Help- 3M RFID and Koha

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Help- 3M RFID and Koha

Mark Osborne-3
Kia ora whanau,

We've got a new 3M RFID security system and self check unit being installed (which is wonderful, and a really exciting development for our library).

The problem is that the 3M technician installing the system says that the RFID reader needs Windows XP middleware (called 'Pad Staff Workstation Model 895') to go between the RFID reader and the catalogue. We are an open source school and run Linux on the desktop so we don't want to have to use XP just to run our security system. This is strange given the RFID reader has a USB interface- I would have thought it would put the text string directly into the browser like our barcode reader used to do.

The technician also said that we can't catalogue items directly into Koha, we need to use the 3M RFID Conversion Software. This sounds nuts to me.

Does anyone have experience with 3M RFID systems and Koha? Is there a way to run Linux, Koha and 3M security whilst keeping one's sanity?

--
Hei konā mai,

Mark Osborne
Deputy Principal,
Albany Senior High School.
http://wikieducator.org/Albany_Senior_High_School
http://wikieducator.org/Albany_Senior_High_School/ICTs

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Re: Help- 3M RFID and Koha

Dobrica Pavlinušić
2010/1/26 Mark Osborne <[hidden email]>:
> Kia ora whanau,
>
> We've got a new 3M RFID security system and self check unit being installed
> (which is wonderful, and a really exciting development for our library).

I had same problem some time ago, so I decided to write driver for 3M
RFID reader:

http://blog.rot13.org/2008/10/3m_rfid_reader_810_can_freely_speak_now.html

Later on, I even played around with Comet

http://blog.rot13.org/2009/04/comet_experiment_rfid_reader_with_koha_data_in_browser.html

but now-days, I'm working on third version which should use JSONP to
fetch data from local reader and display data within Koha. Local web
server which respond to JSONP and driver RFID reader is ready, but I
haven't yet written Koha part.

You can play with stand-alone RFID driver/JOSNP server using
http://svn.rot13.org/index.cgi/RFID/ (3m-810.pl).

I also collected various useful information about 3M's RFID
implementation for libraries at

http://saturn.ffzg.hr/rot13/index.cgi?hitchhikers_guide_to_rfid

Hopefully, you will file something helpful in one of those links :-)

> The problem is that the 3M technician installing the system says that the
> RFID reader needs Windows XP middleware (called 'Pad Staff Workstation Model
> 895') to go between the RFID reader and the catalogue. We are an open source
> school and run Linux on the desktop so we don't want to have to use XP just
> to run our security system. This is strange given the RFID reader has a USB
> interface- I would have thought it would put the text string directly into
> the browser like our barcode reader used to do.

RFID reader is USB-serial device, and not USB-hid (like keyboard) so
it needs program to drive it. This somehow makes sense, because RFID
tag has more information than barcode on it.

> The technician also said that we can't catalogue items directly into Koha,
> we need to use the 3M RFID Conversion Software. This sounds nuts to me.

We have currently production deployment which uses 3M software
together with Windows macro which transfers barcode (from Koha's
window title, sic!) to 3M software and/or barcode from 3M software to
focused form in Koha. This works, but is not something we would like
to have forever, which is a reason why I started writing my own
support for it.

> Does anyone have experience with 3M RFID systems and Koha? Is there a way to
> run Linux, Koha and 3M security whilst keeping one's sanity?

We asked once 3M representative about support for developing 3rd party
software for their's RFID reader and got response: "strictly not!".
Fortunately, he got downsized in next 3M reorganization, so I'm not
too worried about it :-)

--
 ...2share!2flame... http://blog.rot13.org
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Re: Help- 3M RFID and Koha

nengard
I have to admit I haven't worked with RFID personally at all.  But is
3M the only company out there? Is there another one that is more open
source friendly?  By the sound of it, you've already made the final
choice, but I'm just curious for my education and the education as
others.

Nicole

2010/1/26 Dobrica Pavlinušić <[hidden email]>:

> 2010/1/26 Mark Osborne <[hidden email]>:
>> Kia ora whanau,
>>
>> We've got a new 3M RFID security system and self check unit being installed
>> (which is wonderful, and a really exciting development for our library).
>
> I had same problem some time ago, so I decided to write driver for 3M
> RFID reader:
>
> http://blog.rot13.org/2008/10/3m_rfid_reader_810_can_freely_speak_now.html
>
> Later on, I even played around with Comet
>
> http://blog.rot13.org/2009/04/comet_experiment_rfid_reader_with_koha_data_in_browser.html
>
> but now-days, I'm working on third version which should use JSONP to
> fetch data from local reader and display data within Koha. Local web
> server which respond to JSONP and driver RFID reader is ready, but I
> haven't yet written Koha part.
>
> You can play with stand-alone RFID driver/JOSNP server using
> http://svn.rot13.org/index.cgi/RFID/ (3m-810.pl).
>
> I also collected various useful information about 3M's RFID
> implementation for libraries at
>
> http://saturn.ffzg.hr/rot13/index.cgi?hitchhikers_guide_to_rfid
>
> Hopefully, you will file something helpful in one of those links :-)
>
>> The problem is that the 3M technician installing the system says that the
>> RFID reader needs Windows XP middleware (called 'Pad Staff Workstation Model
>> 895') to go between the RFID reader and the catalogue. We are an open source
>> school and run Linux on the desktop so we don't want to have to use XP just
>> to run our security system. This is strange given the RFID reader has a USB
>> interface- I would have thought it would put the text string directly into
>> the browser like our barcode reader used to do.
>
> RFID reader is USB-serial device, and not USB-hid (like keyboard) so
> it needs program to drive it. This somehow makes sense, because RFID
> tag has more information than barcode on it.
>
>> The technician also said that we can't catalogue items directly into Koha,
>> we need to use the 3M RFID Conversion Software. This sounds nuts to me.
>
> We have currently production deployment which uses 3M software
> together with Windows macro which transfers barcode (from Koha's
> window title, sic!) to 3M software and/or barcode from 3M software to
> focused form in Koha. This works, but is not something we would like
> to have forever, which is a reason why I started writing my own
> support for it.
>
>> Does anyone have experience with 3M RFID systems and Koha? Is there a way to
>> run Linux, Koha and 3M security whilst keeping one's sanity?
>
> We asked once 3M representative about support for developing 3rd party
> software for their's RFID reader and got response: "strictly not!".
> Fortunately, he got downsized in next 3M reorganization, so I'm not
> too worried about it :-)
>
> --
>  ...2share!2flame... http://blog.rot13.org
> _______________________________________________
> Koha mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.katipo.co.nz/mailman/listinfo/koha
>
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Re: Help- 3M RFID and Koha

Dobrica Pavlinušić
I wouldn't say that 3M is only choice, but people mostly take 3M for
libraries because they offer readers, and selfcheck systems (which is
Window XP machine, with Java and Tomcat, two RFID readers and
touchscreen... all that to produce single line SIP2 protocol :-\)

It's a bit like old saying that nobody ever got fired for buying IBM
equipment. 3M is something like that in library world.

RFID readers don't really have any standard communication with
computers (aside from newer USB ones which support CCID, but it just
defines bulk usb commands as opposed to serial-over-usb). So, even if
you go with OmniKey (which has binary driver available for Linux)
situation is (IMHO!) not much better.

It's a mess :-)

On Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 13:20, Nicole Engard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I have to admit I haven't worked with RFID personally at all.  But is
> 3M the only company out there? Is there another one that is more open
> source friendly?  By the sound of it, you've already made the final
> choice, but I'm just curious for my education and the education as
> others.
>
> Nicole
>
> 2010/1/26 Dobrica Pavlinušić <[hidden email]>:
>> 2010/1/26 Mark Osborne <[hidden email]>:
>>> Kia ora whanau,
>>>
>>> We've got a new 3M RFID security system and self check unit being installed
>>> (which is wonderful, and a really exciting development for our library).
>>
>> I had same problem some time ago, so I decided to write driver for 3M
>> RFID reader:
>>
>> http://blog.rot13.org/2008/10/3m_rfid_reader_810_can_freely_speak_now.html
>>
>> Later on, I even played around with Comet
>>
>> http://blog.rot13.org/2009/04/comet_experiment_rfid_reader_with_koha_data_in_browser.html
>>
>> but now-days, I'm working on third version which should use JSONP to
>> fetch data from local reader and display data within Koha. Local web
>> server which respond to JSONP and driver RFID reader is ready, but I
>> haven't yet written Koha part.
>>
>> You can play with stand-alone RFID driver/JOSNP server using
>> http://svn.rot13.org/index.cgi/RFID/ (3m-810.pl).
>>
>> I also collected various useful information about 3M's RFID
>> implementation for libraries at
>>
>> http://saturn.ffzg.hr/rot13/index.cgi?hitchhikers_guide_to_rfid
>>
>> Hopefully, you will file something helpful in one of those links :-)
>>
>>> The problem is that the 3M technician installing the system says that the
>>> RFID reader needs Windows XP middleware (called 'Pad Staff Workstation Model
>>> 895') to go between the RFID reader and the catalogue. We are an open source
>>> school and run Linux on the desktop so we don't want to have to use XP just
>>> to run our security system. This is strange given the RFID reader has a USB
>>> interface- I would have thought it would put the text string directly into
>>> the browser like our barcode reader used to do.
>>
>> RFID reader is USB-serial device, and not USB-hid (like keyboard) so
>> it needs program to drive it. This somehow makes sense, because RFID
>> tag has more information than barcode on it.
>>
>>> The technician also said that we can't catalogue items directly into Koha,
>>> we need to use the 3M RFID Conversion Software. This sounds nuts to me.
>>
>> We have currently production deployment which uses 3M software
>> together with Windows macro which transfers barcode (from Koha's
>> window title, sic!) to 3M software and/or barcode from 3M software to
>> focused form in Koha. This works, but is not something we would like
>> to have forever, which is a reason why I started writing my own
>> support for it.
>>
>>> Does anyone have experience with 3M RFID systems and Koha? Is there a way to
>>> run Linux, Koha and 3M security whilst keeping one's sanity?
>>
>> We asked once 3M representative about support for developing 3rd party
>> software for their's RFID reader and got response: "strictly not!".
>> Fortunately, he got downsized in next 3M reorganization, so I'm not
>> too worried about it :-)
>>
>> --
>>  ...2share!2flame... http://blog.rot13.org
>> _______________________________________________
>> Koha mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.katipo.co.nz/mailman/listinfo/koha
>>
> _______________________________________________
> Koha mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.katipo.co.nz/mailman/listinfo/koha
>



--
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Re: Help- 3M RFID and Koha

gsl-2
In reply to this post by Mark Osborne-3
We looked casually at Bibliotheca a couple of years ago. I was nominally more interested in it than some others because it didn't require YAWS (Yet Another Windows Server). Looking at the web site again now I also see they have a good worldwide representation.

http://www.bibliotheca-rfid.com

Greg

Greg Lawson
Rolling Hills Consolidated Library
1912 N. Belt Highway
St. Joseph, MO 64506

----------------------
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nicole Engard" <[hidden email]>
To: "dpavlin" <[hidden email]>
Cc: "koha" <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 6:20:26 AM GMT -06:00 US/Canada Central
Subject: Re: [Koha] Help- 3M RFID and Koha

I have to admit I haven't worked with RFID personally at all.  But is
3M the only company out there? Is there another one that is more open
source friendly?  By the sound of it, you've already made the final
choice, but I'm just curious for my education and the education as
others.

Nicole

2010/1/26 Dobrica Pavlinušić <[hidden email]>:
> 2010/1/26 Mark Osborne <[hidden email]>:
>> Kia ora whanau,
>>...
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Re: Help- 3M RFID and Koha

MJ Ray-2
In reply to this post by Mark Osborne-3
Mark Osborne <[hidden email]>
> The problem is that the 3M technician installing the system says that the
> RFID reader needs Windows XP middleware (called 'Pad Staff Workstation Model
> 895') to go between the RFID reader and the catalogue. We are an open source
> school and run Linux on the desktop so we don't want to have to use XP just
> to run our security system. This is strange given the RFID reader has a USB
> interface- I would have thought it would put the text string directly into
> the browser like our barcode reader used to do.

software.coop had something similar at one site, but the desktop
machines are MacOS X not Linux, sadly.  We've had some problems with
MacOS X eccentricities (watch http://identi.ca/mjray for occasional
outbursts of frustration about them!), but I think the RFID pads work
most of the time and the solution that has evolved is pretty portable.
It might even run on Windows with less than a dozen lines changed!

[...]
> Does anyone have experience with 3M RFID systems and Koha? Is there a way to
> run Linux, Koha and 3M security whilst keeping one's sanity?

Our approach is a small modification to Koha (called RFIDenabled)
where the Koha server contacts the librarian's browser's machine when
it needs a barcode and accesses some middleware to control the pad.
The middleware is pretty stable and written in perl, but it's not fast
yet (1.6sec per read) because I had to slow it down a bit to reduce
tag read failures (which appear random, but seem proportional to pad
activity rate).

I think it works with TRF7960 (definitely) and MicroRWD (probably but
less tested) pads connected to serial ports or most USBs.  If someone
is willing to send me a USB pad and pay for the time, I think I can
probably port it.  After all, I'd not hacked RFID until foolishly
saying I could see how to make pads work on MacOS ;-)

On the Macs, the middleware is started by launchd, but I think it's
started by udev on Linux.

I'm happy to post the latest version up, but it is still very much a
DIY kit rather than a finished product until I'm sure about the tag
format.  So far, the access gates are happy, but there is some
lingering incompatibility with a self-issue machine that I want to
iron out before really releasing this to Koha world.  We're getting
little cooperation from 3M-compatible RFID system suppliers, so I'm
not 100% sure whether it's us or the self-issue machine that isn't
following the ISO standard for RFID tags.  We're new to RFID and I
think the equipment suppliers are simply packaging bought-in
circuitboards into slick cases and selling them, so I wouldn't like to
bet on whose work is slightly wrong!

Hope that informs,
--
MJ Ray (slef)  Webmaster and LMS developer at     | software
www.software.coop http://mjr.towers.org.uk        |  .... co
IMO only: see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html |  .... op

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Re: Help- 3M RFID and Koha

pftecoffers
In reply to this post by Mark Osborne-3
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