What items go into our set database?

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You might wonder what criteria we use to decide which LEGO-related items we include in our set database given we don't add everything with a LEGO logo on it.

We have a set of rules that we apply to determine if items are eligible and I thought it would be worth documenting them again, because the last time I did so was in 2011.

Part of the reason for doing so now is because there's debate in the comments of the BrickLink AFOL Designer program sets article about whether or not they should be added.

So, these are our rules:

In scope:

The following list details the items that we include in the database without question. When we add items we assign them a category that defines what type of item they are. You can view the categories we use, and hide those you are not interested in if you're logged in, in your profile.

  • Brick-based products with 1- ,2-, 3-, 4- or 5- digit numeric set numbers
    Regular retail sets, promotional sets, anything with a set number on the box that contains mostly LEGO bricks. This is LEGO's core product range to which we assign the category 'Normal' and we aim to have a 100% complete list of items in this category

  • Brick-based products with 6- or 7-digit set numbers
    Sometimes referred to as the 'extended product range', e.g. promotional minifigure polybags, items made to be sold in exclusively at shop.LEGO.com and in brand stores and so on. We assign these the category 'Extended' and we aim to have a 100% complete list of items in this category.

  • Brick based products packaged in sealed containers that are not assigned a numeric set number by LEGO
    For example, ComicCon exclusives, magazine/comic cover gifts, brand store minifig packs. We categorise these as 'Other' and aim to have a comprehensive list of them.

  • Brick-based products that are not packaged in sealed containers
    For example, in-store builds, promotional sets in zip-lock bags sold at LEGOLAND and so on. We also categorise these as 'Other' and add them on request.

  • Products that contain bricks that are produced under license
    Other than books, there aren't too many of these, but the Muji sets come to mind. We categorise these as 'Other' and add them when we are informed of them.

  • Non-building products that are sold at shop.LEGO.com
    Including key-chains, magnets, plush, role-play toys, bags, watches etc. We categorise them as 'Gear'. We do not put any priority on maintaining a complete list of such items; they are added only when they appear in LEGO's affiliate product feed.

  • Books published in-house and under license that are of interest to AFOLs
    Primarily those published by Dorling Kindersley.

  • Unofficial books about LEGO that are of interest to AFOLs
    For example, those published by No Starch Press, books authored by AFOLs and so on.


Out of scope:

These items will not normally be included in the database:

  • Non-brick based products that are not sold at shop.LEGO.com
    Because there are so many and there is no way to maintain comprehensive lists we do not include items manufactured under license that have a LEGO logo on them unless they are sold at shop.LEGO.com.

  • Games produced under license, regardless of whether they contain bricks or not
    Such as the RoseArt games from the 1990s.

  • Unofficial LEGO brick-based products that do not have a LEGO logo on the packaging
    Kits produced by LEGO Certified Professionals, custom kits etc.

  • Children's story, activity and comic books, whether published under license or not
    e.g. Scholastic story books and DK sticker books.

  • Books published in languages other than English

  • Compilation books/digests
    e.g. those published by DK that merely republish content that has appeared in earlier books.

  • Clone brands
    Obviously!

However, there will be exceptions when we choose to add items that would otherwise be out of scope. For example, Scholastic books that come with an exclusive and distinctive minifgure, or interesting items sold in brand stores but not online, e.g. LEGO House exclusive key chains.


So, if we abide by these rules the BrickLink sets are definitely out of scope.

However, because they are sanctioned by LEGO and the company has been directly involved in bringing them to market, I will be adding them. Also, there is a lot of interest in them here and I feel it's the right thing to do as a courtesy to the BrickLink community and the sets' designers.

LCP kits will remain out of scope and I will not entertain requests to add them. They differ primarily to the BrickLink sets in that they are not sanctioned by LEGO and the company has had no involvement other than supplying LCPs with the bricks.

I am not exactly sure which theme / subtheme I will assign to them but it's likely to be Miscellaneous / BrickLink AFOL Designer Programme, and they will be placed in the 'Other' Category. I welcome your input on this.

39 comments on this article

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By in United States,

I was against them being added, but I will abide by your good judgment as you haven’t let us down before and in the scope of life it doesn’t super matter.

And plus, it’s Huw’s website. Huw could delete all other sets and just have Clikets if he wanted to. Oh wait...

It’s good that we have established rules now though to avoid confusion later on.

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By in United States,

It will be good to have BrickLink sets in the database.

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By in United States,

Sounds great, Huw! Thanks for the info (and now I understand about the Rose Art games)!!!

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By in New Zealand,

A wise choice, Huw! I think "Other" suits them perfectly. As I said in earlier comments, LEGO's input makes the Bricklink sets a special case. The depth of involvement of TLG makes these as close to an official set as you can get without actually being so. Definitely different to, say, the various LCP Cathedrals (for example).

Thanks for actually giving this some consideration. And thanks for the final decision!

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By in United States,

Well, I have one request. On Brickset there are links allowing any user to view listings for sets on Bricklink, Amazon, and ebay. There is one thing you don't have on it: You don't have something that lets us get the sets for free!

FREE IS MY FAVORITE PRICE!!!!!!!

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By in United Kingdom,

Free is my favourite price too!!!

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By in Romania,

@Star Wars Fan. Life can give you a lot of things for free, but you don't have an important link on your profile : the "Contact" one.

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By in Greece,

I agree on your take as BL and the voted "moc/sets" are something not easy to bypass.
And now we reach the focal point: MUJI SETS!!! I don't believe how something so innovative stopped to exist!!!

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By in United States,

You could add an unofficial category or Bricklink category.

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By in United States,

Thanks, Huw! I love how transparent and responsive you are, you do a fantastic job with this site!

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By in United States,

Good choice my friend! It will be interesting how many of the 2500 of each set winds up in the hands of Brickset users!

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By in United States,

This is great information! It is definitely a good thing to know where to draw the stud. :)

Could we also get an article that provides the part requirements as well since there are several sets that have a pretty low part percentage rate?

I prefer looking at sets and parts here versus anywhere else, and then if the situation requires it, I'll go to the other site(s) to do the rest of the process. (i.e. purchasing)

Or if the requirements are set for the parts, is there anything that we can do to fill in the "missing" unlisted parts that the sets show?

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By in United States,

Wouldn't have bothered me either way, but I appreciate the transparency.
I do think LEGO is only going to do more of these unconventional ventures/collaborations, though, so I'd keep that in mind.

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By in Australia,

where do the video games fit in because you have added some of them, but not others?

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By in United States,

Thank you for the prompt and well-reasoned clarification. Much as I'd like LCP sets to be catalogued somewhere on the site I certainly respect your decision not to, and I appreciate the distinction between them and the Bricklink sets--as well as your decision to include the Bricklink sets on Brickset!

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By in United Kingdom,

@blokey9, Non-brick based products that are not sold at shop.LEGO.com.

So, if they are sold there they are added, if not, not. Same for DVDs unless they come with a cover mounted exclusive minifigure.

Basically, I ask myself, 'would collectors of brick-based LEGO products be interested in this item?' If the answer is no then it almost certainly won't be added.

After all this is BrickSET.com, not LEGO-branded-product-database.com

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By in Italy,

Good show, Huw. You're making Brickset more and more reliable.

Thank you.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great news! Excellent decision Huw. :-)

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By in Germany,

Thanks for these insights!

I thought a lot about that categorising stuff and came to the conclusion that there cannot be a perfect way to tackle it, due to the sometimes confusing history of these things. Also one has to take into consideration different priorities of certain interest groups (at least I think).

However I think the way Brickset handles it currently is a quite good way to do so and the majority of the community is probably well accustomed to it. Not including unofficial items (no matter how good they might be) is something I appreciate here.

However, while on the topic, I am sceptical about the inclusion of so-called 'Virtual Product Collections' - as far as I am aware these are practically just LEGO [email protected] price deal offers, so are no 'real' (thus 'virtual') collectable thing at all (unlike special box Value Packs for example, that at least have a unique box and mostly a unique number). Same might be considerable for unreleased Value Packs (very common around 2004-2008) that were probably added automatically from Lego's database.

Categorising 'Sub-Themes' is a completely different and much much more complicated situation I guess... :)

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By in United States,

@Huw How do you stylize Brickset's name? In your comment, you wrote "BrickSET.com". That parallels the bold SET in the logo, but everywhere else on the site is written as Brickset.

I decided to take a trip through history lane on the Internet Archive. The first logo was "BrickSet", but was shortly changed to "Brickset" and has remained as such ever since. Early versions of the site used BrickSet, Brickset, Brickset.com, and brickset.com inconsistently. Now, it seems to be standardized to Brickset.

Here are the significant changes over time that I found:

Apr 2001: "BrickSet Online LEGO reference" with green 1x1 plate and blue background in logo
https://web.archive.org/web/20010402070741/http://brickset.com/
Nov 2001: "Brickset LEGO Set Reference" with green 1x1 plate in logo
https://web.archive.org/web/20011127233729/http://www.brickset.com:80/
May 2005: "Brickset" with red, green, and yellow 1x1 plates in logo
https://web.archive.org/web/20050516005502/http://www.brickset.com:80/
Jul 2005: Blue page background
https://web.archive.org/web/20050726010701/http://www.brickset.com:80/
Mar 2007: Page fills screen
https://web.archive.org/web/20070404105212/http://www.brickset.com:80/
Jan 2009: Brick shaped tabs
https://web.archive.org/web/20090127005209/http://brickset.com:80/
Sep 2009: "Brickset LEGO set guide" logo
https://web.archive.org/web/20090927205647/http://www.brickset.com:80/
Apr 2011: Logo changed to "Brickset: LEGO® set guide" HTML text
https://web.archive.org/web/20110408100429/http://www.brickset.com:80/
Feb 2014: Site and logo redesign
https://web.archive.org/web/20140204201340/http://brickset.com:80/
Nov 2015: Logo redesign to current
https://web.archive.org/web/20151124020732/http://brickset.com:80/
Nov 2016: Page width reduced
https://web.archive.org/web/20161116024603/http://brickset.com/

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By in United States,

That's helpful, Huw. And I thought Brickset included everything. Lol.

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By in New Zealand,

Theres a few KeyLights which are missing from your database. I have 4 or 5 recent Star Wars ones which are not shown here.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Autin, ''Virtual Product Collections' are only added because it's easier to do so than to not to, because they are added automatically.

I run a query every so often to remove those that are not on sale any more.

@Astrodroid, it's Brickset. I just emphasised the SET to make a point in the comment above!

And, see https://brickset.com/article/9853/brickset-through-the-ages for more history.

@Virgilnz, if they were not sold at [email protected] they don't go in. Sorry...

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By in France,

Sounds right to me

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By in Serbia,

Hm. This, to me, is not different enough from the LCP sets to add to the DB. However, since so many people have requested it, it would make sense - it's obviously in demand.

My bigger issue is with the categories. Many sets are now categorized in category X for traditional purposes (e.g. Advanced Models) even though TLG now treats those sets as another theme. Perhaps it's time to refactor the DB model to support multiple categories per item?

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By in Germany,

Thanks @Huw for allowing the Bricklink sets into the database. I have pre-ordered "The LEGO story" and look forward to seeing it here on Brickset as part of my collection.
Thumbs up!

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By in Netherlands,

"However, [...] I will be adding them."

If boundaries are so easily crossed, why even bother having them in the first place...?

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By in United Kingdom,

Rules are made to be broken!

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By in Puerto Rico,

Thanks for this.

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By in Lithuania,

Sadly, I'm a bit disappointed by decision to add BL sets. Rules are rules and need to be followed.

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By in United States,

I'm glad the AFOL designer sets will be added in general given that LEGO is making it possible by manufacturing and outright endorsing it.
However, I'm a bit offended that on a website filled with adults who like kid's toys HUW is assuming that certain books and such are "not of interest to AFOLs." I actually enjoy reading the Ninjago graphic novels, which are pretty well done, and some of the activity books are cheap ways to get
uncommon minfigures. I'm not asking them to be added to the database, I just think it's ironic that an Adult Fan Of Lego would assume other AFOLs would not recognize different AFOLs have different interests.

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By in United States,

I know I've asked this before, but I wish you'd reconsider your stance on video games and add all Lego video games regardless of whether or not they're sold on shop.lego.com. You make an exception for books, including unofficial ones, but licensed Lego video games are arguably even more high-profile and important to the overall Lego sphere of influence. Not to mention video games have a collector's appeal just like Lego sets do, so I think a lot of collectors using the database would appreciate it.

I know you're trying to keep the scope of the site in check, but considering you've already got one foot in the door with a bunch of video games in the database already, I don't think rounding out the video game entries would be much of an overreach at all.

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By in United Kingdom,

It's not so much not wanting to add them but not having the information and inclination to do so.

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By in Germany,

Perhaps everyone who is not happy with the way things are handled at Brickset should hold on a minute and (re)consider this:

Huw and his team are maintaining this whole site more or less as a labor of love!
They don't get paid for it, quite the contrary, they invest their time, effort and money in order to maintain, update and improve Brickset and its invaluable database.

I for one am constantly amazed at how great a resource Brickset is and how it has evolved and improved over the years. I have said it in the past and am going to reiterate it here: imho Brickset is the best resource for LEGO fans on the entire Internet. Period.
Plus, in conjunction with its tie-ins to Rebrickable and Bricklink, it makes for a perfect all-round experience for all things brick.

Just my two cents, but I would wager to guess quite a lot of AFOLs think similarly.

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By in Belgium,

@AustinPowers - Huw and his team (a handful of whom are actually employees) may be doing something they love by working on Brickset but they do indeed get paid for their time and effort! The company behind Brickset has net assets in excess of £500k (€440k, $565k), an increase of almost £100k over the previous year. That's without factoring in wages/Director drawings/costs/etc.

I love this site and Huw and his team deserve all the rewards they receive from it - they've built a community here that's able to earn the company revenue for doing nothing other than something they'd already be doing. Everybody wins.

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By in Denmark,

^Yes, Huw build a successful business - congrats!

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By in Germany,

Taking up the Bricklink Sets is the best descission, in particular lego itself is involved.

This site is from AFOLs for AFOLs and the sets are from AFOLS for AFOLS too...So everything right

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By in United States,

As one of the fan designers for ADP I think this decision builds the AFOL community which Huw and his colleagues have been a big part of over the years. LEGO was an active part of ADP from the first workshop that I was in last year. They partnered with BrickLink to create the program as a 60th anniversary event; LEGO designers were part of the team that reviewed and improved the sets in Billund; LEGO is fulfilling the bricks. Recognizing these sets in Brickset encourages LEGO to collaborate with the AFOL community in future, which is good for all of us. Thanks Huw!

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By in Germany,

Many thanks Huw, a very wise and supportive decision to include ADP Sets to the database. It is a great help to have all owned sets on brickset for collection management accuracy.
I agree to what Galaktek said. In some way it is similar to LEGO Factory theme where LDD was used and LEGO produced the sets themselves. ADP will hopefully open the eyes of TLG and show them the importance of the AFOL community and some forgotten themes like Wild West and Classic Castles.

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