Looking for Advice about Cataloging/Organizing
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Post Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:54 pm 
 

Greetings Collecting Hivemind!

Following a successful trip to GC and an equally successfull private sale through here (thx Zenfinte) I have outgrown my old one shelf stacked method of storing my collection by at least a factor of two. I wanted to ask some questions of those of you that have the kind of collections I aspire to, I am still sorta new so please bear with me. I did a search, but didn't find (more accurately know how to find) what I was looking for. Feel free to give me a link or PM me if I missed an obvious thread.

This is my project tomorrow and Monday, but I would like to do it right so I don't have to do it again later  :D.

1. In your experience what's the best way to catalog your collection? Spreadsheet? Do any have a template you recommend?

2. What categories do you divide your collections into?

3. Do most of you take photos for insurance?

4. On a shelf should you stack boxed sets and books or do you store them like books (spine facing toward you)?

5. Finally, in regards to boxed sets do you put bubble wrap or in something in the box to help keep its shape?

Thanks again,

Zach



  


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Post Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:05 pm 
 

I store all my stuff like books, spine facing out. Boxed sets, same way. I find when they are standing on end, the lids don't dish. As far as less stable modules, I board and bag all my stuff, and the extra stiffness of the board make sure they don't bend over. I also use hardcover books as "bookends" if the shelf isn't full enough. Spreadsheet works fine for organization. I line mine up by Edition, according to module number; A1, A2, A3 etc. Just my 2 cents.

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:17 am 
 

1. In your experience what's the best way to catalog your collection? Spreadsheet? Do any have a template you recommend?
Excel is what I use.  Basic default template.
2. What categories do you divide your collections into?
I have the worksheets divided up by brand and/or publisher.  So one worksheet is TSR D&D.  Another is TSR AD&D.  But it doesnt contain any Dark Sun, Forgotten Realms, etc.  Those are separate.  Yet another is all Judges Guild which encompasses D&D, AD&D, Traveller, etc.  Depends on the size of the collection really.  I keep all of my non-TSR stuff on one worksheet regardless of the publisher.  But someone like Mars, with such a huge amount of non-TSR stuff, may need to have multiple non-TSR worksheets.
3. Do most of you take photos for insurance?
Yes, most definitely.  And also because it makes it so much easier to remember what I have so I'm not buying duplicates.
4. On a shelf should you stack boxed sets and books or do you store them like books (spine facing toward you)?
I have everything in bookcases stored just like you would a book.  Almost everything is in comic book style storage bags (magazine size for modules and supplements.  They also make RPG size bags to fit hardbacks like the DMG or Players Handbook.  LIFE Magazine size for box sets if you have the desire to bag those.  I only bag the rarer ones.
5. Finally, in regards to boxed sets do you put bubble wrap or in something in the box to help keep its shape?
Depends.  If the box set is fairly rigid I dont bother.  But with the flimsier boxes you might want to.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:46 am 
 

1. In your experience what's the best way to catalog your collection? Spreadsheet? Do any have a template you recommend?
Excel.

2. What categories do you divide your collections into?
1e (a1, a2, etc.), 1e shrink, 2e, 2e shrink, other tsr stuff (sf, gw, bh, gb, etc.), nontsr stuff. About 25 tabs.

3. Do most of you take photos for insurance?
Some - probably should take more.

4. On a shelf should you stack boxed sets and books or do you store them like books (spine facing toward you)?
Spine facing out, on a bookshelf (well, many of those). How else can you easily access them? Box sets I empty out (except dice and pencil) and stack spine facing out. Certain special sets or books (like H1, or OCE) I'll lay flat, but then nothing on top. Miniatures lay flat, sometimes double stacked (and if so, they'll be staggered). Dragons lay flat, stacked on top of each other in groups of 10. Many of the 2E thick softcovers - Encyclopedia Magica, Wiz Spells, Priest spells, etc. - are stacked.

5. Finally, in regards to boxed sets do you put bubble wrap or in something in the box to help keep its shape?
I don't, but that seems like a good idea. Most of my sets have good shape, and storing vertical should protect them. I put some boxes in bags to protect against rubbing wear, but these are few.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:47 am 
 

Hey, good questions!

I'd reccomend the xls solution: you'd custom it according to your needs... usually you start with title, publisher, line of product, code, gaming system (in case even sub-gaming system) and conditions (i use 3 paramaters for that: overall , contents - i.e. what is in the book/box -  and external)... then it happened to me to add some other necessary "fields" like author, contents, edition/printing, complete/not complete...
Then, as time goes by you will realize that you have some new needs and you will update your file with new pieces of info... so dont worry if your first catalogue is not complete!

a couple of reccomendations:
1) use a MECE approach to cluster you categories... there wont be a correct clustering simply because everyone has a different collecting scope... what's important is that you create categories which are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MECE_principle).
2) add for any title you have a presonal code of your collection so that you can always find it physically... (i have a code in my excel file which matches with the code on the label of each item i have) the code can reflect your categories system (i did this way) or simply a progressive nr, or whatever you find clever to help in retrieving what youre looking for!
3) i have one only xls sheet where i save both what i already own and what i'd need/wish... (in that case you have to add a field like "owned"/"wish-list")... if you manage more than 1 sheet then you might run in having double items...


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:09 pm 
 

I use an Excell spreadsheet.

I sort items by categories:   Company     Title     Author    Product Number     Year    Game System     Comments


In the game system column I distinguish between OD&D, D&D, AD&D, AD&D 2nd, D20 3.0, D20 Modern, D20 3.5, D&D 4th and Pathfinder.

I sort items not specifically for a certain game system by categories such as:  Magazine, Poster, Catalog, Promtional Item, Boardgame, Brochure, Book, CD, Comic, Computer, Generic, Miniatures Wargame or Pamphlet.

A Generic item is any RPG module that absolutely refuses to name a system.

I list DRAGON as a Magazine but I sort DUNGEON by era of D&D.

The Comments column says things like:  "Free RPG DAY 2010," "Gift from John Gaunt," "Paizocon 2011" or "Acquired Directly from the Author"


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:27 am 
 

I actually catalogue my collection in MSAccess. I use quite a few fields including Title / Company / Codes / Condition / Author(s) / Value / etc. Access being a database programme, I can then make queries for different lists. I have separate dbases for games and magazines. On my shelf, I divide my collection by publisher. I never stack items. They are standing up on shelves in protective sleeves.

  


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:32 pm 
 

Nogrod wrote:Greetings Collecting Hivemind!

Following a successful trip to GC and an equally successfull private sale through here (thx Zenfinte) I have outgrown my old one shelf stacked method of storing my collection by at least a factor of two. I wanted to ask some questions of those of you that have the kind of collections I aspire to, I am still sorta new so please bear with me. I did a search, but didn't find (more accurately know how to find) what I was looking for. Feel free to give me a link or PM me if I missed an obvious thread.

This is my project tomorrow and Monday, but I would like to do it right so I don't have to do it again later  :D.

1. In your experience what's the best way to catalog your collection? Spreadsheet? Do any have a template you recommend?

2. What categories do you divide your collections into?

3. Do most of you take photos for insurance?

4. On a shelf should you stack boxed sets and books or do you store them like books (spine facing toward you)?

5. Finally, in regards to boxed sets do you put bubble wrap or in something in the box to help keep its shape?

Thanks again,

Zach


Excel spreadsheet.  I have a rather elaborate system that I use to track by type per sheet (one sheet has TSR modules, the next accessories, then another sheet for FASA Battletech miniatures, another for FASA Battletech books, yet another for GDW stuff, etc, etc, etc).  Per product I try to keep track of sales via ebay and highlight what I alread have bought.  This also partially answers your next question.  I generally segregate by publisher, then system.  I have alot of crap and this tends to work out well.  (OK, stuff, not crap).

Photos might be a nice to have, but if you ever really have to make an insurance claim your company is going to want to probably see reciepts and proof of purchase.  This comes down to credit card charge reciepts (your statement will suffice - it's OK to use paypal, but ALWAYS pay via credit card.  Even if you have to empty your paypal account to do so) and a copy of the ebay listing or similar documentation.  Save it off somewhere in your email when you get the "congratulations, you won" automated spam from ebay.  These 2 things will a claim make (at least if you have USAA).  My house was robbed a few years ago and thieves like to take things that are small, easily transportable and hideable, have a fairly high value, and are easy to pawn.  This translates to netbooks, cellphones, tablets, PS3s, Wiis, digital cameras, and PSA10 graded beta and unlimited dual lands that happen to be out on display (collectibles).  Best thing to do is contact your insurance company BEFORE you have to make a claim to see what thier burden of proof is, your deductable, and the max they will cover you in a particular category (jewelry is different than electronics is different than collectibles, etc).  Be sure to ask about APPRECIATION.  There is no such word in insurance.  If you paid $300 for it 4 years ago and it costs $4000 to buy it now, TFB.  You get $300.

Modules are all bagged, boarded, and boxed.  Except for a few noteworthy exemptions which are in magazine hard cases out on display (RPGA1-4, etc).  I go back and forth on box sets.  There are arguments for prolonged storage for both upright and flat.  Right now mine are all flat, stacked on top of eachother to account for weight (IE, Wilderlands and Rappan Athukk boxed sets are on the bottom because they are heavy, etc).  I dont really have the space to put cardboard spacers between them all to keep them from really dishing and keep them on display.  Ill probably change my mind next month and put them all back upright.  Shrug.

I also recommend life size poly bags for boxed sets to prevent damage to the box itself while stored (or on display).

For opened box sets, I put all components in bags and boards.  I have yet to meet a boxed set that will not allow you to bag the contents and put the contents back in the box (preventing rubbing).  Boards will fit into some but not all.  I then do stick some bubble wrap into the box to keep the lid and bottom from dishing from prolonged storage.  Shrinkwrapped boxed sets i dunno.  I go back and forth.  Upright makes me sad to know that there is nothing solid inside the box providing support to the books and flat makes me cry for dishing.  Maybe I'll invent a boxed set winerack that holds them all at 45 angles or something.  Shrug.

  

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:43 pm 
 

Stylean!  A boxed set wine rack, storing them at 45 degree angles.  Genius!  

I do the Excel spreadsheet.

Setting        System        Letter        Number        Title        Year        Maker        Grade  Comments

I like to know the setting (Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, etc).  In Comments I list the printing and whatever else I know (personalities of sanctuary has the comment "from the Thieves' World boxed set).  Anything incomplete like that I highlight in yellow, with the ambition of someday posting it all on the "Trading to Complete the Incomplete" thread.  I'll get there...

And I shelf by publisher.  Well, all magazines go first, then by publisher.  When it gets to the TSR stuff, I have the lettered mods first, then sort the rest by number.  I get a little hung up on items like The Complete Druid's handbook.  Do I shelf it as item number 2150, or with the lettered items, as TSR archive tells me it is "nominal PHBR13".  For now I go with the latter.

I am trying to consolidate my collection into one room, and am doing an audit as I move the stuff.  As I re-shelf each item, I highlight it in this gorgeous blue color.  Pure pleasure.  My family does not get it, but you guys do, right?  Right????


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:51 pm 
 

Thank you all very much. I just finished cataloging what I have and I  am now looking at how to store and display them safely. It is the thoughtful answers to such questions that makes this forum second to none.

Thanks again (as he goes back to add a settings tab to his spreadsheet)

Zach



  


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:19 pm 
 

Excel. Organized by Company, then Stock Number, then Item & Description. I have fields for the page number in Heroic Worlds the item is listed on (or the year the item is from if it was after HW was published; or Lawrence Schick omitted it because it was made by some guy in Saskatoon who ran off 12 mimeos of his magnum opus at his high school); whether an item is boxed, digest-sized, hardcover, tubed, slipcovered or in shrinkwrap; how many copies I have; the condition it's in. If something is damaged or incomplete I have that noted in another field with a description in the Item & description portion of what's missing or damaged.
I have lists for 1) FRP 2) Magazines 3) Tournament Adventures (run at conventions,  I have about 60 of these) 4) Personal Manuscripts and Maps 5) Old TSR (which is sort of a catch-all for old things that are not-FRP whether its a MAR Barker 1st print War of Wizards or A DGUTS) and then my fun little side diversions of 6) Call of Cthulhu and 7) KODT  and then my Want Lists of course

I store my boxed sets with the long thin side down (i.e. the box bottom faces out on the shelves), this let me get 8 shelves instead of 7 on those bays of my shelves. I have things organized the way they are listed in my excel spreadsheets with the following caveat: I have the boxed sets together, then the FRP, then the magazines, with the digest-sized stuff in it's own order on the top bay of my shelves (that was the only way I was going to make everything fit-those who have visited my house know there's not an extra inch available along the wall).

My goal is to have everything in ziploc bags. The most valuable things are boarded, bagged and then put in ziploc. I toyed with having some things encased in Zenon, but i thought the better of it....


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Post Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:12 am 
 

After reading all your posts, I'd like to reorganize my collection on the shelves...  :evil:


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