Collection Management

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Collection Management

Joined: March 26th, 2007, 3:59 am

September 2nd, 2008, 2:49 pm #1

Hello Everyone,

Just curious as to how everyone out there manages (i.e. catalogues) their collection? Do you take a paper and pen approach, or do you employ some sort of software, be it a spreadsheet or maybe some sort of commercially available system? What kind of information do you record regarding the items in your collection? Do you have your own indexing system? Do you tag the items in your collection?
I'm not sure if this has ever been discussed on here before, but I thought it would be interesting to see how people approach this problem.

Regards,
Fletcher Johnston
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Brent W
Brent W

September 2nd, 2008, 9:42 pm #2

I used to record everything in a book, but have since converted to Excel spread sheets. This way I can keep seperate sheets based on "Item Category" (ie: Uniforms, Medals, etc.), "Date of Purchase" and so on. This seems to work well. If I sell an item, I can cut and paste to my "Items Sold" page. I have purchased "Collector Software" before but found them basically useless. You can add pictures to your Excel spread sheets if you want, although I have not done this yet.
I feel better with everything organized. This, I feel, will help my wife dispose of my things when I suffer "the big one" while watching the price of some item on Ebay go to an all time high!
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Joined: March 26th, 2007, 3:59 am

September 2nd, 2008, 10:44 pm #3

I'm in the same boat, Brent. I used a pen and paper approach for a couple years, but then decided to move things onto my computer. I tried a few pieces of collector software myself, and found them to be wholly inadequate affairs. I've also tried Microsoft Access, but finally settled on Excel myself. Much as you describe, I have different sheets for different categories of item, and record things like date of purchase, seller information, then various details about the piece.
I still find the whole setup a little cumbersome, and have often wondered how other people kept their records; I'm always looking for a better way!

Cheers,
Fletcher
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Jon Skagfeld
Jon Skagfeld

September 3rd, 2008, 2:30 am #4

I've always used Excel spread sheets to record relevant info, first in an Alpha listing, then in a Location listing.

Since the two are not linked, I often make an entry into one area, and forget to update the other area, then scratch my head in puzzlement some time later wondering why the line entries of Alpha don't equal the line entries in Location.



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Brent W
Brent W

September 3rd, 2008, 2:50 am #5

Fletcher,
Your right it can be a bit of a headache but there is no way I would do without it. Jon, I can sympathise with you. Update two pages is twice the work. I basically break my collection down into the following catagories. Item type (ie: Hat/Uniform/Medals/Cloth etc.), item description, purchased from____, price paid, and purchase date. The whole mess is sorted by Item type. If I want to create a second page sorted by say....purchase date, then I simply copy,paste and auto-sort. When I make a new purchase I update my "main" file (which is the one sorted by item type), then create a new second file sorted by price using the aforementioned method and delete the previous file. This may not be the best method but it works for me. Hopefully I'll pick up a few new ideas from future posts. Happy Collecting!
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Kent Aist
Kent Aist

September 3rd, 2008, 12:47 pm #6

The way to get around the need for double entry is to use a data base program instead of a spread sheet. Once you become familiar with program, you just load the data in and can retrive it in a number of ways.

If learning a new program is not what you want to do, then in your
Excel spreadsheet, use only one sheet, and then sort by the catagory you want. That is, list them alphbeticaly, but then sort by your location or other category when you need to look that up. When done, either don't save the sort or re-sort by the column you want to keep it organized by.
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Steve Forth
Steve Forth

September 3rd, 2008, 5:05 pm #7

Wow, some time ago this same topic came up and a couple of collectors were discussing various collection data base programs. When I mentioned that I used a simple spreadsheet I was basically snubbed for being a lower class collector and using such an unprofessional approach. Sure is good to see that I'm not the only one who gets by just fine with a simple program. I guess it all comes down to what information you feel is important to record. For me, a description, cost, purchase location and estimated current value are sufficient but others want to have a photo and greater details readily accessible for each item. If you are constantly accessing your collection data base for reference and/or your collection is particularly valuable then I suppose it would be worthwhile to seek out something that provides more options than a spreadsheet does. Personally, I'm not in that zone at the moment.
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sean
sean

September 6th, 2008, 11:24 pm #8

Hello Everyone,

Just curious as to how everyone out there manages (i.e. catalogues) their collection? Do you take a paper and pen approach, or do you employ some sort of software, be it a spreadsheet or maybe some sort of commercially available system? What kind of information do you record regarding the items in your collection? Do you have your own indexing system? Do you tag the items in your collection?
I'm not sure if this has ever been discussed on here before, but I thought it would be interesting to see how people approach this problem.

Regards,
Fletcher Johnston
hi,

ive been collecting cloth insignia for some time now, have developed from sewing them into a book of felt pages and carrying that with me to shows (yes, i know...really irritating unpicking and resewing them when i wanted to re-org!) to colour photocopying, and now to a variety of methods; keeping lists of what i can alpha list such as combat and artillary titles, where variations are fairly standard and easy to note; and then for trade badges i maintain practically books for each type, with a scan of one of the item (one of them if its a 1-4 level), this helps me when it comes to working on finding items for other people as then its a lot easier to keep up as i can ink in changes as i feel the need at shows; and for other more complex titles i generally purchase and hope for the best, checking it when i get home to see if it goes in the binder or on the trader pile. i guess it mostly depends on what your collecting. i do try to help out a few other people, so keep track of their requirements can be interesting, as i get to see how a lot of other people maintain their lists etc... so if you collect cloth insignia, and want me to send examples, feel free to email! regards, sean
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Geoff Middleton
Geoff Middleton

September 7th, 2008, 1:35 am #9

Hello Everyone,

Just curious as to how everyone out there manages (i.e. catalogues) their collection? Do you take a paper and pen approach, or do you employ some sort of software, be it a spreadsheet or maybe some sort of commercially available system? What kind of information do you record regarding the items in your collection? Do you have your own indexing system? Do you tag the items in your collection?
I'm not sure if this has ever been discussed on here before, but I thought it would be interesting to see how people approach this problem.

Regards,
Fletcher Johnston
I've developed my own database where I track my collection. It works very well because you can filter to pull up types of things (as you can do in Excel) and sort by whatever strikes your fancy, such as pattern date, item name, NSN, manufacturer, date etc. The real strength is in the reporting, where you can generate nice reports for as few or many fields as needed. I also track my cloth combat titles and military manuals in a separate databases.

The description field is the one that causes me the most grief. Sometimes I use the stamped item name, which is not always the same as the standard catalogue name, and sometimes the common name. There is quite a variation in the names applied to the basic Canadian combat shirt over the years for example. So I probably will expand to include both eventually.

Long term plans are to include in the database photos of each item as well, but that could be a real job.
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Clifford S. Weirmeir
Clifford S. Weirmeir

September 7th, 2008, 2:02 am #10

Depending on what part of my collection I am working with. I have various ways of keeping track.

I have a file folder on my "D" drive that is strictly for my Military Collection. Within that main folder, there are sub folders with headings for Badges, Medals, Uniforms, Headgear, Web Gear, and Other Stuff.

All the sub folders have the same basic structure to them.

Take for example the Badges sub folder. I have photographed each piece, I also have an excel spread sheet with headings for Regiment, Cap Badge, Collar Badges and Titles, where I have a gap in the collection I type in bold letters NEED, with the Mazeas reference number and page number for quick look up.

When I attend a show, I take with me a Word Document where I have cut and pasted images of the needed items, also the Mazeas number and page number. I find this really cuts down on the fumbling at the shows for my references.

Overall, I can stay on top of what is in my collection, and what I have parted with. The only place where I am lacking seems to be the estimated current values.
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