Most collectors keep records of their acquisitions. Information like acquisition date, price and the condition of the object is relevant to keep. A Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers spreadsheet is for many collectors the obvious solution for this task. A spreadsheet is easy to use and has plenty of options for filtering and sorting. However, it gets trickier when you want to enrich content with images, extensive text, and hyperlinks. A spreadsheet has its limitations here. Museums use advanced Collection Management Systems to manage and publish their collection. These software solutions are expensive and beyond the reach of most collectors. Serious collectors should therefore take a look at Recollector.
Recollector is an application developed by MapRecord Publications. The company is founded in 2002 by Jeremy Pool, a passionate collector himself. Recollector fills the gap between simple spreadsheet management and expensive Collection Management Systems. The application is easy to use but has many options to customise. Collections can be exported to different file formats or published to a website or mobile app.
The basis of Recollector are Collections. A collection can be created from a template, but also by importing a CSV or Excel file. There are standard templates available for books, photographs, maps etc. The great thing is that a template is just a starting point. It’s possible to rename or delete fields and new fields can be added as desired. This allows the collection to be tailor-made to your own requirements. The application supports the management of multiple collections based on different templates.
The information of a collection is saved in a XML file and can be stored locally but also on a cloud disk, such as iCloud. This allows the collection to be managed from multiple computers.
Collections can be viewed as a list, an image library or as a single item. Every new record requires an identifier which must be unique in a collection. The identifier can be generated by the application. The user interface to add new items is generated by the field definitions of the template.
A very useful feature is the ability to define picklists to standardise input.
Another interesting feature is hyperlinks. Different types of hyperlinks are supported. It’s possible to link to another item within a collection but also to an item in a different collection. Other hyperlinks are footnotes and links to webpages or multimedia files. With linking it’s possible to add an extensive set of references to your collection.
There are many options to sort and filter the collection and to determine which fields should be shown in the list view. With Subsets it’s possible to filter on specific fields to define queries as “acquisitions in 2021” or “stereoscopes for the 45 x 107 mm format”. Subsets can be saved and accessed as shortcuts.
Export and Recollector app
Recollector offers various options for exporting and publishing collections. Export to Excel, CSV or PDF is supported. It’s also possible to generate webpages of a collection. The web layout is very basic, so don’t expect a beautiful styled website.
For many collectors it can be useful to carry their collection in a mobile app. Recollector app versions for Apple and Android devices are available. The easiest way to import collections into the app is by using Dropbox. The mobile apps are only intended to show collections, it’s not possible to add or change items.
Recollector is available for both Mac OS X (10.9 or later) and Windows (Windows 7 or later). The app version is available for iPhone, iPad and Android phone and tablet. Recollector is very fair priced and can be purchased for $49. It’s a one time purchase with no annual update or maintenance fees. A free trial version is available.