Barcodes are dead, long live barcodes! Improving the inventory of living plant collections using optical technology

Reinout Havinga, Havard Ostgaard


The use of barcodes for record keeping in botanic gardens has been pioneered before, but attempts have not always been successful. It has even been claimed that, for use in living collections, barcodes are altogether obsolete. This is difficult to imagine given the success of barcodes in almost any professional logistic or auto-ID application. We have tried to find the ‘sweet spots’ of barcode use and have implemented the technology at the Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam. Integrated with the list-making functionality in the collection management software, barcodes have proved to be an invaluable tool in improving the quality and accuracy of the inventory.

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