Barcoding Infrastructure Improvements

Museums Alaska Collections Management Fund (2016-17)

Thanks to a $9,900 grant from Museums Alaska, the Ethnology & History department is teaming up with Genomics Resources collections manager, Kyndall Hildebrandt, to set up barcoding for Object Tracking for both Ethnology & History and Archaeology collections.

Seven collections at the UAMN have taken advantage of the sophisticated object tracking abilities in Arctos, which are as-yet unavailable in other commercial and freeware collections management systems. This provides us with an established system at UAMN that has been fine-tuned over a decade of use. The object tracking feature uses barcodes, a string of unique characters that are machine readable by barcode readers. The barcodes are attached to all objects; from rooms, cases, specimen trays and down to the object label itself. Arctos then creates a hierarchical map of an object’s physical location starting with the place in the building down to the position in the tray making it easy to pinpoint the exact location of an object.

Through a successful implementation of this project, the object tracking reliability will be greatly improved, and the work done by our staff and students will be more efficient and with less margin for error. When researchers and visitors request to examine items in these collections, staff will more reliably pinpoint their exact location. Objects examined can be quickly entered into a loan record using the barcode, which allows us to more effectively track object usage.

The project budget will cover the purchase of the equipment for printing barcode labels, scanners, and salary for students and the Arctos programmer to assist in the implementation of the project.