hardware/software for museum labels

Mark Stowe mks at ZOO.UFL.EDU
Mon Mar 1 22:17:37 CST 1993

Essentially I want to throw out 2 questions
1)  Does anyone know of hardware that will conveniently print (from a
computer) small labels which are of archival quality and which can be
submerged in alcohol?
2) Does anyone know of any widely used collection management programs other
than BioQuip's FilemakerPro-based Collection Manager?

I print labels primarily for alcoholic specimens.  I use a dot matrix
printer with alcohol-(relatively)insoluble ink in the ribbon.  I print out
on a full sheet of 100% rag paper and cut out the labels.  I yearn for a
better way (faster/less wasteful).  Specialized label printers would be
great except 1) I know of no source of archival paper rolls to go into them
and 2) most (but not all) of the printers I know of are 'thermal' (thermal
paper is out, but some of these printers may be thermal-transfer where the
heat melts the 'ink' from the ribbon onto the paper - anything known about
the archival merits of such printing?). If you know anyone who has a
specialized set-up for printing labels please let me know.  In the mean
time I will keep working on other possibilities (such as looking into
companies that will slit archival-quality paper into rolls that will go
into paper-roll printers).

I have a complicated collection of spiders and their insect prey where I
need to keep track of the relationship of many different specimens.  I have
programmed an early version of the Mac database 4D so that I can print out
generously informative labels for my collection of spiders and their prey,
as the specimen is entered into the database.  Various routines analyze the
data in various ways.  In the next few weeks I need to make a decision
between 1) updating the program (at a low price for a limited time) and
modifying my programming in a labor consuming way or 2) taking someone
else's program and seeing if I can't port some of my code to it.  Anyone
else know of anyone using or developing a relational DB based museum
management program?

The dream hardware/software system would print and read barcodes on the

Thanx for any ideas.

P.S. I have taken a detailed look at Microsoft Access, and it appears to be
a Windows program with all the power of 4D plus some unique powerful
features all its own.  It looks like it is much better designed and
therefore easier to use than 4D.  It also has a much more elegant language
that treats related entities in a more parallel fashion, unlike 4D where
every command is so different that I have to go to the reference manual
every time to look up the operand order and the 'gotchas' - all the
peculiar combinations of circumstances where things don't work.  Lot's of
companies are jumping on the bandwagon to support the program which will
supposedly eventually have links to Word and Excel.  It also has an
introductory price of $99.  I am almost tempted to buy a PC just to get the
advantages of Access (which they emphatically say they have no plans of
releasing in a Mac version).

Mark Stowe c/o Jon Reiskind
Department of Zoology
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611 USA
E-mail: MKS at ZOO.UFL.EDU
phone: 904 373 3202, 904 392 1187
fax: 904 392 3704

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