For some time I've been thinking about adding an 'advanced collection manager' to Brickset to enable you to record more information about your collection. The discussion and interest in the 'cost of your collection' comments suggest that there is a lot of interest in having such a facility, so I will make it a priority (perhaps when the World Cup is on and my wife is glued to the TV :-) ).
I'd like your input before I start to help determine how it should work and what data it should allow you to record.
First, the philosophy behind the current 'I own/I want' mechanism is to keep it as simple as possible and we need to recognise that not everyone will want or need enhanced features, so whatever is provided has to work in conjunction with the simple mechanism. This causes a bit of a problem straight away because the database table structure for your collection is roughly as follows:
User ID, Set ID, Own (yes/no), Want (yes/no), Qty Owned
i.e. there is one record for each different set you own, regardless of quantity. If we are to record information like condition and price, we will need one record for every single set:
User ID, Set ID, price, condition, etc. etc.
It will be relatively easy to create the second data set based upon the data already in the first and to create records in the second as you tick the 'I Own' box but I'm less clear about what should happen if you untick it, or reduce the quantity owned. You could wipe out a lot of data unintentially and if, for example, you own two of a set and sell one so change the quantity owned to 1, the system would not automatically know which of the two records in the second data set needs to be deleted. So this all increases compexity. How do you think it should work? If you use the advanced features, should the system prevent you from reducing quantity or unticking 'I Own' from the current interface?
Assuming we can agree on how to resolve that problem, what data would you like to record? Here's my suggestion to start, with some questions:
- Date acquired -- would you need an exact date, just a month, just a year? Or free text?
- Price paid (currency automatically determined from your country, but overridable), default to RRP where known
- Acquired from -- free text box
- Condition when acquired -- drop down list: MISB, As new, Used/complete, Used/incomplete (any others?)
- Condition now -- drop down list: MISB, As new, Used/complete, Used/incomplete (any others?)
- A series of tickboxes to indicate which parts of the set you own:
- Location -- free text box to record where you keep it
- Notes -- free text box
The 'advanced collection manager' is likely to be a separate page and not part of the search/browse pages (but linked to from them), so what information about the sets should it show? Obviously set number and name, but what other data is essential? Is the thumbnail important? What other features shoud it have?
I welcome your input as comments here, and I will probably invite the more vocal among you to provide more input by email, and to beta test it when it's done.
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