Maintaining databases

Leonard Krishtalka kris at FALCON.CC.UKANS.EDU
Fri Dec 1 10:06:39 CST 1995

At 09:43 AM 12/1/95 -0500, James H. Beach wrote:
>On Fri, 1 Dec 1995, Norman F. Johnson wrote: <snip>
>> Doug Yanega wrote: <snip>
>> > An upside-down code label is
>> >a problem even if NOT bar-coded, for this same reason, and also because if
>> >one then gets a request for, say, "specimen 00003478" there is no good way
>> >to make a quick visual search.
>Is it possible for a laser bar code scanner to bounce a reading off of the
>inside base of an insect box, perhaps given the right reflective layer, so
>that bar code labels could be added face down on the bottom of the pin?
>All of you avid readers of BarCode News or who have a degree in optics
>should know the answer to this one!

          Here's a possible technological solution, which may be too
expensive now to be worthwhile:  given that once an insect is pinned, the
pin is virtually a permanent part of the voucher specimen, why not have the
head of the pin encoded with a machine-readable number.  Pins could come
pre-coded with numbers, institutional acronyms, continent, country, etc.
That way an entire drawer of pinned insects could be machine read quite
easily.  Janzen probably has somebody cooking on this right now.

Nature is not as simple as its observers.

Leonard Krishtalka                              phone:  913/864-4540
Natural History Museum                     fax:       913/864-5335
The University of Kansas                     e-mail:  kris at
Lawrence, KS 66045

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