RE: [Videolib] Security system - your input, please RFID

Melissa Riley (
Mon, 14 Mar 2005 20:54:11 -0800

Having talked to many vendors and seen demos over several years, as far as I can tell RFID does not really work for any DVDs or CDs, especially for the security. Who knows if it ever will? At a cost of 40 to 70 cents per book chip (I do not know the media chip costs)--and more when special packaging is involved--plus many other costs and very labor intensive (installation -- might we not want to wait and see? Recent reports indicate that the installation is very labor intensive and seems to put staff at risk of RSI.

Below are a few considerations I wrote about last fall (including concerns not especially related to media--so I changed the order).
Some vendors have come up with additional security measures which are not perfected (like a sort of bolt that falls out of the case).
In addition, small thin items tend to jam the system or not get checked out at all--leading to theft. Special cases devised by the vendor to solve various problems may not work in your display system, and certainly do not work well for multi-item titles. Any chip glued to the surface of a CD or DVD may damage it in the short or long run, may lead a thief to try to remove it (thus causing damage), and will prevent scratches from being polished out.

> Subject: RE: RFIDs Again
> Sent: 21 Oct 2004 07:28:14

> One of my concerns (not addressed by Richard Boss) is that none of the current RFID technologies have been miniaturized sufficiently so that the chip can be used successfully on a DVD or CD. Also they do not work with multi-disc sets. Part of that problem is being sure all parts have been returned and in the right case. If you have automatic checkin how do make sure the item is in the right case? And also what about damaged materials. Do you keep records of who checked in what item and if so for how long? You might not discover the damage for months.This a Patriot Act problem..
> And, of course, tinfoil [or mylar] as a defeat for security detection is a big problem. Small and very desirable items are particularly vulnerable--like CDs and DVDs.
Technical staff and those worried about RSI (myself included) are often said to be in favor of the ergonomics of RFID--but does anyone have any figures? Anecdote says that some of the worst RSI problems have cheaper solutions--like lowering the circ desk height and width and other design improvements, ergonomic training and feedback, getting patrons to place their own books appropriately and pick them up again.

> My understanding is that the borrower's card need not have the chip that can be detected by the RFID reader: only the books should have chips with antennae.
> But the PLA Website article by Richard Boss says this
> "A few libraries have placed RFID tags on staff and patron identification cards. Not only does that identify patrons for charging and discharging of library materials, but also for access to restricted areas or services.". . . . "If the patron card also has an RFID tag, the library will also be able to determine who removed the items without properly charging them. However, the author has not been able to identify a library that has implemented this security feature."
> Don't we want to say that any library which put the RFID tag on patrons' cards would be in violation of our core values?
> And librarians, libraries, and ALA in unison need to set standards for suppliers so this cannot happen. That would also include limits on the range at which the chip can be read and making sure the number is library-assigned and not a universally identifiable one like an ISBN. Presumably there will be commercial pressure to have one universally recognizable chip on any saleable item--the exact opposite of what the library needs. (Rather like having to make sure that a voters voting record is kept secret, in contradistinction to most commercial uses of computers where everything is permanently trackable.)
> Why invest millions in a system which does not (yet) solve several of your worst problems? We and the public need to understand fully the implications of implementing this technology by running through scenarios large and small, ethical and practical, step by step.
> I would welcome further knowledgeable discussion.
> Melissa Riley

-----Original Message-----
From: on behalf of Val Gangwer
Sent: Mon 3/14/2005 7:16 AM
Subject: [Videolib] Security system - your input, please

Hello All,
We are looking at adding a security system (you mean you haven't had one?!?)
to our library. The contenders in electromagnetic include 3M and Checkpoint,
and in radio frequency, RF from Checkpoint (stripped down version of the
full RFID system). I would like feedback from any of you using these
systems, for books as well as A/V materials. I have seen several comments
over time on the 3M tags and DVD's (mostly negative). We are leaning toward
RF from Checkpoint.
Thanks for any insights you can give me.

Valerie Gangwer
Director of Audiovisual Services
Mary Baldwin College

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