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A label serves three purposes: it identifies the book as library property; it provides a
unique number for location of that specific book; and it provides a means for automatic
data collection.Thus libraries are able to conduct inventory management and develop
online public access catalogues from the books themselves. Users will be able to browse
the shelves with bar wands which can store bibliographic information that is download-
able into whatever final product they wish. Publishers also benefit as buyers have more
complete usage information available at the time of publication. Booksellers benefit by
being able to organise the books without the use of additional computer programs and
staff. Buyers benefit through the use of handheld scanners with screens so they can scan a
book and obtain a comprehensive bibliographic record, and then download those records
into a computer to generate a printout. Nevertheless barcode technology has a number
of limitations and does not meet tomorrow's needs for a number of reasons:
- They are prone to damage;
- They require human intervention to operate the scanning device; and,
- They cannot be programmed, and can provide only the most basic product number
RFID and Barcodes a comparison
Smart tags and labels may be considered as an intelligent barcode replacement with
the following advantages:
- RFID tags don't require line of sight or close proximity to the reader in order to be
- RFID tags are (re)programmable; and,
- RFID tags are physically durable and not susceptible to damage from dirt, grease or
The price of RFID tags does inhibit their use extensively within a retail environment
where goods prices are low.They are applicable for higher priced goods, particularly
those vulnerable to theft. As the use of RFID tags increases, their cost is expected to
reduce significantly, opening new business application opportunities.
RFID complements barcode technology in a growing number of applications.
Implementation of RFID systems is on the rise as the price of smart labels such as the
mid frequency passive tags is decreasing for mass deployment. Standardisation will aid an
even stronger growth in RFID installations.
Smart Labels
and Smart Tags