When I started collecting, and I'm not talking about just playing cards, I mean collecting in general, I always wanted to catalog what I had. The more detailed the better, I'm not sure why, I think it's just the type of person/collector I am. I like glancing over images and updating details to items I still have questions on, it's fun and part of the process in my opinion. I don't think I'm too far off base because as I see new collectors join the community by joining a forum or Facebook group, the question seems to eventually come up...."How do you keep track of your collection?"
Of course we aren't all like that, some of us don't care about keeping records of our collection, some of us do, but can't come up with more than a list in a binder. Yes you can make a fancy Excel spreadsheet, but even that can remain pretty basic unless you know how to use some of the Excel functions. There are also some collecting programs out there that can be "Adapted" to work with playing cards, but for the most part they cost something.
So not too long ago Rhuaridh Clark, a website developer by day and card collector by night, started building a Data Base for himself to catalog and organize his collection. The "Idea" kind of morphed and grew through sharing it with some friends and became the Playing Card Data Base (PCDB). The PCDB has been growing quite well, it is a project driven by collectors and completely free and simple to use.
It's quite the complete system for an individual without the time or, i mean no disrespect by this, or talent to build a "Catalog" of there own. The data base is stored in a "List" form, meaning a list of items available in the data base, as well as in "Scan" form, which is a scan of the Tuck box of any given deck.
When you 1st sign up, you will have your own "Page" where any decks you select to "Add" to your account will be displayed. The nice feature in my opinion is that each item added has a few "Collecting" bullet points that can help you. Things like, "Owned" indicating the quantity of a given item in your collection is pretty nice, but the addition of a "Wish List" function as well as a "Trade" list gives the PCDB and its users an invaluable tool for building their collection.
I had a chance to pick Rhu's brain a bit about how this went from a personal tool to a full scale user powered cataloging system and here's some of the things we talked about.
How did the PCDB come to be?
I originally set the website up just so I had somewhere to organise my own collection, I posted about this on the unitedcardists forums in September 2013.
After I showed everyone my own collection, I had a few requests to extend the site to support other peoples collections. After a few months I put the needed features in place, and now I spend any scraps of free time I can find to build new features to help people share their collections online.
Since then the project has had a huge level of support from everyone on the UC forums. The main driving force behind the website has to be ecNate though, he is always quick to give me a friendly nudge when the development on the site is getting a little too slow!
What are some of the goals of the PCDB?
If I'm being honest I couldn't say what the goals of the PCDB are. While I'm currently responsible for building the website I feel like I gave up control of the website a long time ago, this is very much a community driven project, and I always listen to them for new features, even if it does take me a little time to implement them!
The one goal I am certain of is that we're all working towards categorising all of the decks we own, which is definitely not a small task.
My only conditions are that the PCDB is not for profit, purely for fun and will always have any data collected openly and freely available to everyone.
Of course, that hasn't stopped me introducing an optional paid membership feature, where 100% of any donation will go directly to a charity through justgiving. We're currently supporting Oxfam, and I hope this will be a successful feature going forward so we can support a new charity every year.
Since the PCDB went public so to speak, how many images, scans, information and time has gone into it?
We recently celebrated the first birthday of the site by rather embarrassingly forgetting to pay for the domain renewal! During that time though we have had an explosion of content for the website, at the time of writing this we have over 1300 unique decks listed, over 1100 of these decks have had the front of their tuck cases scanned and we have had a total of 2753 images uploaded.
It's definitely come a long way from when I first uploaded my small collection of less than 150 decks, my main challenge just now is updating the website categorisation to accommodate this influx of playing cards! Every day I see new decks that I had never even hear of before, but luckily the community is already working with me to help come up with the most efficient way to restructure the site.
I want to thank Rhu for his time and effort with the Playing Card Data Base, if your looking for a simple yet "Complete" solution to keeping track of your collection, its growth and "Needs" I couldn't recommend the PCDB any more if I tried. It's simple and most of all, completely free. The PCDB is always looking for "Contributors" so if you looking to help, give Rhu a shout via the PCDB site.
Now go build your personal Playing Card Data Base!!