Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is widely used within the library industry because, when compared to traditional barcode and item security systems, RFID brings substantial cost and labor savings to the library workflow. These savings allow library staff to focus less on repetitive circulation tasks and more on patron engagement and outreach.
In library applications, there are two general types of RFID tags that Tech Logic recommends: book tags and disk (or A/V) tags.
Book tags for library materials are sold in two sizes—2” x 2” and 2” x 3” (the length and width of a credit card)—produced on paper stock. Either size provides comparable performance and RFID signal strength. Book tags are not just used for books—they are also used to tag multipart A/V materials, such as DVDs, where they are placed on the inside of the artwork of the case.
Audio/Video (AV) tags, also called disk tags, are produced on clear vinyl stock to preserve the visibility of label content. Tech Logic's rfidTAG X-RANGE full-overlay tag is designed with the antenna looping on the exterior perimeter of the overlay to increase signal strength and also features a wider center opening for ease of application.
Tech Logic’s RFID tags are guaranteed for the life of the library item to which they are originally affixed.
Many different bits of ILS information can be written to an RFID tag—for example: item ID (barcode number), branch ownership, collection, title, set information, security, etc.
However, Tech Logic (and ISO standards) recommend that libraries write only the item ID (barcode number), the security setting and, in the case of tag sets, the set information to the tag.
By limiting tag information to item ID and security, the library consolidates and isolates all other item information to the ILS, which bolsters information security and processing efficiency.
Libraries can program tags on a staff workstation (like Tech Logic’s staffCIRC PRO) or, for streamlined tagging in the stacks, you can procure a portable tagging station (like Tech Logic’s rfidTAG CASE) which requires no ILS connection.
Using Tech Logic’s tag writing software, the tagging workflow is simple.
Typically, libraries place RFID book tags on the lower left corner of the back cover near the spine. The library should vary tag placement along the spine to optimize reading with a handheld scanner. Locking AV cases are typically tagged with a book tag on the inside of the artwork.
Typically, single disks are tagged with a full overlay X-range disk tag. A book tag can be added to an inside corner of the artwork in the case to facilitate set tagging and avoid opening cases to check for matching disk/case or empty cases.
Typically, multi-disk sets are tagged with a single book tag on an inside corner of the artwork in the case. With this method, cases must still be opened at check-in to make sure all disks are present. Unfortunately, tagging each disk isn’t feasible because of the interference of the metal disks. Alternately, a full overlay disk tag can also be added to one disk in the set (often the last disk) to facilitate set tagging.
If an item includes endpapers or other content on the back cover that enhances the item (e.g. maps, drawings, children’s books with inside-back-cover content) the RFID tag can be placed on a blank inside endpaper or on the exterior cover of the item with a piece of clear vinyl tape to protect the tag.
RFID signals are susceptible to being interrupted or blocked by metal. If materials are bound in foil covers (e.g. YA paperbacks) the metallic cover itself can block the RFID signal.
A few possible solutions include the following:
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