Barcoding Project: Hardware and Supplies

15 December 2016

One of our main concerns over the first few months of the project was finding and purchasing the ‘right’ equipment and supplies. As we discovered through our discussions with collections staff in other institutions and our own research, the possible combinations of equipment and supplies for a project such as this are boundless.

Through careful consideration of our own museum collections here on campus and their distinctive setups, we eventually settled on the following hardware and supplies for our location tracking project:

  • Apple iPod Touch devices
    • The Axiell Move application runs on multiple kinds of iOS devices; however, we didn’t require the full capabilities that come with an iPhone and the bulk of an iPad would have interfered with scanning the barcodes. The iPod also happened to be the least expensive option.
  • Infinite Peripherals Linea Pro 5 scanning sleeve
    • While Apple products with cameras can recognize barcodes with their stock cameras, the speed and accuracy of this scanning method are not ideal. The Linea Pro 5 sleeves fit over the iPods similar to a standard case but have a barcode scanning laser and automatically integrate with the Axiell Move application. We also purchased a protective case, charging dock, and holster with each sleeve.
  • Zebra G-Series GX430t label printer (GX43-102412-000 model)
    • We needed a desktop label printer with at least 300 dpi, high internal memory (to allow for the printing of Chinese or Japanese characters if necessary), and the ability to connect to a computer through a USB port. We decided we didn’t require the large volume printing capabilities an industrial printer would provide, nor would we require the printer to be able to connect to a computer through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The Zebra G-Series GX430t range of printers is compatible with an array of label and thermal transfer ribbon materials, and the specific model we chose met all our predetermined requirements. It also has the capability to print on paper tags as well as adhesive labels.
  • Zebra PolyPro 3000T adhesive labels (3”x1” and 1”x0.5” sizes)
    • We chose polypropylene labels for their inert, acid-free qualities and overall durability. Any barcodes printed on these labels should be resistant to water damage and fading in a way that paper labels would not be. We decided against the (more expensive) polyester version of these labels because the collections they will reside in will not have extreme heat or cold, and will not put them at risk of chemical damage. Two different sizes were chosen as these will be for both location and object barcodes.
  • Zebra 3200 Wax/Resin ribbons
    • These ribbons were recommended for our choice of polypropylene labels, and are significantly less expensive than the ribbons made entirely of resin without greatly compromising longevity or readability.
  • Neenah 65-lb. Bright White Premium Cardstock Paper
    • This archival-quality cardstock can be used to make hanging tags or print off inventory lists with barcodes that can safely be stored with museum objects. 

While the printing supplies are currently untested as we are not yet at that phase of the project, we have begun using the Linea Pro 5 scanner sleeves in conjunction with the iPods and have found them to be easy to use and accurate for scanning barcodes.