As part of our testing of the inventory management portion of the database, we've begun labeling our shelves here at SA: Western. With a capacity for over 54,000 boxes, and shelves that are 16 feet high, we needed a system that would allow us to quickly and easily identify, locate, retrieve, and re-shelve collections. Our labeling system must integrate with other inventory management aspects of the database, and had to be fool-proof - imagine trying to locate a single missing box that has been shelved in the wrong location out of the thousands around it!
To ensure that boxes are not easily misplaced, we developed a labeling system that incorporates barcode scanning rather than manual data entry. Our shelf labels include both a human readable version of the alphanumeric shelf address (for easy reference out in the shelves), as well as a 2 dimensional data matrix (DM) barcode. In order to remove or re-shelve boxes, the user scans the RFID tag that contains the unique name for that box (it's Box ID), opening the record for that box. The user then either selects to "remove" or disassociate that box from it's shelf, or, scans in the shelf DM code to associate the Box ID and shelf location.
To read more about Sustainable Archaeology's inventory management system, check out the last edition of our newsletter Notes from the SA.