FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, April 27, 2006

RFID Finds Space on the Shelf in Libraries, Bookstores

Books, that quaintest of media, are proving themselves to be a good fit for RFID tagging, a technology still on the cutting edge.

A bookstore in the Netherlands, Boekhandels Groep Nederland (BGN), is tagging every book on the shelves of its "SmartStore" with RFID tags. Aside from expediting distribution and inventory tracking, the tags will help customers search for titles and their availability in real time using in-store kiosks or BGN's website.

Similarly, a new central library in Minneapolis is embracing RFID tagging of its items for real-time inventory and self-service checkout. Other innovations featured in this library include a "learning commons" with Internet access, educational and collaboration resources; a teen lounge featuring downloadable music; electronic "art walls" through which paintings can be displayed digitally; and reading areas with comfortable chairs and gas fireplaces.

What's striking about all this is the continued relevance of books in the face of the Internet and digital media. Bookstores and libraries were predicted to be among the first casualties of the Information Revolution, when in fact just the opposite has been true. No matter how far we advance technically, there will always be the appeal of curling up with a good, old-fashioned book... paper, binding and all.

Sources: RFID Update, Christian Science Montior