Difference Between Barcode System and RFID System In Library

An In-Depth Understanding of Barcode System


Barcodes System, consisting of parallel lines of varying thickness, have long been the standard for product labeling and identification. On the other hand, RFID System (Radio Frequency Identification) employs electromagnetic fields to track tags attached to objects. Both have their distinct purposes, advantages, and limitations.

Technology Overview

A Barcode System is a visual representation of data, readable by a scanner. There are several types of barcodes, such as 1D, 2D, and QR codes. These codes function by being scanned by a reader, which then interprets the code's data. They offer benefits like cost-efficiency, universal compatibility, and ease of printing. However, they have limitations such as the need for line-of-sight scanning and susceptibility to wear and tear.

RFID System

RFID System uses radio waves to capture data stored in tags. These tags can be passive or active, with passive tags being powered by the reader and active tags having their own power source. RFID systems can read multiple tags simultaneously and from greater distances than barcodes. But, they can be more expensive and might suffer from interference.


Data Representation:
  • Barcodes hold data in the spaces and bars while RFID tags store it in microchips.
  • Barcodes are read linearly, whereas RFIDs can be read without direct line-of-sight.
Read Range:
  • Barcodes require close proximity for scanning.
  • RFID tags can be read from a few inches to several feet away.
Data Capacity:
  • Barcodes have limited data capacity.
  • RFID tags can store more extensive data.
  • Barcodes can get easily damaged.
  • RFID tags are more resilient to environmental factors.


  • Barcode Applications - Barcodes are predominantly used in retail for pricing and inventory management. Library systems employ them for book tracking, and they're also seen on boarding passes and event tickets.
  • RFID Applications - RFIDs are utilized in supply chain management for tracking goods. They're integral in access control systems and also find applications in healthcare for patient and medication tracking.
  • Cost Considerations - While barcodes are more cost-effective, the initial setup for RFID can be higher. However, the benefits of RFID can often justify the costs, especially for large-scale operations.
  • Choosing the Right Technology - When deciding between the two, consider factors like the range needed, data capacity, and budget. Industry-specific needs can also influence the choice.
  • Future Trends - Barcodes might evolve with better data capacity, while RFIDs could become more affordable and integrated into more devices.
  • Conclusion - Both Barcodes and RFID have unique strengths. The choice between them depends on the specific requirements of the task at hand.