RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a contactless identification technology that transmits data and automatically identifies targeted objects via radio signals. It has been known to have the potentials of enhancing library management and operational efficiency while at the same time lowering the production costs. RFID therefore is receiving more and more attention in the library arena.

Successful implementation of the technology, however, hinges on the collaboration among the three stakeholders - libraries as the users, vendors as the suppliers and RFID researchers as the technology developers. The three-fold collaboration creates a win-win environment for needs to be identified, strategies to be formulated and progress to be made. In view of this, in 2010, libraries of the City University of Hong Kong, the Tsinghua University and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University joined forces to form the Higher Education Libraries “UHF RFID Application” Working Group and held its first meeting. In its 4th Meeting held in June 2011, the Group resolved to rename itself as the Consortium for RFID Applications in Higher Education Libraries (hereafter, the Consortium). In 2012, Beijing University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Feng Chia University (Taiwan) also joined the league. The common vision is to revolutionize library services through the use of RFID that transforms not just the traditional book loan processes, but bringing in many more “smart” solutions and applications that can re-mold the library service landscape.

The Consortium is a non-profit organization that aims at transforming the library’s service mode through exploring the use of RFID so that libraries can benefit the most from the technology with enhanced service quality. By formulating standards and recommending common practices, the Consortium attempts to put forward a basis for libraries, suppliers and researchers to collaborate and, as such, provides an environment for the RFID library market to grow in a structured and healthy way to ensure sustainability. It is envisaged that, through possible experimental case studies collaborated with interested suppliers and establishment of research foundation, more innovative RFID library applications will come forth to benefit more libraries.

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