Post #3–Learning About Products and Other Projects
Specifications for printing equipment, scanners, and labelling materials can sometimes be minimal online, so we decided to contact the resellers and manufacturers of certain products. This was important for ensuring they meet our needs and will be compatible with our collections objects and storage scenarios.
After sending out emails, we were finally able to get in contact with a few people who had successfully implemented barcoding systems in museum collections. It was nice to get some input from other individuals in the field who had opinions on things like label material and printer brands. We arranged a meeting with a colleague at the Royal Alberta Museum here in Edmonton who is also implementing a barcoding system during their upcoming renewal project and relocation. It was especially gratifying to have someone hash through all the things we’d been pursuing and researching for the past month. Having so recently made many of the decisions themselves that we were in the midst of, the timing was fortuitous.
A second museum collection for the project was also tentatively identified and confirmed. When deciding which collections to barcode for this pilot project, we looked for collections with some variety in their object materials, staff with the capacity to continue implementing the barcodes after our project funding ended, and objects that moved frequently (such as for loans, research, teaching, or exhibitions); this criteria ensures that the selected collections will make for good case studies. While the university’s Art collection had been a confirmed choice since the beginning of the project, the second museum collection was a question mark for a while into the project.
Once the final collection could be established, and staff members for both collections had been consulted, final decisions about purchasing could be made. When barcoding museum collections it is important that the individual collection material and storage circumstances are carefully considered before the printer, label materials and sizes, ribbons, and other equipment are bought.