What is RFID?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) uses electronic tags attached to an object, place, or person to enable identification from a distance without a direct line-of-sight. This is achieved using invisible radio waves over distances ranging from millimetres to hundreds of metres.
An RFID system has two main components:
When RFID tags are attached to physical objects, they enable those objects to identify themselves to RF readers via radio frequency communication. Depending on the tag itself, the information conveyed to a reader can be as simple as “Hello, I'm here" or as complex as "This is where I am, who I am and what I am doing." RFID works by sending and receiving information via radio waves using Radio Frequency (RF) tags and Radio Frequency (RF) readers to transfer data. The RF tag receives radio frequency waves from the RF reader, using the energy from these waves to broadcast back the information located on its microchip via its tiny, built-in antenna. Radio waves pass through most things including water, air and buildings, which means a direct line-of-sight is not needed. Using radio waves also enables multiple, consecutive reads within a very short timeframe.
RFID in libraries
RFID technology is ideal for most activities that require item tracking in libraries. Unlike traditional barcode systems, RFID tags do not need line of sight to be read, and more than one item can be read at a time. This has huge implications for library efficiency in check in, check out, stock-take, security and returns and sorting.
RFID is one of the most exciting opportunities for libraries, the key benefits being: