There is little as frustrating as knowing you own an item but not being able to find it. When you can’t find the right screwdriver for the job, the left boot to match the right or even the remote control, it’s completely frustrating. You can turn rooms upside down but not find the one thing you need, even though you know it’s there.
I am not know for my tidiness. More the reverse, in fact. Perhaps this is why I came up with the idea in my teens that everything I owned ought to be tagged in a way that I could make it beep when I wanted to find it. Where are my notes on the Pseudo-Xenophontic constitution of Athens? BEEEP! Got them.
In my teens I imagined this being done with mobile phone technology; that I could have a list of phone numbers that corresponded to all of my possessions so that I could phone the one I needed. But I see now that this is not the way to do it. Radio Frequency IDentity Tags are the way to go. The technology we are using in our libraries would work in my home. At work (an academic library) we use a rectangular label in the books which I could easily stick onto most things I own. Then you can find things using a hand-held scanner which beeps when you point it at the thing you want. This is exactly the technology I’ve been waiting for. I would always be able to find everything! It’s perfect.
I have been having difficulty costing this little concept as the websites that sell these labels and hand-helds don’t put their prices up front. Still I don’t think it can be that highly priced or libraries wouldn’t be able to afford to do it. I bet if we all clubbed together so we could buy in bulk (although not so much bulk that we’re subject to the EU tender process) we could all have this technology working for us at an affordable price.