Why use software to catalog your antiques?

Collectors spend much of our time and resources collecting valuable antiques and other collectibles, but we don’t take the time to properly catalog them. Yes, it takes time to carefully document what we’ve collected, but the benefits will outweigh the costs for many of us.

Like many people my age, I grew up with antiques. As a poor boy on a small farm, I was surrounded by antiques, but I didn’t recognize them as such. They were our tools, our furniture, our farm implements, our means of transportation and even some of our toys. I was surrounded by antiques, but they were just an everyday part of life.

As an adult, I wish I had some of these everyday items from my youth. Today they are worth much more than you could have imagined then. These days I spend much of my time searching various online forums and auctions for items from my youth as well as other antiques. As a result, I have created small collections of various categories of special antiques.

For many years I relied on my memory and scattered written notes and receipts to track my inventory. As time went by, I began to forget what I had and sometimes caught myself thinking of buying an item that I already had. Sometimes I would consider an item at a local exhibit and wonder if the one I already had at home was in better or worse condition than the one I was looking at. Without a description or, better yet, a set of images, it was very difficult for me to be sure. This lack of information at my fingertips resulted in some purchases I probably should have made and passing on items I should have bought to enhance my collection.

Other times I would join a discussion with a fellow collector of similar interests and try to describe an item I had only to find that I couldn’t remember some key aspect that would be of interest and worth sharing. Similarly, when visiting friends or family and the subject of my collecting interests came up, I couldn’t help them fully appreciate the items in my collection and the value of collecting them.

I am sure many of my fellow collectors share similar experiences and sentiments. These days, with all the technology available to us, we no longer have to be limited by the lack of key information at our fingertips. There are many computer programs available to help us catalog our collections so that we no longer have to rely solely on our mementos and scattered notes and receipts. They allow us to electronically track key information about items in our collections, as well as detailed images and even scans of our receipts and other written materials associated with each item.

Although without this software we would be able to maintain detailed handwritten manuscripts describing each and every aspect of our collections that interested us, it is much more difficult to change handwritten records than it is to change electronic records. We may wish to update our records and descriptions as we learn more about our items. For me, this meant scrapping my previous writing and rewriting my notes from scratch to incorporate major changes to what I had written before. With software, these changes become trivial.

Also, with software, we can retrieve information electronically much more easily than we could from handwritten records. In many software packages, this information can be manipulated, accumulated, organized, and rearranged however we like. Not only can you organize your data however you want, but you can also collect and accumulate valuable statistics, such as total cost, total value, appraised value, current value, and more.

With some of the more flexible packages, we can even modify the data we collect to suit our individual needs and preferences rather than what someone else thinks we should track. Even better packages allow you to manage multiple collections in a single package or run multiple copies of the software, one for each collection.

Some cataloging programs can be run directly from USB flash drives or other removable media without the need to install them on the computer they run on. This gives you the advantage of being able to take your collection anywhere to show it to others on your computer without lugging a computer around with you. When your collection resides on a USB flash drive or other removable media, you can also protect it without leaving it vulnerable on your computer.

Today’s mobile apps open up a whole new field when it comes to having information available at your fingertips to check out your collection when considering purchasing a new item or to share information with others. However, with their limited keyboards, it can be very difficult to manually enter information into mobile apps. On the other hand, mobile devices make it very easy to take pictures of items and include them in mobile app databases. That’s why the best of both worlds is when data can be entered using a desktop or laptop and then downloaded to a mobile app where images can be easily added and then the results uploaded back to the desktop app. .

The software I use runs on a USB flash drive and allows me to manage one or more collections. With this software, I can easily input information about my antiques and other collectibles onto a USB flash drive that runs on my desktop computer. I can then take the USB flash drive with me to share with others on their computers and lock it down for safe storage when I’m done.

I can also download my collection in a companion mobile app on my Android phone to take it with me anywhere. This makes it easy to view images anytime, anywhere when visiting other people or considering purchasing a new item to add to my collection. The Android app also makes it super easy to take photos of items in my collection. I can then load those images back into the desktop app. This two-way communication allows me to take advantage of the best features in both the desktop and mobile apps when managing and sharing items in my collections.

Although it takes time to enter data into a software application, in my opinion, the benefits that collection software provides are well worth the effort.

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