labels and printers the endless quest

John Simmons jsimmons at KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU
Tue Aug 6 23:41:17 CDT 1996

I would like to thank Paulo for a good summary of the ink/label issue
and second his suggestion that anyone interested in this check the
Curation Newsletter archives.

A couple of other points:  the loss of ink from a label is not simply a
question of what kind of ink, it is a rather complex question of the
kind of ink, the kind of paper, and the combination of ink and paper.
For example, we are having good success with a laser printer on Parson's
Linen Ledger (although this is not a great solution).

Also, there are two advantages to a dot matrix printer that need to be
stressed.  (1) As with all impact printers, if the ink fades, you should
still be able to read the label in raking light as impact printers
leave a mark on cellulose fibers which laser printers do not; (2) it is
possible to re-ink ribbons with a permanent ink for labels.  This was
described in Palacios, F. and J. Gisbert, 1990.  An indelible printing
system for permanent records in natural history collections.  Collection
Forum 6(1):38-39.

For more discussion on this issue, you might also want to check the
following references:

Child, R.E.  1994.  Labelling of specimens preserved in spirit collections.
Biology Curators Group Newsletter 6(4):42

Pitkin, B.  1995.  Labelling specimens in the Life Science Departments
at the Natural History Museum, London using computers.  The Biology
Curator #4, pp 24-27

John E. Simmons
Natural History Museum
University of Kansas

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