Cartridge Cataloging Software


#1

What programs are available aimed at cataloging Cartridges? How Much do they cost? What are your opinions of the different ones.

I am familiar with CartWin. A VERY nice program, but at $1476 it should be. Obviously, this is too expensive for most collectors.

Then there is the ECRA Caliber Data Viewer. At $146 it is more reasonable priced. How does it compare to CartWin?

Are there others?


#2

ECRA Caliber Data Viewer isn’t really a cataloging progam, it’s a database, although you can add data to it.


#3

Armourer–Yes, strictly speaking you are right, the ECRA program is not a cataloging program, but since you can add your own information for what ever cartridges you own and can generate your personal list, it can be used, in a way, as a catalog program.

Personally, I use a spreadsheet, but the drawback to a spreadsheet is no pictures or dimensioned drawings.


#4

Ron,
Actually, you can include pictures with a spreadsheet. I believe you can just paste them in, although I don’t do this, as it would result in every picture having to open when you open the spreadheet, and would result in a slow opening spreadsheet due to all the memory it would require. Instead, I use a hyperlink function (Insert - hyperlink) to accomplish this, storing my pictures in a separate directory, and linking to that directory by clicking on the link that that occupiers a field in a column titled ‘Pictures’ in the the spreadsheet for that particular cartridge. Each cartridge that you have a picture of has its own link. I can then choose what picture I want to display, rather than displaying them all when the spreadsheet opened. The link can say anything you want, like ‘Picture - Item 12033’. A separate field could link to the drawings, though I don’t include them. I suspect any of the spreadsheets allow this; I use Excel.

I have pictures of only about 5% of my collection - lots of work to do.


#5

Guy–Thanks for the tip about using a Hyperlink to a picture. I never knew you could do that. It really works slick. On my system it opens the picture in Windows Picture Viewer. Is there any way to get the picture to open directly in the spreadsheet when you click on the Hyperlink or perhaps in a small window?


#6

I know about MSELECT ( mselect.free.fr/ ), but haven’t tried it yet.


#7

Okay I’m new to collecting and my collection is small but I started out by entering everything into an Excel spreadsheet. I am now experimenting with bringing that list into Microsoft Access database program. So far it looks pretty good. You create the database yourself and include whatever info you want to add, style it however you want & customize it to your needs. While I live on a computer daily doing CAD and I’m comfortable with most office software, this is my first jump into Access and I’m learning it as I go and so far it’s been pretty easy. The nice part of it is that you are not forced to use someone else’s idea of the perfect database. You can even link photos to a record if you have the hard drive space. Granted, I only have <800 cartridges in my collection, but since I inherited it as lump and not gradually over time, there was a considerable amount of data entry involved (quite a few nights in front of the TV with the laptop.)


#8

Gentlemen,
It is very easy to get excited about the functionality of computer software but one important thing not mentioned in this thread is the need for portability. And I don’t mean how light your laptop is !

Having been a general collector and then a caliber specialist, plus 30+ years in the computer industry, I have fallen into the trap before of using software with advanced features and regretted it!

Bear in mind that you are cataloguing your collection not only for your benefit but for the benefit of others. Your widow will appreciate the fact that you have catalogued your collection but if no one else has the software and can’t read your catalogue


#9

That’s why I like the Access approach because you can create lists that are spread sheets and export them as such and also have the nice interface. I have also created a mini list with just calibre & hs that I’ve dumped into my PDA with the idea of having a portable list to take with me to gun shows (haven’t tried this yet - may be more pain than it’s worth).


#10

Hi All,
I wanted to throw in my two bits here.
I’m a Access database nut, but Chris P is right.
Unless you have some way of extracting the data to share in some common format your database (or whatever format/system you are using) is useless.
We are creating a shared resource for future generations.
I had the state archivist in a class I taught a few years ago and I asked her about the problem of electronic data, she laughed and told me that it was a significant issue.
Her answer for the best long term storage of information (short of chiseling on stone) was ink on acid free paper.
I have come to the conclusion that nothing beats a good book that you can sit down with and read or compare to other books.
I plan to start printing out my material and having it bound.

Brian


#11

I wrote my own collection and inventory software many years ago, originally in dBase III+, migrating it forward as new versions came out. It never quite made it to Visual Foxpro (VFP), although I made several attempts at upgrades, and I still use VFP for many personal projects. But Microsoft made it clear that VFP’s days were numbered.

MS Access is probably the best choice for anyone wanting to roll their own. It imports and exports to many other software packages, and is easy to customize. For a single user, it is a great package, and likely to remain on the market until MS retires Office - which is not gonna happen.

Excel works but it has some severe limits as a database substitute.

If anyone is interested I would be happy to share the Access DB I’ve created for my own collection. It is naturally limited to my own personal needs and experience (and Access skillz), but you can’t beat the price!


#12

[quote=“clarkbr”]Hi All,
I wanted to throw in my two bits here.
I’m a Access database nut, but Chris P is right.
Unless you have some way of extracting the data to share in some common format your database (or whatever format/system you are using) is useless.
[/quote]

I disagree. One, There is no such thing as a common format. Software tools have changed a lot over the years and will continue to do so. Two, no software tool is perfect, and every user will have special requirements. If you are creating your own package, worrying about a common format for sharing data is the absolute last thing to worry about. You SHOULD have a means to import or export info for upgrades or migration to a new platform.


#13

I’ve been in ICT for most of my life and I can assure you that such common formats exist. The basic ‘flat text’ or ASCII format is fully platform and OS independent and has survived for decades already and that basic encoding system is not likely to go away in a hurry.

So as long as you have the following options your data is safe:
-Dump in flat file ASCII format.
-Print on paper.


#14

[quote=“Vlim”]I’ve been in ICT for most of my life and I can assure you that such common formats exist. The basic ‘flat text’ or ASCII format is fully platform and OS independent and has survived for decades already and that basic encoding system is not likely to go away in a hurry.

So as long as you have the following options your data is safe:
-Dump in flat file ASCII format.
-Print on paper.[/quote]

But that is hardly a “common format”. That’s merely one method of data extraction, and a pretty extreme one at that. How readable is a delimited-text data dump? Ever try to re-input a few thousand lines of data from a printout?

I too have been in IT for more years than I’d like to think about. But this is hardly the place for a resum


#15

[quote]How readable is a delimited-text data dump? Ever try to re-input a few thousand lines of data from a printout?
[/quote]

The trick is to re-import the data into another system, been there, done that :)

If the print-out is of a good enough quality, it’s easy to scan and OCR it, again, been there, done that as well :)

The bottom line is: digital data is digital data and it can be managed one way or the other, so there is no need to ‘fear’ the loss of digital data. Just choose a format or platform you’re happy with and work with it. That’s the basic message imho. Data extraction and conversion isn’t rocket science.


#16

In my opinion a “common format”, unless you want to exchange files with someone else, is not important as long as you have the program on YOUR computer that generated the catalog. What is important is the storage media. I first started out cataloging my collection about 1978 using a Basic program saved on a cassette tape. When was the last time you saw a computer with an interface for a cassette tape. I was using a Timex-Sinclair 1000. When I got an IBM-PC in 1981 I transfered my data to 5 1/4 Floppy. No hard drives were available until the IBM-AT in about 1983. Again, almost impossible to find a computer today with a 5 1/4 Floppy. Even 3 1/2 Floppy is hard to find. And try to buy new 5 1/4 floppies. Also, while I still have that IBM-PC from 1981, 90% of my over 1000 5 1/4 Floppies will no longer read due to breakdown of the magnetic surface. So, it is MORE important to keep up with storage media than it is what program you use. Although, you do need to make sure the program can run on the later OS. I don’t believe that Windows XP or Vista will read DOS based programs.


#17

You win. That’s about four years before me. But then, I never used tape, either. We had an 8" floppy drive. I still have one disk, just to it prove to my kids…

Depends on the program. dBase 5 ran on Windows XP up until SP2. FoxPro/DOS seized up a long time ago. But basically you’re right, DOS is roadkill.


#18

Cyberwombat–Yes, I have a number of 8 inch Floppies as well. As far as I know these were never used in a computer designed for home use. I used them on a early IBM computer in a business. I started working with computers in 1965 on a main frame (Control Data 6500, if I recall correctly) using large reels of tape on tape drives 6 feet tall.


#19

My first machine was a Heathkit, which my dad and I built in 1981 or 1982. The 8" drive was a separate box, almost as big as the computer itself. He wanted the biggest storage device he could find, and at 1.1Mb, the 8-inch was king. I shudder to think of what he paid for it.

I’m not sure I could have even spelled “computer” in 1965…


#20

I don’t have Vista, but can tell you 2000 and XP perfectly read DOS based programs.

JP