Introducing RFID at Middlesex
University Learning Resources
Learning Resources, Middlesex University, London, UK, and
INFLIBNET, Ahmedabad, India
Purpose – To describe the ﬁrst year of the implementation of radio frequency identiﬁcation (RFID) in
Middlesex University Learning Resources.
Design/methodology/approach – The technology is explained in detail to set the scene.
Information on the implementation is presented in chronological order.
Findings – Problems which would generally be applicable to other installations in these early days of
the use of RFID in libraries are pointed out.
Practical implications – It is possible to implement RFID without too much lead time, although,
had longer been available, some aspects would have gone more smoothly.
Originality/value – Contains valuable information for other libraries considering or intending to
Keywords University libraries, Radio systems, Library systems
Paper type Case study
RFID technology is not new but its commercial application is quite recent because
costs have reduced as the technology has matured and become more widespread. RFID
stands for radio frequency identiﬁcation, and in essence consists of a miniature
transmitter or receiver incorporated into a device known as a tag in a movable item,
which can be located by a receiver or transmitter which may be stationary or also
movable depending on the application. RFID in library systems consists of two items:
(1) a transponder (the word is derived from TRANSmitter and resPONDER)
consisting of an antenna and a chip; and
(2) a reader attached to a computer to identify the item.
The total package is called a tag or a label. The tag or label is attached to the item to be
identiﬁed and the reader is non-movable, for example ﬁxed in a security gate or
incorporated into a library counter or a self-service machine. Data can be written to and
stored in the tag, data which may include a barcode and much more besides. There are
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Rajesh Chandrakar is grateful to the Commonwealth Professional Fellowships Fund for
awarding him a Fellowship based at Middlesex University to study standards implementation in
UK libraries. The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Alex Birchall, Gregor
Hotz, and Mark Shilingis (for the photograph) and the anonymous referees for their suggestions
and factual corrections. All URLs cited were checked on 2 November 2005.
Received 22 July 2005
Revised 21 October 2005
Accepted 6 November 2005
Program: electronic library and
Vol. 40 No. 1, 2006
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited