Barcode scanner, cradle and power supply, used in Museum Victoria's Collection Inventory System, from 2008 to 2014.

This item was acquired to be part of the collection documenting the history of collection management systems at Museum Victoria and its antecedents, and specifically, the upgrade of Museum Victoria's Collection Inventory System (using barcode technology) from its version one to version two. The upgrade was rolled out in early 2014. The system was called the Museum Victoria Wireless Inventory System (for the) Electronic Museum, in short: MVWISE. The Electronic Museum is a database, the abbreviation for which is EMu.

The scanner was located in Melbourne Museum Store F (Level 2 East) and was used by the Indigenous Cultures Department. It was leased continually from 05 June 2008. In Jan 2013 it was bought by the Museum for $40. It was taken out of circulation on 09 April 2014.

The search for a viable barcode system started in 1997, when Museum Victoria was faced with the task of relocating the approximately sixteen million objects in its collections to a new Museum site. Various barcoding systems were tested, but were found to be inadequate for the task of effectively tracking the movement of objects.

Computerised database systems had already been introduced since the late 1980s. In about 1997, Museum Victoria and a company, Knowledge Engineering, began developing a collection database called Electronic Museum Management System (EMu). EMu went live at the Museum in 2001. With EMu, a sustainable barcoding system was found to be much easier to achieve and, in mid-2001, version one of what came to be known as the Collection Inventory System (CIS) was developed. CIS was a web based interface to EMu, using wireless hand-held Cassiopeia devices to record and update collection locations.

In March 2005, the Cassiopeia devices were replaced by scanners, manufactured by Symbol Technological Services. These were smaller, easier to use and supported more modern technology. In 2007, MvCIS was expanded to work with all EMu data, and rebranded as Museum Victoria Wireless Information System for EMu (MVWISE ). By 2013, iPhone and Android devices had become available, being even more functional and usable. MVWISE was upgraded to version 2.

Physical Description

Barcode scanner, cradle, power supply and leads. The scanner has a touch screen used with a stylus. Data can be entered via the laser scan and by a keyboard. While not in use, the scanner was kept in the cradle (connected to the power supply); the scanner iwould then be charged if necessary.


This item was acquired as part of an on-going process of documenting the history of collection management in Museum Victoria and its various antecedents. When the museum opened in 1854, data was recorded in books. In the last decade of the 19th Century, data was transferred to a card index system. A Microfiche system was introduced in 1975, followed by a computer database system Titan in the late 1980s. The Museum began to use EMu in 1996, and the first integrated system, the collection inventory system (CIS), was rolled out in 1999. In mid-2001, version one was developed of what came to be known as the Museum Victoria Collection Inventory System (MVCIS). MVCIS was expanded from basic location control through integration with various collection databases, such as EMu. In 2007, the Collection Inventory System (now known as MVWISE) was being rolled out. The system's full name is Museum Victoria Wireless Information System for EMu. The upgrade to MVWISE2 occurred in early 2014

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