Manage your collection in an online database

Many people manage an impressive collection of model trains, LPs or comic books in an attic room. Especially with large collections, it is difficult to remember which items you already own. For this reason, create an online database so that you can consult it anytime and anywhere.

Tip 01: Google Sheets

You can manage your collection as professionally as you want. We start with the simplest variant. If you would like a regular list of all collected items, an online spreadsheet is an effective solution. There are various options for this. Owners of a Google account can use the Google Spreadsheets service. Surf here. After entering the correct email address and password, you will be taken to the main Google Sheets window. You may have previously saved documents online, for example Excel files. Google Sheets is linked to the online storage service Google Drive. To create a new document, click on the red ball with the plus sign at the bottom right. An empty spreadsheet appears on the screen.

Google Sheets automatically saves your document to the associated Drive account

Tip 02: Fill in the table

A spreadsheet is basically a table that you can fill in as you see fit. At the top you see the text Unnamed Spreadsheet to stand. Click on it and type a relevant name yourself. Divide the table into columns and indicate in the top line which data you want to state in the relevant column, for example brand, type, year and purchase price. For clarity, make the top line bold or italicized by using the formatting tools in the toolbar. Conveniently, Google Sheets automatically saves the document in the associated Google Drive account. So there is no need to manually save the spreadsheet. Click on the green button at the top left Homepage of Spreadsheets. The newly created document is at the top of the main window.

Share table

If you manage the collection with someone else, it is smart to share the online database. With Google Sheets you can easily do that. Open your document and click on the top right To share. Then enter one or more email addresses of people you want to share the spreadsheet with. You can determine what rights someone has via the pencil icon. You have a choice between may edit, may respond and may display. Through Ready send you the invitation. Once the invitee accepts the invitation, they can access the shared spreadsheet.

Tip 03: Spreadsheets app

Suppose you found an interesting object at a collector's fair or in a thrift store. You actually want to take that special LP or model train with you, but you doubt whether you already have the object in question. A difficult situation, but luckily you can always and everywhere request the self-made collection database with your smartphone. Google Spreadsheets is also available for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android. Install the app of the same name from the App Store or Play Store and then log in with your Google account. The documents you most recently opened will now appear on the screen. Tap the correct file name to open the online database. Are not all data visible? Tilt the device to landscape mode and notice that the app now shows more columns. You may adjust the content directly on your smartphone to add your new purchase. It is handy that you can also store the document offline in case you go to a foreign fair and you do not have access to mobile internet there. To do this, tap the icon with the three dots in the top right and activate the switch behind Available offline.

Tip 04: Catawiki

One disadvantage of a spreadsheet document is that you have to enter everything manually. This takes hours, if not days, especially with large collections. Catawiki helps you register your collection more easily. It is not for nothing that this website is extremely popular among collectors. In addition, you also use the service to obtain missing collectibles through auctions. On the website www.catawiki.nl you first create an account. Go to login and Create your account for free. Now enter a username, e-mail address and password, after which you confirm with Create account. Do not forget to agree to the terms and conditions. Alternatively, you can also log in via a Facebook profile. In the remaining steps, Catawiki wants to know some personal information about you, such as your name and address. The service needs this information if you later want to participate in auctions, see the box 'Auctions'. Furthermore, Catawiki will send an SMS with a four-digit code to your mobile phone number for verification. Enter this code on the website. If you want to be kept informed of new auctions, you can optionally indicate in which subjects you are interested. Finally, open your mailbox and click on the confirmation link.

Catawiki is a very popular website among collectors worldwide

Auctions

Catawiki is ideally suited to complement your collection. Many members sell items that are popular among collectors. This is done after the intervention of an auctioneer, which means that the auctions are under notarial supervision. According to the website, there are about 35,000 lots every week, so there is plenty to choose from. On the Catawiki homepage you can see which auctions are ending soon. You can of course also take a look at your favorite category. Click on All auctions and open the desired category. You may make an offer. If you really want something, you can also set up an automatic bid. As soon as someone outbids you, you automatically place a new bid with the smallest possible bid increment. Of course you indicate the maximum rate yourself. Please keep in mind that Catawiki charges nine percent for auction costs, so that amount is on top of your bid amount. You can also offer items for auction yourself, provided the minimum value is 75 euros.

Tip 05: Add stuff

Once you have created a Catawiki account, you will add all the collected items. There is a good chance that the majority of the objects in your collection are already known by this collection website, as the service is used worldwide. Convenient, because that saves you a lot of input work! Make sure you are logged in and scroll all the way down. At the part My Catawiki do you choose My collection. You then determine which category your collection falls under. You can choose between dozens of categories, including Key Chains, Model Cars, Coins, Strips and Cigar Bands. You first check within the category whether an object has already been registered with Catawiki. Use the headings on the left for this. In the Model cars category, for example, you filter by brand, car make, type and scale. You can of course also use the search function. Once you have found the correct item, open the corresponding item page. On the right-hand side, under This item, fill in the fields below Condition, Number and optionally Notes in. Through Add register the item in question within your Catawiki account.

Tip 06: New object

Especially when you collect rare objects, there is a chance that Catawiki does not yet know the object in question. No problem, you can simply fill in the required information yourself. Scroll back to the category page if necessary. Through Add item to catalog an empty form opens. Fill in the requested information as completely as possible. In the case of a model car, these include the car make, the scale and the year of production. You also enter the estimated value and add at least one image. For the image you select via the button Choose File a picture on the computer. Don't forget the option at the bottom Add to my collection to tick. Finally confirm with Add.

Tip 07: View collection

Of course you want to be able to request the collection from Catawiki at all times. This can be done easily via the website. Scroll all the way down and click below My Catawiki on My collection. All added objects are neatly indexed. You can even search within your own collection database via the search function. You may store the collection database locally on your PC. That is not a superfluous luxury, because Catawiki is sometimes unreachable due to overload. Click on the left Export and Export to Excel. You will receive an email as soon as the Excel file has been created. Click on the link within this email to save the document locally. Note that the spreadsheet contains multiple worksheets that contain all the data.

With a mobile app you can access Catawiki's custom database anytime, anywhere

Tip 08: Catawiki app

There are several mobile apps from Catawiki. Unfortunately, you cannot use it to view your own collection(s). These apps are intended to keep track of auctions and sell stuff. Fortunately, an external developer has created an app that allows you to consult your own collection on your smartphone. Search your phone's app store for CW Collect! and install this application on the device. You enter your username and password, after which you choose Send. The app then downloads the database to your device. After a short wait, a message will appear that the synchronization is complete. You can save the database with large or small images. The latter option naturally takes up the least storage space on your smartphone. Tap the category to view objects from the Catawiki database. If you later added new items to the collection through the website, you will need to manually update the CW Collect! app. To do this, tap Sync / Sync Collection.

Tip 09: Music collection

Owners of an extensive (physical) music collection would do well to keep an online database. This way you know in a music store whether you already have that CD or LP. The Discogs web service is a worldwide phenomenon among music lovers. At the time of writing, the catalog contained more than sixteen million albums by more than five million artists. In short, you can find all official editions there without any problems. Furthermore, Discogs is also ideally suited to make second-hand purchases. Several sellers of each album appear on the screen, after which you do business directly. Enough reason to create an account!

You open the website www.discogs.com, after which you enter a username, e-mail address and password in the top right corner. Agree to the terms and conditions and choose Create Account. Alternatively, you can also use a Facebook or Google account. After you have logged in, you will arrive at the Discogs Dashboard.

The Discogs catalog contains more than sixteen million music albums from about five million artists

Tip 10: Barcode scanner

If you have hundreds or perhaps thousands of albums, you should set aside quite a bit of time to add all the music. Fortunately, Discogs' mobile app has a handy barcode scanner. Install this application from the Apple or Play Store and then log in with your account. In the main menu, open the Search section. By entering an artist or album title you can easily track down every album, but often there are multiple versions of an edition. It is therefore more convenient to search by barcode, so that you immediately have the right edition. Tap the barcode icon behind the search field and give Discogs permission to use your smartphone's camera. You then point the camera at the barcode of a CD, DVD or LP. A list of search results appears. Tap the correct album and choose Add To Collection to add the item. This way you can easily add your complete music collection. Keep in mind that old LPs often don't have a barcode, so you'll have to look them up manually.

Tip 11: Buy music

Discogs is the largest marketplace for music worldwide. For example, both professional traders and hobby sellers are active on this platform. If you like to expand your music collection, it is best to use the website for this. The app for iOS in particular has quite a few limitations. After logging in to www.discogs.com, use the search function to search for albums. If you have found a nice copy, open the corresponding album page. Just about every music album is for sale via Discogs, although rare copies cost a lot of money. If interested, click below Marketplace on the right on Buy Vinyl or Buy CD. A list of sellers appears, with the cheapest suppliers at the top. The quality is especially important with LPs, because a gramophone record is quite sensitive to scratches. Also check at Media Condition always the quality. For an undamaged LP you look for an album with a Mint status. It is also smart to look for dealers from the Netherlands, as this saves you on shipping costs. Most sellers use PayPal or bank transfer as a payment method. If you want to have an album, click successively Add to Cart and Place Order.

Collector's Software

There is also all sorts of software that allows you to easily record physical collections in a database. This is worth considering if you prefer not to use online databases like Google Sheets, Catawiki and Discogs. Specific software is available at www.collectorz.com to store DVDs/Blu-rays, books, music albums, comic books and games. Don't feel like paying? Data Crow is a free alternative. With this you can store every imaginable collection, although collections with books, music, software and films do have an advantage. This is because this freeware can retrieve additional data from internet sources.

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