The official announcement yesterday (http://biblstandard.dk/rfid/) of the passing of the final vote on ISO 28560 marks the most significant and penultimate step in what has been a very lengthy and painfully slow process. The final step - publication - will now take place in the next few weeks.
Yesterday I was very pleased to receive - on list and off - the thanks of many people for my small part in this process. Whilst being very grateful for this recognition of my own efforts in this matter I would like to pay tribute to, and express my thanks to Martin Palmer, Alan Hopkinson, Paul Chartier, and Peter Kilborn for their very significant part in helping us get here. Thanks are also due to Leif Andresen for steering this project to a successful conclusion.
Now that there is no longer any doubt about the final form of the standard it was also heartening to receive news that at least four members of the RFID Alliance are about to carry out final compliance testing next week.
What does this all mean for the industry and in particular for UK libraries? Most obviously it means that there is finally an opportunity for libraries to buy into a standard supported by more than one supplier. The UK data model - which depends upon ISO 28560-2 (the version of the new standard preferred by the UK and USA among others) - was agreed by all the UK's major library RFID suppliers some time ago and has been requested in most library tenders since at least 2009. Now - for the first time - suppliers will, if requested, be delivering systems that all use the same tag standard.
It is of course up to buyers to decide whether they want to take advantage of a the new standard or continue using the mostly proprietary solutions that have been supplied to UK libraries for the last 10 years or so. The advantages of having a national standard can readily be seen in those countries that have already adopted one - Denmark being probably the best known. Libraries there have been able to share resources for many years now - the use of a common data standard underpinning what is essentially a national public library service.
Librarians are also able to select the best solutions from the supplier of their choice confident that the standard guarantees compatibility of operation. Danish libraries often buy their solutions from a range of suppliers. Almost all UK libraries - as this year's survey will shortly reveal - still buy their entire RFID solution from a single supplier.
So the publication of the standard represents a significant step forward for both freedom of choice and service delivery. I will write much more about this matter on the blog this weekend.
In the meantime I would like crave the indulgence of the list on a more personal matter.
I would like to take this opportunity to state publicly that I earn my living from working in the RFID arena having recently been accused by Tim Coates of concealing what I had always believed was a fairly obvious truth.
Since he has also threatened (unspecified) action against me if I continue to express an opinion that could be read by any public library service with which he is involved I find myself in a rather difficult position - since he has declined to tell me which ones they are. Even passing on this news could potentially be construed as interference. The best I can offer is to admit publicly that I do indeed have an interest - both financial and personal - in this subject.
I do hope that hasn't shocked anyone too much.
m. +44 (0)7786 625544