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A General Survey of RFID Applications
in Guangdong Public Libraries


Among major public libraries in Guangdong Province, RFID applications have developed from trial and partial stages then to the stage of comprehensive uses, which have found their presence in merely self-issue service and access alarm, and even collection management and other library-related services.

I. Summery and Characteristic of RFID Applications in Key Public Libraries

i. Sun Yat-sen Library of Guangdong Province

In December, 2010, RFID Self-issue service system was released by Sun Yat-sen Library of Guangdong Province (herein after referred to as the Provincial Library), with passive tag of high frequency 13.56 MHz, conforming to ISO18000, ISO/IEC15693; initially 510,000 tags were in operation and now 1,600, 000.

Currently, the Provincial Library provides RFID-based services as follows:
(i) Self-issue service with multiple card compatibility. It includes Library Card, ID Card, Yangchengtong Card and logging on with Library Card number and password, or fingerprint also supported.
(ii) Self-issue service available with 7×24 hours outside the library. It brings easy, safe and convenient user experience to users, especially on closed dates.
(iii) Automated sorting service. It helps to reduce re-shelving labor work that the books returned are sorted without human intervention according to the call number of social science, natural science and science fiction, so called “three-category sorting”.
(iv) Shelf-guiding service. It works well with integration of Aleph500, and via OPAC users can view clear “shelf location picture” with 3D guiding directions, which to a large extent facilitates borrowing books.
(v) Access alarm service. It functions as a part of “collection security system”. C2 and 07 are respectively read into AFI of RFID tags for loaned books and returned ones.
(vi) NFC application with mobile phones. It is self-developed by the Library compatible with mobile phones, thus making it possible to borrow books anytime anywhere, which marks a new Model of library services.

ii. Shenzhen Library

In 2006, the Library, being the first in China to have introduced RFID applications in the field, developed Document Intelligent Management System composed of functions of shelf location guiding, and document location identifying, which integrates circulation workstation, access alarm and collection, thus achieving a unity of exact locating, self-issue, fast re-shelving and collecting; and also easy access to individual item and its exact location. At present, over 3,000,000 items have enjoyed RFID applications in the Library, which stands itself out nationwide in this regard.

In 2008, 24-hour Self-issue Library Service Station network was developed by the Library with the integration of RFID applications, computer network, and electronic mechanical applications based on core library services and logistics distribution. Up to till now, there are 220 Self-issue Library Service Stations available at all residential communities and transport hubs, extending efficient services to all local citizens. It is hailed as “the 3rd generation library” and “the library at hand” for its functional combination of traditional library, digital library and intelligent library.

iii. Guangzhou Library

The Library adopted high frequency tags with 13.56MHz, covering about 5,000,000 items in Chinese and western languages. It’s main applications includes: (1) Self-issue service; (2) 24-hour returning; (3) Access alarm; (4) Self-card application; (5) Vertical automated sorting; (6) Identifying and guiding; (7) Mobile library service--24-hour self-issue library service station; (8) Inter-library loan; (9) CD-ROM set-loan.

Characteristic: being the first in the field to have introduced vertical sorting in logistics based on RFID, which works perfectly with self-issue system and book conveyor system in collecting and sorting, thus highly improving work efficiency.

iv. Foshan Library

The Library adopted high frequency tags with 13.56MHz, covering about 950,000 items in Chinese and western languages. It’s main applications includes: (1) Self-issue service; (2) 24-hour returning; (3) Access alarm; (4) Self-card application; (5) automated sorting; (6) Identifying and guiding; (7) Mobile library town service town--24-hour self-issue library service station; (8) Inter-library loan; (9) CD-ROM set-loan.

Characteristic: 24-hour self-issue library service town under construction, covering the city’s main urban area, easily accessible to users, initially 6 of them finished with self-issue equipment, and access alarm system, 24-hour digital library service, mobile library service and digital newspaper bulletin board containing over 200 newspapers and 1000 magazines.

v. Zhuhai Library

The Library adopted high frequency tags with 13.56MHz, covering about 200,000 items of Chinese books. It’s main applications includes: (1) Self-issue service; (2) Access alarm;

vi. Zhaoqing Library

The Library adopted high frequency tags with 13.56MHz, covering about 400,000 items of Chinese books. It’s main applications includes: (1) Self-issue service; (2) 24-hour returning; (3) Access alarm; (4) 24-hour self-issue library service station.

vii. Library of Guangming New District (Shenzhen)

The Library adopted high frequency tags with 13.56MHz, covering about 350,000 items of Chinese books, children books and books at elementary-level libraries ( including tags yet to be functioned ). It’s main applications includes: (1) Self-issue service; (2) 24-hour returning; (3) Access alarm; (4) Self-card application--RFID reader’s card; (5) Inter-library loan.

Characteristic: inter-library loan meeting the requirement of Shenzhen Library Network program; being a close part of Shenzhen urban development.

II. Table of RFID Applications in Guangdong Public Libraries

Library NameData Access StandardTag FrequencySupplier NameFunction(see notes)Remark(characteristic application)
Sun Yat-sen Library of Guangdong ProvinceISO15693
ISO15693
High Frequency Shanghai Rfid,
Shenzhen Seaever
1、2、3、6、9
1、2、3、6、9
NFC with mobile phones
Shenzhen LibraryISO15693
ISO15693
High Frequency Shenzhen Seaever1、2、3、4、6、7、8、9
1、2、3、4、6、7、8、9
Exact identifying system, 24-hour self-issue library service stations at local communities and blocks.
Guangzhou LibraryISO15693
ISO15693
High Frequency Shenzhen Seaever1、2、3、4、5、6、7、8、9、10
1、2、3、4、5、6、7、8、9、10
Vertical sorting system
Foshan Library ISO15693
ISO15693
High Frequency Shanghai Rfid,
Shenzhen Seaever
1、2、3、4、6、7、8、9
1、2、3、4、6、7、8、9
24-hour self-issue library service town connected to other local libraries
Zhuhai Library ISO15693
ISO15693
High Frequency Shenzhen Seaever1、3
1、3
at the beginning stage
Zhaoqing LibraryISO15693
ISO15693
High Frequency Shenzhen Seaever1、2、3、7
1、2、3、7
24-hour self-issue service, still at the beginning stage
Library of Guangming New District (Shenzhen)ISO15693
ISO15693
High Frequency Shenzhen Seaever1、2、3、4、8
1、2、3、4、8
Local inter-library loan, integrated into “Shenzhen Library Network”

Note: (1) self-issue service; (2) 24-hour returning; (3) access alarm; (4) self-card application; (5) vertical automated sorting; (6) identifying and guiding; (7) 24-hour self-issue library service station; (8) inter-library loan; (9) CD-ROM set-loan; (10) intelligent book shelf.

On the whole, RFID applications in Guangdong public libraries mostly cover major cities within Zhujiang Delta. If economic and transport conditions permit, the public libraries of prefecture-level (including county-level ones) can also bring RFID applications into full play by developing local service-oriented programs on their own, so as to promote library cooperation and academic research. It is believed that the cultural guideline called “a hundred flowers bloom, a hundred schools of thought contend” will be achieved in the future.

Yet, we still need to be mindful of the fact that even the well-connected and developed cities within Zhujiang Delta are uneven in their covering range and functions of RFID applications, namely, Sun Yat-sen Library of Guangdong Province, Shenzhen Library, Guangzhou Library and Foshan Library have satisfactory coverage with sufficient financial support; while Zhaoqing Library and Zhuhai Library are currently at their beginning stage to have adopted self-issue service and access alarm service.