with more efficient tracking of materials throughout the library, including easier and faster charge and discharge, inventorying, and materials handling (Boss 2004). This technology helps librarians reduce valuable staff time spent scanning barcodes while charging and discharging items. RFID is a combination of radio -frequency-based technology and microchip technology. The information contained on microchips in the tags affixed to library materials is read using radio frequency technology, regardless of item orientation or alignment (i.e., the technology does not require line-of-sight or a fixed plane to read tags as do traditional theft detection systems). The RFID gates at the library exit(s) can be as wide as four feet because the tags can be read at a distance of up to two feet by each of two parallel exit gate sensors
Components of an RFID System
* A comprehensive RFID system has four components
* RFID tags that are electronically programmed with unique * information
* Server on which the software that interfaces