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1747Re: [beemonitoring] bar or scan-code systems to aid insect curation

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  • Daniel Kjar
    Aug 22, 2011
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      carve the label in spanglish, in marble.  you have no other option.   and make sure 8 people watch you do it.  i just cant trust anything else....

      On 8/22/2011 7:23 PM, Doug Yanega wrote:
       

      Harold Ikerd wrote:

      Advantages? Yes... we like our current system and the scanner saves time in our situation. The current version of Bartender is very flexible. The database/bartender is printing to a relatively inexpensive Brother HL-5370Dw series printer on 80lb. archival paper.

      Has anyone tested how well 2D matrices hold up over time, or what happens if the printer starts to get low on toner? We've noticed that even a high-end thermal printer will occasionally "drop out" black bits in the matrix, effectively turning binary "1"s onto "0"s, and corrupting the resulting scan. This would be an important baseline to establish, as it's certain to be non-zero; but non-zero by how much?

      This alludes to my next point, Quality Control.

      All of these steps you outline are sensible and practical, though they are (or should be) part and parcel of using a database as an integral part of specimen processing, and can be done with *any* uniquely-numbered labels, not just *scannable* uniquely-numbered labels.

      Other areas that have proven efficiency gains by using the Database/Scanner:
      • Specimen Identification input and thus Determination tracking
      • Loan processing
      • Flagging of questionable specimens or data entry

      In side-by side comparison of labels with human-readable numbers versus machine-readable numbers, the scanners don't always win; various factors can enable a person to work just as fast, or faster, by NOT relying upon a scanner (especially when dealing with legacy material, as I've also mentioned before - admittedly, having the scannable label on the top can significantly improve efficiency). As I've noted before, the only concrete and indisputable advantage is in error rate, and the exact magnitude of that error depends (as noted above) on the data matrix being printed properly in the first place and not deteriorating over time, and - perhaps more significantly - all errors, be they human or machine, SHOULD be caught by QC protocols in either case, for comparable amounts of effort. In other words, I'm not so certain that the efficiency gains of scanning *have* been proven. To *prove* it requires side-by-side comparisons using systems where the ONLY difference is whether a scannable label format is involved or not (same database, same types of specimens, organized the same way, processed by the same people); even those comparisons I've been able to do often required using two different students as test subjects, which introduces unwanted variation.

      Peace,
      -- 
      

      Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
      Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
      phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
                   http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
        "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
              is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

      -- 
      Dr. Daniel Kjar
      Assistant Professor of Biology
      Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
      Elmira College
      1 Park Place
      Elmira, NY 14901
      607-735-1826
      http://faculty.elmira.edu/dkjar
      
      "...humans send their young men to war; ants send their old ladies"
      	-E. O. Wilson
      
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