This morning I attended the co-sponsored session "Are Sci-Tech Libraries ready for RFID, and is RFID ready for Sci-Tech Libraries?"
The title was a bit misleading as the presenters did not concentrate on sci-tech libraries. But they did do a good presentation about the technology how it is now and how it could be in the near future. There were about 45 persons in the room.
Max Anderson of Solinet explained the "now": the lack of recognized standards, how the technology for libraries differs from that for commerce, how the different components work together, why the technology is failing for CDs and DVDs, how it is easily compromised by people intending to steal library materials. There are advantages though: easier inventory control, less handling of delicate materials, longer life for tags and less repetitive injury problems for staff. High initial costs, proprietary tags, sensor problems and privacy issues are the downsize. It may take five to ten years before showing ROI on the technology.
Oleg Boyarsky, President/CEO of Library Automation Technologies, talked about the future of RFID. He said that once the tags (now costing $.50 to $1.50 each) will go down to $.10 around 2008, the technology will really take off. A recent study by Auto-ID Centre/Proctoc & Gamble shows that 78% of respondents have a negative perception of RFID, concerning privacy issues. "Kill codes" can now be implemented to inactivate the microchips but it may not be enough for some. The decrease cost for the chips should be accompanied by better manufacturing process that should address a lot of the problems that are happening today. Adopting the technology demands a lot of process and infrastructure change though.
The PowerPoint for this session should appear on the SLA conference site shortly after the conference.
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