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RFID finds application in India’s Allahabad University Central Library

  • Mahesh Tiwari
  • Mar 02, 2024
  • RFID
RFID finds application in India’s Allahabad University Central Library

For people who are familiar with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology and its vast application in identification, tracing and tracking assets/ asset management, it comes as no surprise that RFID is being used to manage library operations but using RFID in Allahabad University’s Central Library which houses a vast collection of 7.5 lakhs books, journals, some of them pretty ancient, significant in history, can do wonders for library staffs and students as well.

How RFID can transform library operations in AU central Library?

RFID system

RFID technology allows an article; let’s say a library book, to be tracked and communicated with, using radio frequency signals, similar in concept to a cell-phone that uses cellular network to communicate.

RFID employs a chip that can be written and can store information about the item, and it communicates the same with the help of an antenna. The chip and antenna are together called RFID tag or transponder.  It also uses an RFID reader that detects the RF signal coming from the transponder and decodes it and passes it to a computer screen for end users. Server, at the heart of the RFID system felicitates communication between various components. It works as the communication gateway. 

RFID in Central Library:

First it was in 2008, when the Central Library at Allahabad University made an effort to modernize the library, but the plan didn’t go through due to lack of funds.  Then after 12 years gap, the Allahabad University is hoping to implement RFID technology in the Central Library that would allow students to locate any book at a mere click of a mouse, using the server in a huge collection of books.

The Varsity sent a proposal worth 1.10 crore to the ministry of Education for this ambitious project. 

The RFID system in place, it would allow library staff and students to locate any book or journal but that is not all. It would also help in maintaining a database of books, library equipment being used by students, its issuance and timely submission to the library after use so that other students can avail the benefits as well.

“The technology is beneficial when it comes to tracing a particular book from the stack area or maintaining the inventory of the books. Besides, this would put a check to the practice of stealing books from the library. Presently our guards at the gate frisk the students who are supposed to keep their bags deposited at the pigeon box at the gate”, opines the Allahabad University Librarian, Dr BK Singh.

Reservations about RFID technology being used in the Central Library:

While use of RFID technology has obvious benefits, the technological aspect of implementation and the cost involved sometimes give rise to certain reservations about its use. Some experts in the field of library science opine that the use of RFID technology in the context of Allahabad University is debatable as it would need every student to pass through a ‘gate’  and how safe it is for students and for how long it would keep working is hard to tell. ‘That may be one reason why universities like Banaras Hindu University, Aligarh Muslim University and Delhi University etc. have not gone for this technology’, said a former AU faculty.

Once implemented in the central library, the RFID technology can streamline the circulation operations and can help with theft detection as well.

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  • Created on Feb 15, 2023

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