The Telegraph
Friday , July 6 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Microchip scanner on library
- Visva-Bharati takes e-way to stop book loss

Santiniketan, July 5: Visva-Bharati will introduce an electronic security management system (ESMS) in its central library to prevent books from being taken out without authorisation and also locate members who have not returned books on time.

Varsity sources said the project would cost around Rs 1 crore and the University Grants Commission has been requested to provide the funds.

“We have planned to introduce the ESMS system to protect the library and prevent its misuse. We have requested for funds. We are hopeful of getting the funds,” said Subodh Gopal Nandi, the chief librarian of Visva-Bharati.

There are nearly 4.2 lakh books in the central library of the varsity, including precious books such as the first edition of Gitanjali and those gifted to Rabindranath Tagore.

A survey central library employees have been carrying out in the past two months have revealed that nearly 700 books are missing, varsity sources said.

“Till now, we have traced 200 books to students who had borrowed them as long back as four to 10 years but did not return them. We are trying to find out the exact number of books lying with other members, including teaching and non-teaching employees,” an official said.

Varsity officials said library data was yet to be computerised and the process of issuing books was done manually.

“We want to preserve the library and the precious books it has. So we chalked out the plan to introduce the ESMS system,” the official said.

Another official said a microchip would be placed inside every book in the library. “Each microchip will be two to three millimetres in length. It will be light green in colour and will be pasted on the inside cover of each book. It will contain all data about the book, including its name, author, price and publisher. This way, it will be easier to locate a book. We will enter all chip numbers in our computers and find out where a book is at the click of a mouse,” he said.

“The chips will also have a programme that will help us prevent members from taking a book out of the library without permission. An electronic security gate will be placed in front of the library gate, through which everyone will have to pass. If someone is carrying a book that has not been issued in his name, an alarm bell will ring,” the official added.

The varsity authorities also plan to introduce a Radio Frequency Identity Device in the library. “We will give each member coming into the library a bar code scanner. The scanner will have a keypad and the official at the reception desk will punch in the code number of the desired book on the keypad. The borrower will be shown the rack where the book is kept. The moment the scanner comes near the desired book, the machine will emit a green light,” the official said.

He said each member would be given a smart card in which details on him or her would be mentioned.