Preserving my catalog

OK you guy and gal computer nerds out there - I probably asked this question before but I still don’t have a clear answer. Maybe it should be posted over on the “tech” forum but things seem to get lost over there and I seriously need an answer. Or maybe I should say that I need a serious answer.

A big part of my catalog was put together before I had a PC and I am trying to reconstruct it on my PC. My biggest concern is that a major wreck could destroy all of my hard work and leave me with only hard copies, which is where I am now.

So, what format should I use to create a catalog? One where I can edit as things change and, more importantly, one that I can save to some other form, such as a CD, to be used in the event of that aforementioned wreck.

Be aware that I am computer ignorant to the nth degree so explain it to me in simple words. I know Word Perfect and that’s about it.



Hi, Ray…I also have a catalog of my collection…all on the computer…AND…I have had some problems as you describe…crashes where you lose data, etc. If you have a good PC with all necessary peripherals…CD RW drive, etc., it should be no problem to continue to use Word Perfect. You just name your files in a way you can understand for easy retrieval off the CD, as when you want to update, then just refile on the CD, where the “old” file will be over-written. SOMETIMES…you run into trouble where when you try to refile on a CD, it comes back and says “You do not have authorization”…don’t know what you do about that !!..HTH…Randy


That’s what I tried, I think. I copied the file to a CD. When i opened it as a CD it said I could edit but then I had to save it with a new name. I did that and it worked. But then I had the new edited file that had to be burned on a new CD and the old CD tossed. I suppose that’s one way to do it and since CDs only cost about two bits at walmart maybe that’s how a simple minded guy like should do it.

I’m sure I’m doing this the hard way but at the same time I’m afraid that if I fiddle around trying to do it the right way I’ll lose everything. Exactly what I was trying to avoid.


I have been using Excel for my cartridge catalog for years and have had no problems; regardless of the format used, as long as you save to backup copy to a CD as well as saving to your hard drive, anything can happen to the computer and your backup copy of the file on the CD should be unaffected.

I prefer Excel over Wordperfect and the other word processing software because it is easier to use, and is pretty much designed for use in building lists of ‘things’. It is based on columns and rows (a spreadsheet) so it is easy to set up a grid with all the parameters you want to maintain in your catalog across the top. It also allows you to perform mathematical calculations, and can be converted to other ‘spreadsheet’ formats easily. Column widths can be easily changed to however many spaces you need.


That is something that I am looking at, i.e., using another format besides WordPerfect. It means that I have to learn how to use it and I try to avoid learning new stuff at my age because it’s hard enough to remember the old stuff.

Anyway, I think I have solved the problem of having to save edited files under a new name. As Randy said I simply break everything down into smaller folders and then re-file edited data back into the same folder where it is overwritten.

Now let me ask both of you - should I make a backup to the backup CD also and then just overwrite it periodically, just in case?? I know that 747s and the space shuttles have backup for the backup for the backup but they involve life and death situations. Or am I being anal about protecting everything?


If a computer illiterate such as myself can learn to use Excel, you could too. I think once you saw how useful it is, you’d have the incentive to use it. But, go ahead and continue using that dinosaur that is Wordperfect if you must.

The memory sticks available now are great for backups of stuff like this and hold a ton of data. I don’t know the effects on CDs of repeated overwriting; maybe none, but it’s nothing to save updated files from the hard drive onto the memory stick. Nothing new to learn and no saving under a new name, just overwrite the old file. I also copy the file from my home computer to the office computer via the memory stick since I’m also a bit anal and really don’t want to reconstruct my catalog from scratch.


I was also going to suggest EXCELL! It is great and very easy to learn / use. Once the data is entered, it is super easy to make cool graphs and charts with the data also. Just in case you are craving a pie chart to see how many 9mm’s you have over other types :-)


I have used EXCEL since 1999 and have never had a problem with adding to or updating entries. For backup (done each time a change is made) I have two flashdrives and use both so there are always two seperate copies of my four catalogs. I also store both away from the computer to assure their security and safety. It’s simple and cheap to do this.


Another way to back-up and safe your catalog “Off Site” is to e-mail the Excell spreadsheet to a friend or relitive every once in a while.

Hello All,
I’ve been at the computer IT game for a while.
My suggestion is to use what ever software you are comfortable with to keep your information in.
What ever you create usually can be moved to different software if needed.
For example, MS Word opens WordPerfect files without difficulty.
Personally I use MS Access for my database of cartridge and box information. It has it’s limitations (like all software), but I like it and it satisfies the geek in me.
If your budget is tight take a look at Open Office ( It is fairly user friendly and has a word processor, spreadsheet and database.

I can not emphasize more strongly on backing up your information.
I keep multiple backups of my important files.
I use CD’s and a portable hard drive. The portable hard drive plugs into your computer through a USB or FireWire port. All of these get kept in a safe.
I also have a copy of my database on a friends computer and copies on CD in his safe.
Paranoid? You bet! I have had to recover many lost hard drives and servers in my career so I understand the need to backup everything.


Thanks to all who responded.

I now am armed with some good ideas and some great recommendations.

One thing I learned for sure - BACKUP and then BACKUP some more.