Things You'll Need
- Record collection
- Spreadsheet program (e.g. Excel)
- Record cleaning solution
Whether you are just starting a vinyl LP collection or have amassed hundreds of records over the years, it's never too soon to start a database to catalog your records. A comprehensive database will help you organize your collection so you can best manage it in the years to come. If you wish to sell a certain record, a database will let you call upon vital information such as condition, year and record label.
Creating Your Database
Determine the criteria you wish to use for each of your records. Common LP criteria include artist, label, year, pressing and, of course, condition. The pressing of a record is marked by an identification number and letter combination often found on the back cover and on the record label itself. For even more precise information about the pressing, look to the numbers etched into the record's inner groove (the matrix number).
Open a spreadsheet in Excel or another spreadsheet program. Place your category name in each column. For best organization, give each record its own unique number in your database. To do this, title one of your columns "identification number."
Take one record at a time and type in information for each category. Certain categories such as artist, title and label are self-explanatory. To determine condition, look at both the record cover and the vinyl itself. Make sure to examine the record/cover in good light. To ensure that you grade your record fairly, use a record cleaning solution such as D4+ to remove dust and mold deposits.
Consult an online record grading site for exact criteria. Records are often graded both visually and audibly. For instance a VG+ record (very good plus) will look shiny with nothing more than a light scratch or two. In addition, the record should play without noticeable crackle except in the quietest sections of the music.
Continue steps 3 and 4 until you complete all of your records. Once you have finished your database, sort by a factor that suits your interests. For example, if you plan to sell your records, you may wish to sort by condition first, then by name. However, if you just wish to keep your records organized for personal pleasure, artist, name or genre may work best for your needs.
Alexander Grouch is a freelance screenwriter, journalist and children's book author. He currently writes music reviews for "The Red Alert." Grouch has visited all 48 contiguous states and plans to document his journeys in a travelogue. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Africana studies from Brown University.