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ID Card Printing and MIFARE® Encoding at Cambridge University Library

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A card management installation in a university is never easy, and our latest one at

Cambridge University Library certainly got Ben's mind working!

An Oracle database connected via ODBC, multiple tables without common unique identifiers and transposing data to print information which wasn't actually stored in the database as well as writing back to other tables with all of the card date for importing into other systems. To top it off, we had multiple designs all with different requirements!!

Often there are strong policies in place for not writing back to the main database when it comes to ensuring data integrity so we had to read from an Oracle database and write back to a bespoke postgresSQL database.

Oracle Database Logo

Usually we wouldn't have issues with reading from multiple tables in a database but this would normally rely on having common unique identifiers, in this instance this was not possible as there were multiple instances of each record as cardholders may have multiple records.  We looked at creating a view of the various tables so we could connect to that but the vendor of the database was unable to help and any changes to the main database would be in breach of licence agreements! 

This was going to be complicated!

CardExchange Producer

Thankfully CardExchange™ is able to create its own views internally by using SQL script and the SELECT and INNER JOIN commands!  We were able to create an internal relational view based on multiple tables simply, tidily and without having to change anything in the main database (with a bit of SQL knowledge of course!).

We then had the issue of having to print information which was related to but was not exactly stored in the database, we were able to use the functions and variables function within CardExchange™ and create rules which would take a value in the database and return a value which related to that field eg, values 14, 17 and 32 may return a specific value whereas 23, 56 or 22 would return another - sounds simple, well it is if you know how! 

Finally, we had to create MIFARE® read and write definitions, this is the simple part when it comes to CardExchange™, you can create a read definition to enable you to store the CSN (or UID) as well as write to as many sectors as you may want, or indeed simply locking down the remaining sectors on the card so that someone else can't!  MIFARE® encoding requires a background knowledge of the breakdown of the cards, sectors and blocks, something we are very well versed in!  MIFARE-logo

So, to cut a long story short, we ended up reading from multiple databases and tables reading and storing CSNs and writing to specific sectors as well as encrypting the cards. 

If you are looking for a card management solution and would like to discuss your specific needs or wishes, please get in touch via email, chat or call us on 01604 422422.

Nic Posted by Nic

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