RFID books, weblogs and resources

There are a growing number of resources for RFID and related technologies, so I thought it would be useful to compile a list of the resources and reading material that I am finding valuable.

It may be updated as new things become available.

For Even


Some recommended books on RFID theory and practice.

RFID: Applications, Security, and Privacy

This is probably the best book on RFID to date, covering a wide range of issues including economics, technologies and applications. Comes highly recommended by Bruce Sterling too. It was catalysed by a workshop at MIT in 2003:

“Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is rapidly becoming ubiquitous as businesses seek to streamline supply chains and respond to mandates from key customers. But RFID and other new wireless ID technologies raise unprecedented privacy issues. RFID: Applications, Security, and Privacy covers these issues from every angle and viewpoint.”

RFID Handbook

This book covers the fundamentals and applications in contactless smart cards and identification, and gets quite deep into technology issues in RFID. Although it is primarily a technical book, full of equations and diagrams, it offers a lot of insight into the fundamentals of making this technology, as well as covering basic applications and services.

RFID Essentials

Good basic grounding for application, business and technical issues. Focused on EPC applications and logistics and includes sample pseudo code for managing RFID tasks. Read this for the groundwork before exploring the equations in the RFID Handbook above.


A hands on book for hacking RFID readers, writers and transponders. Covers lots of ‘home automation’ and security applications as examples with instructions for making complete systems. Includes a good list of simple RFID hardware for prototyping. It’s available as part of a kit with the Phidgets USB reader/writer.

Smart card manufacturing

For industrial designers and manufacturing engineers, covers in great detail how to embed microprocessors into little pieces of plastic. Great diagrams.

Internet of Things ITU report

This ITU report looks at the economics, theories and applications that are driving the development of RFID.

“Takes a look at the next step in “always on” communications, in which new technologies like RFID and smart computing promise a world of networked and interconnected devices that provide relevant content and information whatever the location of the user.”

Shaping Things

Bruce Sterling’s book is a manifesto for a more sustainable approach to design, manufacture and everyday life. It’s a fairly quick read, enjoyable and contains many ‘aha’ moments.

“Spimes are designed on screens, fabricated by digital means, and precisely tracked through space and time. They are made of substances that can be folded back into the production stream of future spimes, challenging all of us to become involved in their production.”


Katherine Albrecht & Liz McIntyre write about privacy issues in RFID, offering a stark vision of a future where everything is tracked and connected. Their tone is dramatic and their research examples are often taken out of context, but this is a useful counterpoint to RFID hype.


Adam Greenfield’s writes about the likely emergence of ubiquitous computing and the social, cultural and ethical problems that may emerge in it’s design and use. Particularly relevant here are thoughts on seamfulness, on mechanisms of payment ‘dissolving in behaviour’ and some great musings on the embodied significance of the Octopus card in Hong Kong.

“The age of ubiquitous computing is here: a computing without computers, where information processing has diffused into everyday life, and virtually disappeared from view. What does this mean to those of us who will be encountering it? How will it transform our lives? And how will we learn to make wise decisions about something so hard to see?”

Ambient Findability

Peter Morville’s book on the ‘design of findable objects’ takes ideas from wayfinding, the web and information architecture, particularly around search, and puts forward ideas on how these might be applied in ubiquitous computing environments.

“Discusses the Internet, GIS, and other network technologies that are coming together to make unlimited findability possible. He explores how the melding of these innovations impacts society, since Web access is now a standard requirement for successful people and businesses.”


There are many weblogs on RFID being built upon the recent hype around RFID in the supply chain, and they mostly offer industry focused information. Below I’ve listed most of the weblogs I have found, including some that are not about RFID, but cover overlapping ground. The weblogs I find valuable have comments.

The Pondering Primate

High volume and interesting weblog by Scott Shaffer that looks at all of the emerging technologies and services that attempt to connect digital information into physical space.

“As the Internet becomes mobile through the cell phone, I realized the physical world would merge with the electronic one and a tsunami of opportunities would be created. I constantly search for companies and news associated with mobile search, mobile marketing and mobile commerce.”

Bar Code Nerds

People obsessed with barcodes and the things you can do with them, and they really are nerds:

“You know what pisses me off? I’m in the store. I buy 5 different flavors of fruit leather. They are different colors in different packages. Different SKUs with different GTINs, hence each has a different UPC barcode. So what does the cashier do? Scan one and hit the ‘repeat X5’ key. I realize all she’s doing is harvesting the price. To hell with real time inventory tracking.”

Barcode Blog

Less commentary and more links to other news sources, but it’s good to see a balanced view between technologies like barcodes and RFID i.e. not so much hype about RFID.

Semapedia weblog

A weblog about developments in the Semapedia community:

“We invite you to create Semapedia-Tags which are in fact cellphone-readable physical hyperlinks. You can create such Tags easily yourself by choosing and pasting a Wikipedia URL into the form above. Once created, you put the Tags up at their according physical location.”


Simon Woodside writes about the development of semacode: a 2D barcode system that is an open platform, and plugs into many of the important building blocks of the internet and mobile platforms.

“Semacode’s software provides the tools necessary to build applications that combine aspects of the virtual world into the real world. It works by combining existing standardized elements — camera phones, optical barcodes, URLs — into an integrated system.”

Contactless News

Lots of news and articles on developments in contactless payment including smart cards and NFC. The articles go behind a subscription service after 60 days, so make sure you get relevant quotes while they are still there…

Spychips blog

Albrecht and McIntyre, authors of Spychips rampage against RFID and forefront privacy issues with auto ID and tracking technologies.

RFID Innovationlab

A Danish RFID weblog from people at the Innovation Lab in Katrinebjerg that covers a lot of ground.

RFID in Japan

Shin’ichi Konomi writes about developments in RFID in Japan. This blog has uncovered numerouse interesting user-centred developments in RFID and barcode technology as well as unusual and quirky uses.

RFID Law Blog

This weblog could be really good (and it gets it kind of right in the legislation category) but it tends to re-publish other news stories when it could be providing useful insight and commentary on important legal issues.


A low volume but very smart and focused weblog, looking at privacy issues in passports, credit cards, gaming and other alternative uses.

RFID in libraries

I trust the librarians to get it right.

RFID Journal

The RFID industry authority, with events, news, features and case studies. Very industry focused.

RFID Gazette

High volume weblog with lots of industry news.

Other weblogs: Payments news, RFID Lowdown, RFID Times, RFID Today, RFID Detail, The RFID Weblog, Using RFID news, RFID Update.

Online resources

Mediamatic Reader on RFID

This reader compiles a number of resources on the technical and philosophical aspects of RFID.

Security & Privacy in RFID Systems

A large resource of technical papers on security and privacy. You can subscribe to a mailing list to be notified when new papers are added (Could we have an RSS feed too please)!

“The goal of this page is to reference works related to security and privacy in RFID systems. The bibliography contains references toward refereed papers published in journals and conference proceedings, as well as technical reports and thesis. It is updated on an irregular basis depending on the flow of papers published in the domain.”

RFID Primer

There are numerous guides and primers on RFID around the web, but this is perhaps the best, from AIM the global association of everything Identifiable.

Internet of things: Working bibliography

This Internet of things bibliography compiled by Anne Galloway is a good place to start looking at the wider implications of RFID as seen by industry and (primarily ubiquitous computing) academia.

Related things:

  1. Internet of Things booklet Rob van Kranenburg is creating what looks like an interesting critique of ambient technology and the all-seeing network of RFID: “The Internet of Things is the second issue in the series of Network Notebooks.......
  2. Touch project interview In December 2005 I was interviewed for Printed and Disposable Electronics News about the Touch project, the future of RFID and on the social implications of NFC. Here is the plain interview, since an......
  3. Making things talk Tom Igoe’s new book Making things talk arrived today, full of lovely projects and code examples. Tom’s previous book Physical computing has been the definitive reference for all hardware hacking that goes on at......
  4. Rob van Kranenburg at ‘How I learned to love RFID’ On the 20th May, Rob van Kranenburg talked at How I learned to love RFID in HMKV in Dortmund, Germany. This is a short summary of a huge presentation on RFID issues, that covered......
  5. The EU on the visibility of RFID The EU is conducting a new online consultancy on privacy, data protection and information security principles in RFID applications. I am happy to see that in Article 5 they begin to address the invisible......

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  1. [...] [RFID books, weblogs and resources](http://www.nearfield.org/2006/08/rfid-books-weblogs-and-resources) [...]

  2. By Making things talk · Touch on 1 November 2007 at 12:37

    [...] things. As a place to start prototyping with RFID this is a great complement to some of the other RFID books out [...]

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