labels, which paper?

Luis A. Ruedas lruedas at SEVILLETA.UNM.EDU
Fri May 3 08:23:53 CDT 1996

On Thu, 2 May 1996, Steve Halford wrote:


> Laser printer inks are *supposed* to be okay,  but the technology hasn't
> been around long enough to be sure.  I prefer printing labels on plain
> paper and photocopying them onto archival grade stock.  (Some workers
> have advocated using impact printers with cloth ribbons -- the ribbon is
> cleared of its commercial ink in an alcohol bath, then re-impregnated
> with Higgin's Eternal (R),  the *ink* of record for wet collections.)

re: laser printers

I have tested in a cursory manner the alleged permanence of laser printer
ink.  While it appears to be relatively good if it remains dry, as soon
as the paper gets wet, the ink becomes highly susceptible to abrasion.
In other words: it'll rub off if you so much as look at it.  These
'experiments' were not carried out in a thorough and rigorous manner,
just quick and dirty; and they were done in 1993, so maybe technology has
changed enough.  Caveat emptor!

As far as Higgins ink is concerned, being 'de rigueur' in collections
don't necessarily make it better!  Williams and Hawks (1986.  Inks for
documentation in vertebrate research collections.  Curator, 29(2):96-108)
explicitly singled Higgins out for criticism, recommending instead
Rotring and Pelikan (I seem to remember something about Rotring being
sold in the US as Koh-I-Noor, but I wouldn't stake my life on it).
Palacios and Gisbert (1990.  An indelible printing system for permanent
records in natural history collections.  Collection forum, 6(1):38-39)
impregnated ribbons with Rotring ink and obtained good results: "This
system has yielded normal (pica 10 and 12) and condensed print of good
quality and color intensity, and is acceptable for records normally used
in the documentation of modern natural history collections (such as
specimen labels, taxonomic and geographic files, and catalog pages) of
both natural fiber and synthetic papers."


Hope THAT helps.



                            Luis A. Ruedas
                    Museum of Southwestern Biology
                         Department of Biology
                       University of New Mexico
                  Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87131-1091

voice: 505/277-5340                               fax: 505/277-0304
                  e-mail: lruedas at

More information about the Taxacom mailing list