Keeping Track of Your Collection

2 02 2015

As I was thinking about the fact that I hadn’t posted anything in a while, I started thinking about subject matter. Obviously, you expect that a site devoted to fountain pens would (and should) contain information about, well….fountain pens.

Duh.

But it’s also common to find information about all sorts of things –  relating to – fountain pens. Paper, inks, repairs, tools, storage, etcetera.

It struck me that other than a specific section on the Fountain Pen Network (http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum) , I’ve seen very little about how folks keep track of their collection. I think that I decided I needed to track, in some form, my collection when I got to about 20 or so pens. As much as anything, I wanted to start keeping track of what I’d bought, to try and help ‘reign in’ my addiction hobby.

I started with a free to download stand alone database, called  Fountain Pen Inventory Database, by Jon Rosen (http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/files/file/5-fountain-pen-inventory-database-by-jon-rosen/). In my opinion, this is a FANTASTIC piece of software! It’s not some generic database or spreadsheet with pen related things in it, it’s designed from the ground up, just for fountain pens. I used this software for several years and was quite pleased with it.

I never really had a problem with this software, but I started thinking that I didn’t want to be tied solely to my computer to access my pen collection. I’m an insurance broker by profession, and over the last several years, I’ve been able to utilize my phone (right now a Galaxy S4) and tablet (Galaxy Note 8) more and more for business. And though I still need, and use, my laptop every day, I wanted to be able to access my collection from any of my devices, wherever I was. So that meant moving things to the “cloud”. That also meant finding a platform that would work universally, from my laptop, my phone, my tablet or the public pc at the local library (as I said, I wanted to be able to access it from anywhere). So (to my admittedly limited knowledge) that probably meant going to a spreadsheet. But spreadsheets are unwieldy, and unattractive as compared to the software I’d been using.  Enter Google Drive, Google Docs and Memento.

Most folks now are familiar with Google Dive, and many also Google Docs. Most folks probably haven’t heard of Memento. Basically, Memento is a database utility for android (possibly ios too, not sure….) that will act as an interface for, Google Sheets, Google’s answer to Excel. On an Android device, you input your data into a form, and once done, view it in a form factor. So once I input my information on my new Kaweco Sport AL on my phone and hit sync (it’s not automatic), I can then access the Google Sheet in Google Drive, and it’s there – including pictures. I can then open Memento on my tablet, hit sync, and again the information is all there. Sweet.

If you use Android and are interested in Memento, check it out on the Play store: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=memento.It’s actually a pretty powerful little tool that you can do a LOT with. I’ve also uploaded my pen collection database to their online library.The framework for it, not the actual data. 9 people have downloaded it as of this writing. 9 people.

If others have different systems in place to track your collection, let us know about it in the comments!

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