RFid in the Vatican
Jul 08, 2004
Texas Instruments' RFID technology streamlines management of Vatican Library's treasured collections
Implementation underway with plans to expand RFID to access control, loan and parking management, and tagging of historical artifacts
The Vatican Library in Rome, Italy, home of nearly two million books, manuscripts and other priceless items, has adopted Texas Instruments' 13.56 MHz, ISO 15693 radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to identify and manage its extensive book and document collection. Using RFID, the library is finding misplaced books more quickly, maximizing floor space with frequently requested items and streamlining the inventory process.
Previously, administrators were forced to close the library for an entire month each year to verify its contents, manually cross-referencing what was found on each shelf against the library's collection database. When the RFID project is completed, the Vatican estimates inventory will take only half a day. Systems integrator Seret s.r.l., of Rome, Italy, implemented the RFID system and has currently tagged more than 50,000 of the Vatican Library's 120,000 volumes in its public reading rooms.
Each TI-RFid inlay stores the individual book or document's catalog data -- such as title, author, number of pages and publication date -- on a specially designed 'library friendly' tag that prevents item damage. The printed tags also include visible text, allowing for faster labeling. When new data is added to an item, the record in the library's collections database is simultaneously updated via wireless communication between the reader and software management system.
"RFID improves the way librarians manage their collections, streamlining and automating item retrieval, storage and inventory processes," said Bill Allen, marketing communications manager, Texas Instruments RFid Systems. "Books and documents that used to be misplaced or misfiled with the Vatican Library's manual system -- essentially 'lost' for extended periods -- are accurately located and accounted for by librarians with a quick scan of the shelves using a handheld reader."
To further ensure that the collections are properly organized, each shelf is equipped with an RFID tag containing a list of the volumes that should be stored there. Using the handheld RFID readers, library staff can quickly and easily double-check that the correct books are stored in the right order on the proper shelf.
Additionally, Seret's RFID system complies with worldwide library standards, satisfying the requirement for external access to the collections database for remote Web-based catalog searches. "TI's RFID tags are already widely used in library systems throughout the world. Both the management software and the database are designed to comply with worldwide standards, such as the WebOPAC online public access catalog system," said Emilia Di Bernardo of Seret.
In the future, the library plans to extend the system to include access control, loan management and parking management by issuing RFID-tagged badges to staff, students and researchers. Administrators also intend to tag priceless objects such as paintings and other works of art, museum items, manuscripts, coins and historical items on display or stored at the Vatican Library.
For more information on TI's RFID technology solutions, please visit http://www.ti-rfid.com