For those of you out there with LARGE collections, what are you doing to catalog your computers, software, manuals, peripherals, etc...?
This is something I've been contemplating for probably a decade now and have barely gotten off the ground on several occasions as my collection and ideas have expanded, or I've moved, or remodeled...
My current grandiose plan is an SQL database with a PHP interface. This would allow me to create a museum or collection page on my website that has auto-generated content. I could also build a custom data entry interface that is simple enough to render on my SE/30, and possibly incorporate my ADB barcode scanner for lookups.
Any thoughts? What is everyone else doing to track their collections?
we should make a website people can log into like this one and , displays a profile with all the machines in catalog format
that way its dual purpouse!
bar code scanner is a good idea, print off a sticker with a numerical number on it, that way you can still look up the machine if your scanner is down :) in your case all the way up to machine # 300 haha
it would be cool if you could print labels from the website, !
but i guess that would be getting too custom :)
That's what QR codes are for!
an even better idea, then you can just shoot the vintage apple with your iPhone and it will give a list of info on that machine!
I've had the thought about using a phone to scan a barcode, but not specifically about QR codes since I (at least for my purposes) want the data in a MySQL database. That's an awesome idea though.
Here's what I have so far... This is the data entry/search/update form. I kept it simple in design for rendering on a 9" B&W screen. Searching right now is strictly by barcode. The form will update a record if the barcode entered already exists in the DB. I don't want to enter specs, I just want a record of what I have, a picture of the item, and a description. If there is some special spec about the item that I feel compelled to mention, I can do so in the description field. Also, HTML can be entered into any of the fields if needed.
Here's a link to my collection page. It's not pretty yet, since I'm still getting the functionality down (and there are only a few pieces of test data entered), but you'll get the idea: http://www.aftermac.net/collection/index.htm
My goal is to not have to code individual pages. Everything needs to be dynamically generated. Categories and Sub Categories are generated based on unique entries in the DB.
I've started and stopped efforts to catalog my collection many times. It needs to be done in a bad way. I'll be following what you're doing, but it sounds way to technical for me. I'd be able with a spreadsheet listing.
I love writing code, but It's something I haven't had a (work related) need for in several years. So a secondary motivation is to try and shake off some rust. I've looked at other programs to keep track of my collection, but nothing works the way I want it to. Besides, controlling HTML with "if" statements is so empowering. :D
I'll post updates as I get further along. I've had a couple more thoughts about handling images... When a new barcode is entered, the code could create a directory with a name matching the barcode, and any images in that directory would be loaded into the appropriate web page. I would still have to load them up to my hosting service's FTP, but that's fairly trivial.
I'm also considering creating a second table on the DB to track maintenance records for my equipment, also by barcode. That could be fun.
Haven't touched this in a couple weeks... made a minor update to (in theory) display 3 items across then start a new row. I don't have more than two items in any one sub-category, so I'll have to test that to be sure the code works. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm doing with images, but the sub-category will have a very clean look to it.
I've been giving some thought to a public database website, and have some good ideas... at least they sound good in my head. A public version would need much tighter control of make's, model's, categories, and sub-categories. The standards I'm currently using are very loose, so new entries in any of the aforementioned fields can be created on the fly. A public version would probably require a separate table for these items, so a complete checklist can be generated to select from, and to ensure that everyone is entering their collections in a uniform manner. I wouldn't expect everyone to follow the same standards for entering items. That does open the question for adding oddball items such as manuals, peripherals, other computer items, slight model variations, etc... There could be a submission form or something. For consistency sake, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to generate them on the fly.
I do like the idea of having For Sale/Trade and Wanted flags. You could have an awesome little trading post like that. Could even break this down further and optionally enter loose parts... ie. a Mac IIsi HD bracket. That could really simplify locating hard to find parts.
Have to give this some more thought...
lets do it, sounds awesome, we should get it up, and starting using it, adding to the database, and work out the finer details as we go!
User accounts/security and basic functionality may take a while to get setup. Right now, I only have entry level hosting services. If the project expands too much I'll have to work something else out. I'm already starting to think out some database and table structures in my head, so I can start laying them out on digital paper soon... in my free time... after the kids are in bed. :)
What I don't want to do is toss something up and then have to scrap the whole thing because of a lack of planning. That's why I'm 10+ years into this project. :) So, I need to give thought to creating a good structure where it can start small, but allows for future growth.
Just thinking about the array of variables for the idea in my head is mind-numbing...
I'm using MacTracker.
Also, I registered with MO5. Here is a sample page about the Apple II (yes French site, and I'm French).
If you register, it's convenient to manage your collection, and you benefit from the rest of the data. Especially the price evaluation, and indication of scarcity if pretty cool.
Hope this could give you some inspiration for your project.
I've looked at MacTracker in the past. In some ways it is much more detailed than I need at this point, and in other ways it just doesn't do what I want. I'm sure I can use it for ideas though.
MO5 is pretty cool... lots of good ideas there!
I work for a company that deals with locating, inventorying, and valuing salvaged auto parts, so there are a lot of ideas that could be gained from that for a trading post, also.