Object Tracking Documentation

How to Choose and Use Machine-based Object Tracking Equipment and Supplies

Barcode material:

Label durability depends on the material of the barcode and the barcode adhesive. CryoLabel® plastic labels are recommended for use in liquid nitrogen and ultracold freezers. XyResist® Plastic or Chemical Resistant Polyester Labels can be used with alcohol though unsure if tested for long term submersion. Customer service can answer further questions and send barcode samples.

Barcode types:

1D Barcode:

2D Barcode:


University of Alaska Museum of the North, Museum of Southwestern Biology, and Ocean Genome Legacy use Electronic Imaging Materials for their barcoding needs. A few other options are BarcodesInc, Barcode Giant, CILS International, or eBarcode.

There are two options to generating physical barcodes.

As with both options, be aware of possible duplicates whether ordering duplicated numbers or printer error.

Option 1) Purchasing Pre-printed Barcodes:

Preprinted barcode labels can be purchased from Electronic Imaging Materials(EIM). Contact customer service for help to design and customize your barcodes.

Pros: Not set-up cost, no staff time needed except for ordering barcodes.

Cons: Expensive.

Option 2) Printing Barcodes In-House

University of Alaska, Museum of the North (UAM) recommendations

From Electronic Imaging Materials, UAM purchased a TSC TC300 (300 dpi) Desktop Label Printer that comes with BarTender Lite software for designing and printing barcodes. The program allows you to create barcode series and remembers the last barcode printed to reduce printing of duplicate barcodes.

When purchasing barcode rolls, select Thermal Transfer print method. More information on Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer Labels can be found on the EIM webpage. The TC300 printer takes a 1” core size. For different sizes of barcodes than found on the website and for more information on getting setup to print, contact EIM customer service.

Pros: Cost: About 1/3 the cost of purchasing pre-printed barcodes Cons: Initial set-up costs (cost of the printer which is about $500), requires staff time to create and print barcodes.

Ocean Genome Legacy (OGL) recommendations as of January 2024

From Electronic Imaging Materials, OGL purchases 3 types of labels:

Note that OGL has had better luck when purchasing labels on a 3” core rather than a 1.5” core and keeps the labels on an external spool, as that helps the labels ooze less of their adhesive.

OGL prints labels on a GoDex RT730i with LabelLive software using Thermal Transfer, which means purchasing a T68 resin ribbon. The GoDex is wonderful and has relatively helpful customer service. In a perfect world this printer would function with Bluetooth, but when we use Bluetooth, the alignment of labels gets off, so instead we just use a very long USB cable to connect to the computer that needs the printer at that time.

Other Possibilities

Pro Tip

You can use Microsoft Word to print barcodes. There are several methods for doing so.


Wired 1&2D Scanner: Zebra DS6708-SR Handheld 1&2D Digital Imager $380

Cordless (Bluetooth) 1&2D Scanner: Socket CHS 7Xi 1&2D Cordless Bluetooth® Scanner $540

Wired 1D Scanner: Symbol LS2208 Economical Handheld Scanner & Stand Kit $155

For used barcode scanners and other supplies at a discount, check out eBay. You can find these scanners used for a significant discount.

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