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[BKARTS] Beatles Photographs Stolen Near Clinton Library; RFID: pro's and con's (Are book tags a threat?)
Beatles Photographs Stolen Near Clinton Library
Tue Oct 5, 2004 07:57 PM ET
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Reuters) - A collection of early photographs of the
Beatles intended for the Clinton Presidential Library has been stolen from
the car of George Harrison's sister in a smash-and-grab robbery, police
The photographs and some Beatles lyrics were in a briefcase stolen on Sunday
when the thief smashed the window of Lou Harrison's locked car, which was
parked in downtown Little Rock several blocks from the Clinton library.
"There's no indication the thief or thieves had any idea what was in the
case," said Sgt. Terry Hastings of the Little Rock Police Department.
"They may already have thrown it away, not recognizing what the material was
or what it could be worth."
Lou Harrison drove to Little Rock from her home in Illinois to donate the
material to the archive of former President Bill Clinton, who considers the
Beatles second only to Elvis Presley among his greatest musical influences.
"It is precious to me obviously because I don't have my brother in person,"
Harrison told Little Rock television station KTHV.
George Harrison, the Beatles' legendary lead guitarist whose compositions
with the group included "Taxman," "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something," died
of cancer in Los Angeles in December 2001.
His sister said she felt the stolen items should be in the Clinton library,
which opens next month, because of the former president's fondness for the
legendary British musicians.
"I feel that, really, Clinton is the Beatle president," Harrison said. "I
thought maybe if I could house them at the Clinton library, they could be on
display, that all the Beatle people could enjoy seeing them."
With Harrison's death, there are now two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney
and Ringo Starr. John Lennon was shot dead by a deranged fan in 1980.
Skip Rutherford, president of the Clinton Presidential Foundation, which is
overseeing construction of the Library, said Harrison was able to donate
several other pieces of memorabilia. These including a record album signed
by all four of the Beatles in 1964, when the group was in the U.S. for a
storied appearance on the Ed Sullivan television program.
"We've expressed personal regrets for the theft, but it was a random act,"
Rutherford said. "That doesn't help much, but it could have happened
anywhere at any time."
Rutherford said Harrison would be an honored guest when the Clinton Library
formally opens on Nov. 18.
Are book tags a threat?
By Andrew Heining and Christa Case | Contributors to The Christian Science
Once upon a time, checking out an armful of library books could seem to take
longer than writing them yourself. Today, however, using the technology that
lets commuters zip through E-ZPass tolls, some libraries are offering
quicker checkout, improved inventory practices, and better protection
But privacy advocates are already opposing use of radio frequency
identification (RFID) in libraries.
As RFID technology becomes more advanced, they warn, it could allow both the
tracking of books borrowed by a reader and the tracking of the reader via
his library books. This could permit the government or other interested
parties to compile a list of readers who have checked out books on
particular topics - a potential invasion of privacy that civil-rights
advocates find troubling.
About 250 libraries nationwide - including several college libraries -
already use the technology. In San Francisco, however, where the Public
LIbrary Commission is moving forward with plans to use it in city libraries,
the American Civil Liberties Union petitioned the city to withhold funding
of the project until privacy risks could be more accurately determined.
RFID technology works by placing a thin, inch-square tag on each library
item. The tags electronically store information, such as an identification
number or a book's title and author. The data are accessed by RFID readers,
which activate the tags by emitting radio signals and then reading
information on the tag using a transceiver and decoder.
This makes it possible to take inventory of an entire shelf in a matter of
seconds. A stack of books can also be checked out rapidly, without opening
each cover and scanning bar codes - making self-checkout an easy option.
While the system is significantly more expensive than bar-coding systems
(each tag costs between $0.50 and $1.00) it can cut libraries' costs
substantially. The efficient inventorying system can turn up tens of
thousands of dollars' worth of lost books, while the self-checkout
capability can cut labor costs.
"We save hundreds and hundreds of hours of labor," says Harvey Varent,
library director at Providence College, which recently installed the
Right now, says David Wagner, a computer science professor at the University
of California in Berkeley, "the risk exposure is very low." Together with
David Molnar, a graduate student at the University of California at
Berkeley, Mr. Wagner studied the privacy and security of library RFID
systems, focusing primarily on potential future risks.
If RFID readers started using larger, more powerful antennas, the tags could
be read from much farther away than the one- to three-feet range within
which they currently operate. But Wagner is more concerned with the fact
that anyone with an RFID reader - which costs about $200 - could access the
data on at least some tags.
What Wagner envisions, however, is the development of a "smart tag" that
could be read only by the library's own RFID reader. This, Wagner believes,
could be the key to benefitting from RFID technology without compromising
RFID library opens tomorrow
04 October 2004
Manukau City Council will open a hi-tech library in Botany Downs tomorrow,
which will be the first in New Zealand to track the location of its books
using RFID tags.
Libraries manager Chris Szekely says tags have been attached to the
library's collection of 30,000 books. Most of the hardware was in place last
week and testing of the system has "been great", he says.
The tags can be read by wireless scanners and will mean library staff can
check whether shelved books are out of sequence simply by running a handheld
scanner along each shelf. RFID readers built into the library's returns box
will also allow books to be automatically scanned and checked back into the
Mr Szekely expects the library's collection will double in size over the
next two years.
All the RFID tags and associated hardware have been supplied by the New
Zealand subsidiary of United States' RFID specialist Checkpoint Meto.
The RFID tags will replace the magnetic tags usually attached to books to
Mr Szekely says Manukau Libraries expects "huge savings" in staff time
thanks to the ability to wirelessly locate books that are stacked out of
"Tasks that used to take an hour should take 10 minutes."
The branch library will be staffed to an equivalent level as conventional
libraries, so librarians will have more time to devote to customer service,
Many libraries across New Zealand are keeping a watching brief on the
potential of RFID.
The cost of retro-fitting tags and readers to existing collections has
delayed uptake of the technology to date, but this is expected to change
within the next few years as the cost of tags and scanners comes down.
Wellington Libraries manager Jane Hill said earlier this year that RFID is
likely to be on the agenda in the capital in two or three years.
She estimated it would cost about $1.5 million to retrospectively deploy
RFID tags within Wellington Central Library alone.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3052941a28,00.html (with links to RFID
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