Wednesday, 28 September 2011

RFID and managing the library

Yesterday we looked at the use of the RFID tags and how they can make using our self-service units easier to use. Today we'll have a very quick look at how we are going to use RFID to improve our services. To be honest, this may not be most exciting feature on this blog but indulge us for a moment.

The RFID tags can be thought of as electronic barcodes, but of course these are barcodes that can be read without having to open the book. What this means for us is that we can scan items quickly and will be able to use RFID to issue and return items at the Issue Desk as well as in back office functions. Perhaps of more importance for our readers is that we have a Digital Library Assistant (or "wand", although as you can see, it looks actually nothing like a wand, or at least not one in the Harry Potter sense.) which can be used to scan the shelves and trolleys.

This will help with getting the shelves into order, and with finding mis-shelved items and also those that readers have reported missing or that have got back on to the shelves without being properly returned. Our use of this is very much at the experimental stage at the moment but this will undoubtedly have plenty of benefits as we discover more ways of using it. So if you see a member of library staff scanning the shelves with a device that looks like a gadget from Star Trek, you now know what they are doing! 

Tomorrow we'll see why this device might come in handy as we look at what we've done with the books this summer.

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