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Barcoding

Barcoding

CAVEAT: I'm not sure this is the right topic area, but none of the other places seemd to fit either.

We are looking for some info about how people barcode and capture that information into EMu, from a process point of view. Here are two scenarios. Let us know what you do and if you have any automation support for either of them. We don't want to re-invent the wheel.
1) We want to scan objects and change their locations: we gather a set of barcodes on a scanner out in the storage or collection area and want to upload those into EMu with changed object locations - what is the best way to do that? How do we take the synced barcode-related location info with EMu?
(Forbes, we don't have WiFi yet, so can't use MvWISE, maybe later [Smile] ))

2) We want to print barcodes to apply to objects: we query the catalog, and using that result set, we run a script to do the following:
send the barcode encoded file to the barcode printer (LPT1 [Smile] and automatically update a 'Barcode printed=Yes' field for all of the records in the resultset .

Do you do any of these tasks? Do you have any automation tips you could share with us?

What we do now in our as-yet-unmigrated FilemakerPro DB is a mix of in-database scripting and .NET middleware. We would prefer to keep as much as we can in the middleware, since this allows us to change barcode formatting, etc., on the fly.

Once we can work out these issues, we will be ready to go forth into EMu.

All the best, Joanna and the Anthro team at FMNH

Edited by: - 01-Jan-70 09:00:00

Joanna McCaffrey
Biodiversity Informatics Mgr.
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Re: Barcoding

BARCODING

> Here are two scenarios. Let us know what you do and if you have any automation support for
> either of them. We don't want to re-invent the wheel.
> 1) We want to scan objects and change their locations: we gather a set of barcodes on a scanner out in the storage or
> collection area and want to upload those into EMu with changed object locations - what is the best way to do that? How do
> we take the synced barcode-related location info with EMu?
> (Forbes, we don't have WiFi yet, so can't use MvWISE, maybe later ))

> 2) We want to print barcodes to apply to objects: we query the catalog, and using
> that result set, we run a script to do the following:
> send the barcode encoded file to the barcode printer (LPT1 and automatically update a
> 'Barcode printed=Yes' field for all of the records in the resultset .

> Do you do any of these tasks? Do you have any automation tips you could share with us?

>What we do now in our as-yet-unmigrated FilemakerPro DB is a mix of in-database scripting and .NET middleware.
> We would prefer to keep as much as we can in the middleware, since this allows us to change barcode formatting, etc., on
> the fly.

> Once we can work out these issues, we will be ready to go forth into EMu.

I wonder if this discussion has been bitten bitten by the 'no messages were forwarded' problem.

As Joanna said, we are looking at using a middleware approach to barcoding at the moment. However, we'd be really interested in hearing how other people are handling this kind of issue.

Cheers

JP

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Re: Barcoding

we're interested in this topic, too. We bought barcode equipment and everything, but don't have the time or manpower to implement it right now. But if there's a simple solution to integrating barcoding software and then syncing it with EMu, I'd like to know any details about it.
Perian Sully
Judah L. Magnes Museum
Berkeley, California

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Re: Barcoding

Hi all;

My opposition to “batch” data collection for EMu is I think pretty well known, for reasons which I have explained at the various user group meetings over the past few years. So I’m not going to repeat my arguments here. However if there is anyone out there who hasn’t had the dubious pleasure of listening to me wax lyrical about what I see are the significant dangers of using this approach, please let me know :)

Okay, now with that said...

> We want to scan objects and change their locations: we gather a set of barcodes on a scanner out in the storage or collection area

It is technically feasible to develop this sort of functionality of course. But the devil is in the detail; the approach and methodology used will depend very much on exactly what your requirements are. You need to carefully consider how you want to work, and then think about these sorts of issues:

1. How “clever” do you want the system to be – do you want your scanners to be “aware” of existing EMu data, and to what degree?

For example, when you scan a location, do you want the scanner to be able to verify immediately that there is a corresponding location record matching that barcode in EMu? (which would require a local copy of some/all your locations data)

2. Data confliction issues and other problems may need to be dealt with during the “uploading” phase of the process. How smart do you want this to be?

For example, if you have scanned a barcode on an item, but that barcode can’t be found on the system, how do you want that to be resolved during the uploading phase?

If the current time on all of the scanners do not match exactly, then there is the potential for issues relating to data concurrency. How would you deal with that?

3. How would you deal with data loss due to scanner failure, battery failure etc? Perhaps enforce uploading of data when a certain number of records have been captured to minimise the risk? Perhaps ensure you have software & hardware that is capable of writing to RAM that is power-failure resistant?

Really these are questions about the level of risk to your data you’re willing to accept. If the answer is “none” then you’re going to have to be extremely careful when you design the system, and also be prepared to have staff willing to work around the system to some extent (instead of the other way around).

I have had experience with EMu, and with barcode batch systems. I can tell you that to develop a simple system that would allow you to scan a whole stack of barcodes on a windows mobile pda and then upload them into EMu would take a few days at most. But this would be a system with few checks and balances. A robust application which attempts (as far as is possible) to address data integrity concerns is much more complex.

So then – more detail is required to answer the question!


> We want to print barcodes to apply to objects

Sounds like you have a barcode printer yes? Ideally you would port your .NET code to talk to EMu - which I realise limits your options in terms of seeking development assistance :)

A perhaps less elegant but certainly practical solution would be to develop an admin task that allows you to

1. input a range of records to print
2. exports the barcodes from those records
3. updates the flag on the records

... then a local service or whatever on the client side picks up the exported file, performs whatever reformatting is required and shoots it through to the printer.

Can I just ask – have you actually done a cost analysis of printing your own as opposed to purchasing museum grade barcode labels? We found that it was significantly cheaper to purchase them.

By the way, if anyone reading this is wondering how to print barcodes to a normal printer, you can just download a barcode font. There are many barcode standards; the one called Code39 is probably the most appropriate in most cases, and there are free font sets available for this. You can then use that font in Office applications, Crystal etc, and print barcodes to your heart’s content. Not exactly asset grade of course...


In response to Perian’s question:

> But if there's a simple solution to integrating barcoding software and then syncing it with EMu, I'd like to know any details about it.

If you haven’t already, check out http://mvwise.museum.vic.gov.au :)


Forbes Hawkins
Collection Systems Developer
Museum Victoria

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Re: Barcoding

barcode insertion in .NET application using ..NET barcode control SDKNET control with method of C# or VB.NET.

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