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Museum and Archive Storage: Data Loggers

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In the past few months, we’ve published two posts on temperature and humidity monitoring in an archive or museum. The first article was a general introduction to artifact storage. In the second article, we offered up some key questions you should ask when crafting your monitoring plan . . .

We said you should know what your budget is, what you are monitoring, what kind of system you want or currently have, the amount of documentation you need, and what kind of analysis you’d like to perform. So you’ve answered those questions to the best of your ability . . . it’s now time to choose how you will monitor your environment.

Data Logger(s)

If your budget is small, you will have to weigh features against number of loggers. This can mean choosing to monitor at a single point with a better data logger, or sacrificing certain features to buy more inexpensive data loggers.
If your budget is a bit more flexible, and your facility large, an environmental monitoring system may be in order. Environmental monitoring systems come in all shapes and sizes (check out DicksonOne on Page 10!), so do some research before you decide to purchase a system. Ask the manufacturer about the set-up process, software costs, and how the system will mesh with your facility’s capabilities.

Hardware

Choosing a specific data logger can be an arduous process. Data loggers come in all shapes and sizes, so we’ve listed the following features you should ask each manufacturer about before buying. When posing the following questions, you should do your best to relate each feature to how you will use it in your facility.

    • Size & Shape
    • Alarms
    • Sampling Rate
    • Display
    • Memory
    • Battery or AC Power

Software

You’ll need to get all that data off of your device. There are three distinct types of software used in conjunction with data loggers, according to how the data is downloaded. The first is locally hosted software, downloaded onto a single PC. This type of software is used with data loggers that require a manual download of their data. In other words, each data logger must be brought back to your PC, connected, and the data downloaded. You can also choose to host a wireless data logging system locally. This software works in conjunction with wireless data loggers, which send the recorded temperature and humidity data wirelessly to a server in your facility. The final type of software is cloud application software. Using the cloud, a company hosts your data for you, and your data is visible by logging onto a website. We’ve also noted a few features you should consider on the software side of things. They are:

    • Alarms (Emails, Text, and Phone Call)
    • Reports
    • API Access
    • Data Analysis

 

To view our entire series on museum and archival environmental monitoring, click here.

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