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Labelling artefacts

dreuby

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
14
Location
UK
I'm looking into labelling methods, for record purposes, not display. I haven't found a lot of info about the safe labelling of plastic artefacts, although museums worldwide must have tackled this problem.

What labelling methods do you use for your collections? Do you have any recommendations or suggestions of what not to do?
 

Terry Yager

Veteran Member
Joined
May 1, 2003
Messages
8,763
Location
Saginaw, MI, USA 48601
I rely on my memory, which is often faulty in other areas, but seems to be rock-solid when it comes to keeping track of all the details about my computers, and even some of my friends' collections. Funny how the mind works, eh?

--T
 

Exluddite

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
81
Location
Manahawkin, NJ
Most electronics will have an FCC ID number or a serial number on them somewhere. You could just catalog (sorry, your British..catalogue?) that and not have to mark/tag the item. It helps Identify mystery items as well.
 

Erik

Site Administrator
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Apr 27, 2003
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3,592
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San Jose, CA
A lot of what the Computer History Museum does involves marking something kept with the artifact but not marking the artifact itself.

Some items are easy. Posters, photos and manuals often get a small barcode sticker on the back or some other inconspicuous site but other items simply get boxed or crated with that tag on the packaging.

You should be able to reach the collections manager at the CHM to ask for more specifics.

Erik
 

joe sixpack

Experienced Member
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Feb 11, 2005
Messages
177
Location
Around Here... Somewhere
do you want to just be able to id the item after you have already done so?
like catalog? not everything will have a FCC number but it's very good for
tracking down if you need two. I might suggest a digital camera
take pictures and mark down information. you could use a simple database
program check out "portabase" (opensource) it runs on several systems including some pda's. it's what i do.
if you want to mark the item it self i would go with the smallest sticker i could
or maybe use some string and a tag this. lot of times a part will have some
hole you could use.

Portabase (http://sourceforge.net/projects/portabase)
Porta base might be comming to a end however as the project is over 20,000 lines
and he's doing it all by him self.
 

dreuby

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
14
Location
UK
We're preparing for accreditation with the UK Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. Their guidelines are quite strict, but we want to adhere to them anyway as "best practice" - none of us are museum professionals.

Their requirements for accessioning include "preferred labelling methods" as covered here:
http://www.mda.org.uk/labels.htm

There's very little info available on labelling relatively modern artefacts such as plastics, so I've been searching online, and contacting various museums who do have those sort of artefacts. Most of the info I've seen relates to determining which plastic is involved, and which chemicals to use and avoid - most ending with instructions on how not to damage yourself! :!:

I'd prefer something less worrisome. :D
 

joe sixpack

Experienced Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
177
Location
Around Here... Somewhere
they want you to jump thru hoops and bark like a dog as well?
i dont think you can fulfill every thing without going nuts.
* Secure - The chances of accidental removal of the label or mark from the object must be extremely low;
* Reversible - It should be possible for a label or mark to be removed intentionally from an object, even after 50-100 years with as little trace as possible;
* Safe for the object - Neither the materials applied to the object nor the method by which they are applied should risk significant damage to the object;
* Discreet but visible - The recommended methods should not spoil the appearance of the object, nor obscure important detail. However, the number should be visible enough to reduce the need to handle the object;
* Convenient and safe for staff and volunteers - Materials should be easily available in small quantities at a reasonable price, and should not pose significant risks to health if used in accordance with the guidelines recommended by a local CoSHH risk assessment.
* Avoid physically unstable surfaces. Also avoid placing labels or marks across a line of weakness or fracture;
* Avoid applying any self-adhesive label or tape, such as SellotapeTM, to the surface of an object. If a glued-on label is the most appropriate technique to use, follow the procedure outlined in Basic Techniques: Glue-on label;
* Choose a position so that the number is unlikely to be visible when the object is on display;
* Avoid decoration and painted/varnished/pigmented/waxed areas;
* Avoid surfaces where the mark is likely to be at risk from abrasion, such as surfaces on which it normally rests, or where touched during handling;
* Mark all detachable parts of an object (using suffixes to the Object number);
* Locate the number so that the handling necessary to read it is minimised. (Consider marking the packaging or adding an extra tie-on label as well.);
* With composite objects, mark the part on which the most secure method can be used;
* Where duplicate marks are made these should be in different positions on the object (bearing in mind, of course, the other principles listed above).
Here's what i would do. I would keep using barcodes as that seems like a good idea.
I would also try using string/tag method. Most loose computer parts have
mounting holes you can just tie it to that. it would'nt be too big a deal
just tuck it under the item when on display. if worried about the tag
wearing out just laminate it.
You might also looking into RF tags. they are small about size of a stamp
and can be read without even touching the item. However they do cost
anywhere from 25cents -> 1.00+.. good luck
 
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