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Cataloging or Recording Model Railway Items


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Just wondering how many folks here catalog or record their purchase, i.e. keeping an inventory of the model railway items they've purchased and own. 

 

I've just become interested in this, although it's rather late for me because (after 15+ years) I now have lots of stock!  I was thinking of at least recording all my stock onto a spreadsheet, although I obviously would not be able to remember most of the purchasing details -- i.e., when I bought them, from where, how much.  If I were to do this now, it would be a daunting, time-consuming task! yet I can see how this list/inventory would be useful.  Just curious to see if and how many other people have done this.

 

Mods:  Hope this is in the best place. Please feel free to close or move it if it's in the wrong place.

 

Thanks, Rob

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Rob:

I haven't.

But a couple of the Platelayers have.

A spreadsheet would be best. Separate pages by scale, manufacturer, other criteria?

Don't worry about blank cells, but try to have enough info that things can be identified.

Otherwise:

EstateSale_3836.jpg.d31b4416d2d67327c7e4051a202c7566.jpg

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I have a spreadsheet with the following columns:

 

- Manufacturer

- Manufacturer item number

- Road name

- Road number

- Colour

- RTR/Assembled kit/Unmade kit

- Car type

- Car description (i.e. what it says on the box)

 

No need for separate pages, I just use the sort function to group by car type, or road name etc. or any combination of the columns I'm interested in at any one time.

 

I don't need a column for scale - they're all HO. I'm not concerned when I bought anything, who I bought it from, or how much it cost (I shudder to think what the totals would look like!). But if those were things you were interested in, you could add columns for those things.

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I use a custom Microsoft Access database I developed many years ago. It's still not 'finished' now, and is intended for a lot more than just a basic inventory (think rake formations, timetables, layout control, etc).

 

However, I'm all too aware of Access's limitations in its interface and SQL capabilities, so I hope to develop something different using either an SQLite flat file or an open source RDBMS with interfaces both for browser and smartphone. But that's a long way off happening.

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An inventory is useful if the worst happens and you have to make an insurance claim. A column showing value would help but as it would be time consuming to keep the value up to date I suggest a date column associated with the value.  

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Of course, whatever you use, be it a Word document, spreadsheet or database, make sure that you store it somewhere safe - no good having it just on the home computer if that too gets consumed by fire, flood etc. There's plenty of free online storage options like Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive etc - or of course you could use the online spreadsheet like Google Sheets

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It depends on what type of computer you intend using , I use android programs on this tablet so I can take it down to the shed.  Backed up onto a NAS drive.

The one I've been using for books is,  "Book Catalogue " which has the ability to photo read the bar codes on a book to save you typing it all In.

 

I'm experimenting  with "collection manager" for model railway stock,  

You can have multiple collections,  so mine are:

N gauge, 

 EM gauge, 

Tools,

there are 4 main data fields,  including photo. That should be enough for me. 

 

 

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  • RMweb Gold

Spreadsheet for me.

Password protected so nobody else can inadvertantly see it. ;)

Stored on an online cloud service.

Accessible from smartphone when in a shop, asking, "Have I already got one of those?"

Columns for everything you will ever need to know, except the one that you haven't entered yet.

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I use a database for collections (music, books, later trains) and have done for many years.

Started with a couple of databases for BBC micro, I transferred the records to RBase (DOS based) on my first PC  from there to Lotus Approach (Windows) then to MS Access (Office Pro 2000), back to Lotus Approach (Smartsuite Millenium edition).

Still use Lotus Approach (and/or Libre Office which can read/manipulate dbf files)

 

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Posted (edited)

I keep a record of everything purchased date/location/item/price/stock number (see below) (classified information - hide from SWMBO) on a notepad on the computer. (I used to use a notebooks, but the computer record is easier - I was going to transfer it to paper....)  Keep a copy on a flash drive or something!  (Memo to self - follow your own advice!)

 

Each item of rolling stock has a self adhesive stock number attached, which is then stored in one of three loose leaf notebooks: Vintage, UK scale, Continental/American/etc. divided into locomotives/coaches/wagons. Each one is then listed with details like couplings, make, etc.

 

e.g.                   H0 U.S. Freight Cars

 

1.         Box 40' RUTLAND          Boxed  X2f   Rivarossi       

2.         Tank HSTX                       Boxed  KD   Roco

3.         Box CNJ                            Boxed  KD   Model Power

      and so on (there are rather more even in this category....)

Edited by Il Grifone
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Ah! I did a cataloging exercise a few years ago. :mail:   I found stuff I thought I had got rid , found some other stuff I couldn't remember buying, couldn't find stuff I forgot I had passed on and shocked myself with the number of Brush Type 4s (class 47s) I had including two I had renumbered with the same number. :scratchhead:

 

Several computers later and the A drive floppy disc the back up was on................:dontknow:

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, pH said:

I have a spreadsheet with the following columns:

 

- Manufacturer

- Manufacturer item number

- Road name

- Road number

- Colour

- RTR/Assembled kit/Unmade kit

- Car type

- Car description (i.e. what it says on the box)

 

No need for separate pages, I just use the sort function to group by car type, or road name etc. or any combination of the columns I'm interested in at any one time.

 

I don't need a column for scale - they're all HO. I'm not concerned when I bought anything, who I bought it from, or how much it cost (I shudder to think what the totals would look like!). But if those were things you were interested in, you could add columns for those things.

I have a very similar one, but with added fields

- Build/reweigh/repaint dates

- Proto length

- Couplers ( I want to standardise on Kadee 58/158s)

- Wheel type (there are two standards in US RTR)

- Level of detail (moulded on handrails vs wire etc)

- Proto details including links to photos

- what I propose to do with the model, e.g. add detail, renumber etc.

 

Mine is very definately based around using the models rather than collecting them

 

Edited by Talltim
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I use a spreed sheet nowadays after starting with access database. Apart from the obvious the other benefit is not buying duplicates at exhibitions. My spreed sheet is synced in real time so I can whip out my phone and look things up. And my insurance company accept the spreed sheet as proof of purchase and is insured at purchase price not market value 

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OpenOffice spreadsheet (Excel compatible) for me. I did it for two reasons: to know WHAT I had bought and like Clive Mortimore found stuff that I had duplicated and a couple items that I hadn't remembered buying, AND to place a value on it for insurance purposes. Within the sheet, I added separate pages for 'New' (ie recently bought post-2002), 'Old' and 'Really Old' for locos and then likewise for coaches and wagons, including kits. It all has a monetary value.

 

I set out columns by 'Class' with a short description, 'Manufacturer', 'Stock Number', 'DCC' (y/n), and 'Value'.

 

It then also helped me create lists of items per crate for (supposedly) ease of finding them.

 

In terms of value, I went for replacement value (be it on Ebay or whatever) as if anything really goes wrong (fire or theft) YOU are going to have to replace them. It only takes a little while to find the items (new or secondhand). I had to take out a separate insurance for them to ensure it covered the value - but it cost very little when added to the household policy.

 

Ideally, I should like to add a photo of locos and other high-value items onto the spread sheet (I think it's possible).

 

And as said earlier, keep a copy elsewhere - just in case!

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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Hi all,

To me the easiest way to make a record of what you have is to take a photo of it. You can place the photos in folders and sub folders on your computer. Folders such as engines/steam/,,,,,then the region you want them under etc. Same for wagons and coaches. The good thing about this is the photo's will be date and time stamped. You can then burn it to a CD. Do not close the CD when you finish and you can add or delete files from it.

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If you do make a record of your collection and its value for heaven's sake don't let the partner see it or sudden ideas of flogging the lot and buying a new car/ Caravan/ having a decent holiday in the States,/ Australia/ Virgin Galactic/Bognor Regis delete as applicable, might become a topic of conversation.

I recently sold a Hornby Hymek at a profit. £25.  It cost according to the label 35 shillings ( £1.75) so maybe insuring for market value rather than cost might not be a bad idea?

Maybe someone will come up with an affordable passive microchip system for identifying stock. Dead useful for DCC users who need to know which loco is on or in which hidden siding or loop. 

I had to amend my post on the earlier thread just now in view of Covid 19. 

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2 hours ago, cypherman said:

Hi all,

To me the easiest way to make a record of what you have is to take a photo of it. You can place the photos in folders and sub folders on your computer. Folders such as engines/steam/,,,,,then the region you want them under etc. Same for wagons and coaches. The good thing about this is the photo's will be date and time stamped. You can then burn it to a CD. Do not close the CD when you finish and you can add or delete files from it.

Great idea! And easy to do.  Think I'll try this.  

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1 hour ago, DavidCBroad said:

If you do make a record of your collection and its value for heaven's sake don't let the partner see it or sudden ideas of flogging the lot and buying a new car/ Caravan/ having a decent holiday in the States,/ Australia/ Virgin Galactic/Bognor Regis delete as applicable, might become a topic of conversation.

I recently sold a Hornby Hymek at a profit. £25.  It cost according to the label 35 shillings ( £1.75) so maybe insuring for market value rather than cost might not be a bad idea?

Maybe someone will come up with an affordable passive microchip system for identifying stock. Dead useful for DCC users who need to know which loco is on or in which hidden siding or loop. 

I had to amend my post on the earlier thread just now in view of Covid 19. 

Yikes, so true.  Even modest purchases over the years add up.  In my case, I've been in the hobby for 15+ years and started off with my dad's collection.   But it still adds up to a lot.  

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CD burning: A word if I may? Don't bank on your home-burnt CD lasting forever - they don't! You might get 10 years but they do 'fade' such that they're no longer readable. By all means use a CD but back it up some where, XD card, micro-card or USB/thumb/flash drive or if you have one, a separate hard drive. I use a Western Digital 'Passport' drive. Now in TBs for not a lot.

 

You could suggest to SWMBO to do the same for all your household stuff too. It's surprising how it all adds up. Very surprising.

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2 minutes ago, Philou said:

CD burning: A word if I may? Don't bank on your home-burnt CD lasting forever - they don't! You might get 10 years but they do 'fade' such that they're no longer readable. By all means use a CD but back it up some where, XD card, micro-card or USB/thumb/flash drive or if you have one, a separate hard drive. I use a Western Digital 'Passport' drive. Now in TBs for not a lot.

Absolutely, a little while back I was trying to read back some data from a backup DVD I burnt in 2008 and no go, plus I have a whole bunch of audio CD-Rs from  the same period that are unreadable. These days I back up to HDD and Google drive.

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Posted (edited)

 

 

As regards home burnt CDs. If they are exposed to light they go off a whole quicker:409937284_CDimage2.jpg.f3b7eb4048365a9f0ac77a7df6d8fe8d.jpg

 

And even ones from companies go off if the damp gets at them:

413533525_CDimage1.jpg.af221c35c86b69f9f89926cc88b399a6.jpg

 

Edited by melmerby
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Mention has been made of scanning barcodes for item details.

How does that work, is the same as the QR scanner on a 'phone?

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Melmerby

The barcode is also known as UPC and is the specific barcode shown on the vast majority of goods that go through a lot of channels before reaching the end user. The code is numeric.

 

What is needed is a database that someone has designed for that product type or within the EPOS used when the item gets scanned at the warehouse or till when you offer to buy the item. Some mobile phone apps like CD/DVD/Movie or Book catalogue apps have a builtin scanner facility that links to IMDB or Amazon for example.

 

The QR scanner you are referring to is usually used to take you to a location where further information can be obtained about the product or service you are viewing.

 

Hope that helps

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