LP Tracking


From a humble few my LP stock grows to over four thousand.

When you have that many, you lose control. Duplicate copies of the same LP I bought. And then at the LP shop I fail to recall what LPs I have. Karajan conducting Bruckner Symphonies, I have, ha ha, the first, second, third?, fifth?? Oh, do I have the sixth???

Owing to limited storage space, I have to store some LPs in cartoon boxes. This means I am not able to count and see them as often as I wish.

Time for a computerized solution. I make up my mind to build a database of the LPs to virtually manage them.

As the number of records should be less than ten thousand, there are many choices of software. I settle on the Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. It can handle more than sixty thousand records. Easy of use and zero setup time is another advantage.

Now, how many fields a record should have?

The database serves a simple personal use. Too many fields it becomes difficult to maintain and there will be a lot of input effort. In our computer age, users are confronted with too much information. Beware!

After some test run, I come up with 6 fields:

1. Label
2. Serial Number
3. Artist
4. Composer/Work
5. Version
6. Stock Place

Items 1 to 3 are self-explanatory. You can separate item 4 into two different fields as Composer and Work. But I would like to keep things simple.

Item 5 is a miscellaneous field, here I keep track of the manufacturers, label colors, etc. A truly dirty field that goes against the golden rule of database design. But when you have only a few thousand entries, adhering strictly to the book is finding trouble for yourself.

Item 6 is very important. This field tells where you put your LP. It needs not be very specific. For instance you may assign 'Box 1', 'Box 2', etc. Make sure you are clear with the physical location and there stores no more than 30 LPs.

There you go:


Excel offers many useful features to help you. For instance you should place 'Auto Filters' to your header row. By a simple click of the key the software will give you a very specific portion of the database of your choice:

Click "EMI" and only EMI entries are reported on your screen:

Search a particular LP is easy. Just type 'Crtl' + 'F', and the search template props up. The Search function is very intelligent and fast. The Excel pointer goes to the cell where the information is found:

If nothing found the software will return a 'No Such Record' message:

Data input effort is not that much as long as you keep everything simple. My aim is to keep track of what LPs I have, and where. I am not interested in exact details of the works, time of play and so on. When the artist is 'Serkin', you know a letter 'C' in field 4 means Piano Concerto. Heifetz does not play cello, right?

Working intermittenly, a 3-hour leisure work I have over 800 records ready.

I start with those LPs which are seldom played and the recent buys. When I have 800 of them in the database, I really feel I have a better control on all my LPs.

Discipline is a major key to success. After spinning a LP, log on the database to check if there is a record. Perform an input if there is none. Note the record location and make pretty sure you store the LP correctly. This takes less than a minute.

With a simple database, I can keep on buying more!


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