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LIB-RFID-UK  February 2010

LIB-RFID-UK February 2010

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Subject:

Re: Discussing integration issues

From:

MJ Ray <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Discussion List for RFID in Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 24 Feb 2010 10:54:13 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (45 lines)

Mick Fortune wrote:
> Some RFID suppliers have already begun to develop web services to overcome
> some of SIP's limitations - to take better advantage of RFID's ability to
> process multiple items for example. [...]

OK, call me naive and a relative newbie in this field compared to the
rest of you (I try to the let black-box self-issue and gate machine
suppliers deal with how they talk to the open, documented API on the
LMS), but isn't OpenNCIP meant to be the way of overcoming some of
SIP's limitations?  Where does it fall down?

[...]
> The implication of MJ's comment is that he has developed direct
> communication between an RFID device and the Koha LMS. I, for one, would
> certainly like to hear more about that.

At the moment, it is an extension module for Koha (called C4::RFID)
which directly calls hardware drivers (RFID::Reader::*) to talk
to a pretty dumb daemon on the staff machine that sends commands to
the RFID device.  That has the benefit that the network protocol
should be the same as the device protocol which makes it simpler to
debug (and discrepencies between specs and devices has been the main
challenge so far!), but the main drawback is that the same hardware
drivers need to be installed on all staff machines and LMS.

I need to package all this for release and write much more about this
for Koha-community.org but practical concerns (such as figuring out
which device is out of spec at one of our libraries now!) are
currently dominating my time... but it is why I'm very interested in
both the RFID Alliance and the standardisation process because it
could halve the number of different specs I'm working with!

Even more important, it should mean we'd at least have a spec, whereas
I think we've been trying to extract full info on how one device uses
RFID tags from one RFID Alliance member for about two years now. 
We've reverse-engineered most of it, but paying libraries shouldn't
need to pay LMS developers to reverse-engineer their RFID kit :-/
- is that curse of the early adopters, or just bad business?

Hope that's interesting,
-- 
MJ Ray (slef)  Webmaster and LMS developer at     | software
www.software.coop http://mjr.towers.org.uk        |  .... co
IMO only: see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html |  .... op

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