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Subject: Talking-Tag system

Talking-Tag system

From: Janneke van Esch <j.van.esch>
Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2001
The necessity to handle objects for identification often results in
damage. The object has to be lifted, taken out from its packaging,
turned, twisted, etc. in order to retrieve the accession number.
Damage can vary from abrasion caused by friction to breakage caused
by falling. The importance to tackle this problem linked with the
traditional method of registration is widely acknowledged and has
resulted in the development and use of more advanced technologies
e.g. barcode. However, with all systems used at present, it is still
necessary to have visual access to the number or label. In case of
barcode, the label has to be manoeuvred in such a way that a beam of
light can reach the label. Also any damage to the label will make
the information irretrievable.

Solution: HELICON conservation support b.v.
<URL:> therefore developed a revolutionary
identification system, the Talking-Tag system. With this system
there is no need to see the number on the object as it uses radio
frequency.  The system consists of hardware (tag, antennae) and
software (link to existing database). It was developed together with
major international software and hardware companies.

Apart from the fact that this system minimises moments of risk,
there are other advantages. The system can be used to simplify
inspection and to establish integration in disaster planning. As it
uses radio frequency, it also allows for a combination with audience
information systems. Another great advantage is a reduction in the
time it takes to identify objects, valuable time which could be
spend more efficiently.

Talking-Tag system: The Tag is an interactive label made of
polyethylene, copper and silica. It has 44 digital positions
available to store data. This data can be read from the Tag, altered
and written on the Tag using radio wave technology (antennae). Each
position on the Tag can be linked using specific software to
information stored in existing museum databases, such as object
number, photo, description and location. The Tag also holds the key
to information relating to the packing and shipping of objects,
their physical condition, storage conditions, priority of evacuation
in case of calamity, etc..

The Talking-Tag system can be used to identify museum objects in
storage, exhibition, during transport, etc., without the need to
handle the objects, thus avoiding the risk of damage. With current
registration systems there is the problem of locating objects within
their packaging (a box may contain several objects). To check if the
correct object is inside, the object has to be taken out in order to
read the registration number. Further each object has to be made
accessible individually. The process is time consuming and creates
the risk of damaging it. Traditional registration of a move takes
about 3 to 5 minutes. Using this system, the registration of a move
can now be initiated and processed in less then 30 seconds. The
Talking-Tag System also makes it possible to identify several
objects in one effort. So apart from saving objects, this system
also saves time (and therefore money).

When using the Talking-Tag system, the antenna can read and write
information on the tag and link it to the existing database. There
is no need to open a box with objects. In a way it is made
impossible to move an object from one location to another, without
it being tracked. Stacked reading makes it possible to keep track of
movements of larger quantities of objects.

In order to develop, test and fine-tune the system, it was tested in
situ in several Dutch museums, including the Boijmans van Beuningen
in Rotterdam, the Krvller Muller Museum in Otterlo, Stedelijk Museum
and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The durability of the tag was
tested by means of accelerated aging.

With the Talking-Tag system HELICON provides a manual. In this
manual guidelines are given for the position on the objects where a
Talking-Tag. can be attached. Also several methods for the attaching
itself are given. The Talking-Tag. system comes with software that
is capable of communication with every database orientated
registration package worldwide. The information on the Talking-Tag
is standardised, the translation comes from the interface software.

Both these factors, manual with guidelines and translating software
will result in a form of standardisation of information. Therefore
making exchange of information about objects much easier.

The first museum to implement this system for registration is the
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. In September 2001 they
started to 'tag' their collection of 15,000 prints and drawings.

For more information you always can send us an e-mail or you can
call us and ask for Jaap van der Burg, Wouter Hijberg or Marguirite

Marguirite Stuart
HELICON conservation support
Boerhaaveweg 9/11
2408 AD Alphen aan den Rijn
The Netherlands
mail [at] helicon-cs__com
+31 172 234 556
Fax: +31 172 233 213

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:38
                Distributed: Tuesday, November 20, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-38-009
Received on Tuesday, 13 November, 2001

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