Dear Mick,

The library experts on the committee, including from the UK, discussed and agreed this.  It was not my decision.  But on the question of language "subsidiary" implies a lower level.

Too much interpretation will result in no standardisation, even before the documents are published.

I know that you said there is no obligation to use standards, but when they are used it does pay to follow the rules.  If the rules don't fit then get them changed through the proper channels.  If the technology standards were subjected to interpretation, then nothing would work.  Maybe we need some conformance rules for RFID for libraries.  Then libraries and vendors could either claim conformance or state that they were ignoring the standards.

People from all over the world have worked on ISO 28560.  I have just had three e-mail exchanges with New Zealand in the last hour.  No UK vendor participated at the ISO level.

Sorry to sound off, but we are so close to the entire community having the best foundation for interoperability.  Let's not waste it.

Kind regards,


Mick Fortune wrote:
[log in to unmask]" type="cite">

Thanks for this Paul. Just a quick explanation of my reason for not suggesting element 24.


When we discussed the use of Element 24 in the RFID meeting that agreed the UK data model there was a plea from Axiell that element 24 be used to identify consortia - i.e. a level ABOVE the organisation rather than below.


It's just one more reason why we need a thorough discussion of the issues I think.






Mick Fortune      

m. +44 (0)7786 625544         t.   +44 (0)1865 727411


From: Discussion List for RFID in Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Paul Chartier
Sent: 29 July 2010 19:07
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: ISIL codes and multi-site libraries


Dear Mick, Claire and members on the list,

I will just focus my reply on the ISIL issue.  The rules are defined in ISO 15511 as you rightly pointed out, Mick.

A list of the national ISIL agencies is given on the following URL:

Looking at the list, you will see in the last column that there is either a search or a list facility.  So, for example, anyone in the world can identify the ISIL for all of the Danish libraries following the links through. 

Now if you want to see something really sophisticated and making use of the web, click on the New Zealand search facility which will bring up a map of all of New Zealand.  Either change the scale, or click on the red dot for a town (I suggest Russell towards the top of the North Island), then you get a new map with a building just south of Kerikeri.  Move the cursor to the building and click and you will get the name and address of the library and its URL.  Although the next link is broken, if you click on the services tab on the page that is displayed and you can then follow through to all the library details.  That is a bit more sophisticated than having N/A against a national agency.

You will also notice that the United Kingdom and the United States of America have yet to provide such a list or search facility.  It seems that the fundamental difference is that some of the national ISIL agencies have taken the task in hand and assigned ISIL codes to all the known libraries within their domain, whereas others are waiting for request applications.  So maybe there is a need to either ramp up the requests with the British Library, or to slightly change the procedures. 

Mick,  I disagree with your advice about using one of the locally assigned codes in ISO 28560 for a branch of a library.  There is already a perfectly adequate data element defined if there is a need to encode subsidiary information.  This is clearly defined in data element 24.  So it is possible with existing definitions of data element to have either an ISIL assigned to each branch, or an ISIL assigned to an authority and this to be combined with the subsidiary of an owner library code.

That is all the technical issues.  I think it is still important for the library community to debate whether one of these options is better for the UK, or whether both are left as a free choice to the library authority.

Maybe the national ISIL agency might contribute a view on this.

Kind regards.


Mick Fortune wrote:

Dear Claire


You raise an interesting question, to which I think the, not terribly helpful, answer might be "it depends".


When ISO 28560 first began it was modelled very much along the lines of the Danish Data Model, and indeed it still is. ISO 28560-2 is the version of the standard upon which the UK Data Model is based.


As I suggested in a recent post, so far as I am aware none of the RFID companies are currently coding to the new standard although I am advised that they will be doing so very soon.


It may be worth mentioning here that a standard has no legal force, neither is its use regulated in any way. As we have already seen with SIP (which was never a published "standard" at all) there are many ways to claim full compliance - without actually being compliant. In the case of 28560-2 the industry has elected to regulate itself by testing their implementations with each other. Even as I write this response one has contacted me to suggest that they are already doing this with a competitor (not your supplier I'm afraid). I have had other correspondence from suppliers suggesting that there are ambiguities in interpretation that have delayed progress. I have asked the standard's author to comment on these remarks and he and I are currently in dialogue to see what we can do to help. The standard itself has passed through all its stages prior to publication.


That said, the question of how to use the ISIL probably depends on how you plan to develop your RFID implementation. For non-public libraries it's probably much simpler. Most of them use RFID entirely within one institution and mostly for self-service. They already have highly proprietary solutions that may be more difficult to transfer to another LMS/RFID supplier configuration so developing the use of ISIL independent of other libraries is not going to make much difference to their situation. However if institutions merge, or co-operate in sharing resources there will be a lot of re-programming to be done! That's why it's a bigger issue (no pun intended) for public libraries. If they are to try and build a model similar to the Danes - where items can be freely borrowed from any library and returned to another - which I think they might be asked by government to do so, then they will need to consider carefully how they want to use the ISIL to facilitate this. So far as I am aware there are almost no libraries currently doing this and certainly no national discussion on how best to do it in the future. Unlike the Danes we don't have a library agency that negotiates with suppliers to ensure conformance and best practice. We let the market do that for us.


On a practical level I should perhaps mention that ISO 15511 (which defines the use of ISIL) allows for more than one code to be allocated to an organisation. ISO 28560 has only one element assigned to ISIL but it does have a number of fields that may be locally defined - all of them are included in the UK Data Model but none have yet been allocated. Since "Local" could mean the entire country - if we choose - this could be discussed by librarians and suppliers…somewhere.


Right now that "somewhere" may well be right here - or more probably at BIC. ISIL is just the second element that will not only affect RFID but also the future design of LMS so it's a discussion we'd better start soon :-)!


As a footnote I should perhaps add the perspective that when I last contacted the ISIL agency they had received a total of 9 applications…




Mick Fortune      

m. +44 (0)7786 625544         t.   +44 (0)1865 727411


From: Discussion List for RFID in Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Claire Eskriett
Sent: 29 July 2010 09:37
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: ISIL codes and multi-site libraries


Dear all


We set up one of our libraries with RFID last year and are now going on to do some more. The new standard is now around and out supplier assures us that when we begin tagging we can do so using the standard. To that end I’ve looked into getting an ISIL code, and am aware that you can register ‘sub-units’ of libraries individually, e.g. the library site rather than the overall institution. I want to get this right the first time, so am wondering if anyone else in a multi-site environment is looking into this area. Is there any advantage to having the tag tell you the library site it belongs to? Our stock doesn’t get moved around permanently (so we wouldn’t need to worry too much about reprogramming), but it does move around to get lent to borrowers based at different sites. We use a 3M DLA at our current RFID site to indentify reservations, and if we could detect different sites’ books with it as well it would be worth its’ weight in gold to my colleagues (and mean they wouldn’t need an elaborate colour-coded dot system on the books). I’m not sure at this point if we can tweak our DLA script to detect the ISIL code as it isn’t currently in the MARC record, but I’m hoping for the best so I’d like to be future-proofed.


I suppose the question is, if we put the precise location on the tag rather than just the institution name, are there any disadvantages other than the possibility of re-tagging if stock moves permanently?


Sorry if this is a cheeky question, but I’m hoping it doesn’t hurt to ask what other people are considering.





Claire Eskriett, Systems Librarian

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