RFID- Libraries Chipping Books, including quick-checkouts in Houston (Harris County) TexasSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


RFID- Libraries Chipping Books, including quick-checkouts in Houston (Harris County) Texas

25 October 2006 at 8:15:11 AM

I was reading a library site that has a lot of blog examples of libraries using RFID for inventory management. In this one, all the books after Katrina in one city have been chipped but the patron's cards are still bar-coded. I wonder what the practical reason for that would be? A book with a particular RFID would HAVE to be tied in some fashion to the library patron, is it simply to assuage privacy fears without calling attention to the RFID factor?

What about from a privacy standpoint? This article from Salon in 2004 discusses how ironic it is that libraries, which traditionally guard patron's privacy, are going to the use of RFID.

"We had to get out of the checkout, check-in business," says Jackie Griffin, director of library services at Berkeley. "That's the place that staff was getting injured. And it's not helping people find materials in the library. We have really good, really well-trained people, and that's not using them in the best way." Facing almost $2 million in worker's comp costs every five years because of employees' repetitive stress injuries, the Checkpoint RFID system sounded like a relative bargain to Berkeley: $650,000 to tag the whole library, including the 500,000 tags, which go for 40 to 60 cents each. The main recurring cost is buying more tags as the collection grows.

Will anyone who happens to be carrying an RFID reader be able to figure out that you're toting around a copy of "Personal Bankruptcy for Dummies" in your $700 handbag? Or, even worse, will that RFID-chipped book in your backpack become a way to track your movements? Will a library book with its unique number in your bag suddenly become a way to track you? The librarians who are installing these systems say that they are taking precautions that make the first scenario highly unlikely. And they argue that the privacy gained through the ability to self-check out books without showing them to a library employee far outweighs the risks of the latter..

Many libraries, including Berkeley, are declining to put the name of the book or even the book's ISBN, its international standard book number, on the microchip implanted in it. They're using a unique bar code number instead, one that would have to be hacked out of a library's circulation database to connect it to a specific title. That's not just to assuage the privacy concerns of readers. For inventory management, libraries need to track individual copies of books and not the words between a given book's covers.

That includes Harris County, Texas as well.  

Sentry Technology Corporation (OTC Bulletin Board: SKVY) announced today that ID Systems has successfully installed the third order of QuickCheck(TM) patron self service kiosks at the Harris County Public Library in Houston, Texas. There are now a total of 30 QuickCheck(TM) units [as of June 10, 2004] servicing seven branch locations.
    QuickCheck(TM) operates in a similar fashion to a bank ATM, in that patrons gain access to the library's circulation software via a user card and touch screen video monitor. A barcode or RFID chip on the book is read, security functions performed and a receipt is printed to tell the patron what books have been borrowed and when they are due to be returned. Once the process is complete, the patron exits the library through the security system without any intervention from library staff. The entire process is fast, user friendly and frees library staff from the circulation desk to perform higher level tasks.

 But what if the book publisher decides to encode the ISBN number in the RFID chip?

"Right now, those tags are about as meaningful as a bar code. You walk past a reader that picks up those tags, and it's just a jumble of numbers. But I am concerned that librarians are not thinking long term," says Beth Givens, the director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, who herself is a former librarian. "What if the publishing industry adopts RFID and in doing so encodes the ISBN number. Now you've got a tag that is revealing meaningful information."

On the other hand, being able to self-check out books because of RFID could increase privacy, in the case of books you want to check out but you don't want the librarian to SEE you're checking out.

But librarians argue that there are very real privacy gains to be seen right now through RFID. Would you rather self-check "The Infertility Survival Handbook: Everything You Never Thought You'd Need to Know," or share your most intimate concerns with the librarian behind the checkout counter?

The real issue is a tracking society. Can the book you're reading be used to track you, since RFID creates each chipped book with a unique serial number?

Schneider, who herself has been a librarian, found that in discussing the privacy issues in committee at the American Library Association, many large library directors got very defensive. "I feel like it's a battle I've lost," she says. "A number of large libraries implemented RFID before it really got on the privacy scope of anybody. By the time big well-heeled libraries had gone out on a limb to implement this expensive new technology, it was too late. They have a lot invested in no one saying: 'Oh, you know those 3 million books you just chipped? There's an issue with that.'"

     Views: 534 
Latest Blog Post by salon -Last Show Tonight on SLAPP Suits

 You! Leave a Comment! You Know you Want To!
You must be a registered member to comment on the blog.
Your first post is held pending approval to make sure you're not a spammer bot

 Not registered? Or you can login!

LOGON - Name:Password:

New poster comments are moderated, meaning they won't show up until approved... or not.  Be patient-we have lives outside this blog, so it might take awhile You want to be rude? totally stupid? inappropriate? Racist? Bigoted? Flame war baiter? Your post may be deleted. Spammers or people posting pretend interest comments but really wanting to hawk their latest book or sell stuff or govt propaganda flacks won't see their posts published. Comments do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the site owner(salon).
If you have a problem with logging in or registering, please speak up right away. Love your comments. Oh, except spammers
More on commenting

Click Here for Main Page

Today Is  
Friday, November 15, 2019

Latest Posts

Last Show Tonight on SLAPP Suits
salon 11/11/2019

Louis Vuitton Artistic Director Calls Trump a Total Joke (Keene, Texas)
salon 10/22/2019

Here's Creep Trump Giving the Finger to Female Astronauts
salon 10/22/2019

Impeaching Trump- Is it acceptable for a president to pressure a foreign.....
salon 10/22/2019

Why are Paul Manafort's defense attorneys helping Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman today?
salon 10/10/2019

Money Laundering 101- Trump seeks to get rid of regulations on offshore money
salon 10/10/2019

More Blog Headlines


salon > Quick update on this, via Pacer-Click on pic to see larger (Turk Case Update- Telephone Conference Hearing Set for March 8 2019 )

salon > Lance Been awhile. Send me an email at salon@glenrose.net with the names of who you're talking about, above. Also, the newspaper editor is no longer local, ie officed here, but the paper is run.... (What Happened to Jerry Jacene? )

LanceHall > I'd love to see the Hotel Guest books and see if Jacene's name shows up long before he officially *found* the tracks.  I'd like to know if the Visitor's Bureau has emails wit.... (What Happened to Jerry Jacene? )

LanceHall > I see the land or that part of it is now in the hands of Glen Rose's own Corky Underwood. Is Jacene still involved?   I had already informed the Visitor Bureau manager (who's.... (What Happened to Jerry Jacene? )

Home | Blog Home | About | News | Piazza | Calendar | Audio/Video/Open Rec | Search
Write!  |profile | quotes |
top Daily | top Weekly |top Month | top Year | Top All! | archives | subscribe RSS