HK$200m upgrade plan for libraries

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 January, 2007, 12:00am

The government proposes spending nearly HK$200 million to upgrade computer systems at public libraries to meet growing demand.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department plans a trial in six libraries of a new identification tag system to replace bar codes.

A paper to be discussed by legislators on Friday says it would cost HK$196,467,000 to introduce the radio frequency identification (RFID) system in all libraries over six years.

RFID is a wireless technology that transmits data from objects to computer systems. A tag that stores bibliographic information unique to each library item will replace the bar-code labels.

Unlike bar-code technology, which requires line-of-sight reading of individual items, the RFID system offers reading of multiple items. Singapore National Library and Seattle Public Library already use it.

Information technology sector legislator Sin Chung-kai said: 'RFID can enhance the security of public libraries and prevent members of the public from stealing books.

'At present, library staff have to check the bar code of every book one by one. But with RFID, a basket of books can pass through a sensor when they are checked out. If any book hasn't gone through the sensor, library staff will be alerted.'