Plans for Bar-Code Tape Inventory Control ---
Based on current technologies, it is expected that the number of tapes
sent to IPAC from the observatories will be between 5,000 and 10,000. Some
form of automated tape inventory management is desirable. The U. S. Naval
Observatory uses bar-codes and readers for this purpose, so it has been
expected for some time that 2MASS will use a similar method. In order to get
some progress started on this aspect of operational readiness, splinter
meetings have been held with R. Beck, J. Fowler, G. Kopan, B. Light, and D.
Wittman. The tape stacker on lugosi has a built-in bar-code reader, and its
control software includes capabilities for programming it. D. Wittman will
look into how to use this so that the 2MAPPS software can obtain the right
tapes from the stacker without requiring any special tape-stacking order.
There is also expected to be other non-pipeline software for automating
certain aspects of tape inventory control.
The tape stacker came with sample preprinted bar-code labels, and these
all contain eight-digit numbers, implying that at least eight-character codes
are compatible with the hardware and software. Nine-character codes are probably
possible, and this is the number currently envisioned for tape labels, six
for the observation date, one for the band, one to indicate the last tape for
that band, and one to indicate hemisphere.
B. Light will contact D. Monet at USNO to request information on their
bar-code system; B. Light gave D. Monet the software for generating bar-code
labels, and has tested this on IPAC laser printers with success. The main tape
labels would be printed (or at least applied) at the observatories, but since
the plan is to make backups at IPAC, we would also need this capability. R.
Cutri has suggested considering less degradable media for the backups, such as
high-capacity CD ROMs if the technology improves sufficiently by the time we
could use it.