How to catalog your vinyl collection online

Learn how to catalog, appraise, and sell your records for free using Discogs.com

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The resurgence of vinyl as a preferred music format may baffle some who can't get enough of their Spotify subscription, but for those who get the experience of digging for records at your favorite local music store or prefer the warmer sounds provided by a vinyl LP, keeping track of your music collection is a priority.

If you're anything like John Cusack's character, the obsessive music-file, Rob Gordon from the movie "High Fidelity," you might categorize your albums chronologically one day and biographically the next.

If you want to keep better tabs on your 7-inches, 12-inches and whatever other rare shapes and sizes vinyl records are pressed in nowadays, Discogs is a very useful Web site for your music collection needs.

No need to limit your collection list to five records on Discogs Rob Gordon! Xiomara Blanco/CNET

To get started, go to Discogs.com and create an account. Discogs differs from other record-cataloging Web sites by having the largest and most accurate music database. The site's search function allows you to search for anything aside from users, so if your friends use it, make sure to exchange links or usernames.

Once your account is set up, you can begin cataloging your music. Instead of manually typing in an entry to your collection, you'll instead want to search the database for a particular release and then click the convenient arrow to the right of the release. From here you'll have three choices. You can add the release to either your collection list, want list, or another custom list you've created.

Once you've decided which list the release will be added to, you now have a few options. Discogs has individual pages for specific artists and bands. You can search for the artist's page and then go through their provided discography, selecting each release that you own. Also, from here, certain albums you need to complete your collection can be added to your want list. One of the coolest features is that you can set it so that the site notifies you when an item on your list goes on sale on the Discogs Web site.

Selecting the correct pressing is important if you plan on selling your records. Xiomara Blanco/CNET

If you're only adding a single album, the process is the same, just search by album, search for the correct media, find the correct pressing, and select "add to your collection." To make sure you're adding the correct pressing, look for the year and record label somewhere on the record sleeve or label.

Other detailed information you can include with each listed record are media condition, sleeve condition, and notes, in case you'd like to specify if you have an autographed copy or any other special feature.

(Newbie tip: When handling your vinyl records only touch the outer edges and the middle to hold them. Vinyl records scratch easier than CDs so do not touch the playing surface. Also, when storing your records keep them upright. Leaving them piled up on top of each other can damage the grooves of the record.)

You also have the ability to add a release to the database. If your favorite local band's new release isn't listed, you can submit the information and once verified as a legitimate release, it will be added to the database.

If you've recently contributed a verified release to Discog's database, you'll now have a new list in your profile entitled "contributed releases." So you can now pat yourself on the back for giving a record its wings. There's also a pending submissions category for the submitted records that have not been accepted into the database yet.

The color-coded bars to the left of the releases, on your collection list, gives you more information about the releases and makes lurking others' lists easier as the bars allow you to decipher what has recently been added. Yellow is a recently added submission, red means the entry needs changes, and grey means the entry was recently edited.

You can export your collection, want list, contributions, marketplace orders or inventory information to an CSV or XML file. If you're big on selling records, then being able to export that information can come in handy when going through your inventory.

Discog's quick-lister page makes selling your records a simple task. After you've listed the record you plan to sell on your collection, go to your list, select the album, and then click the "Sell your vinyl" button. Once directed to the next page, choose the media condition, sleeve condition (optional), comments, and price. If the album has been sold on the Web site before, it'll show the highest, lowest, average, and median prices the record has sold for. This makes deciding a selling price less of a crap shoot.

Discogs also makes it easy to dig for records in the comfort of your own home with an easy to use marketplace. You can add records to your cart and then pay for them using the seller's payment of choice. The extensive database that catalogs records by their specific release is useful for buying records as well because it makes it difficult to accidentally buy a repress if you wanted to purchase an original.

Discogs.com tip: You can also add almost every media to your collections lists including laser discs and HD-DVD.

Two alternative Web sites, Recordnerd.com and Deadformat.net, also allow you to list your record collection on the Internet, but Discogs is my personal favorite. I can add new records to my list with ease. All I need to do is sit at my computer with my records next to me to verify I'm selecting the right pressing and BOOM! It's added to my list with the rest of the information; no need for extra typing or spell checking. Check the chart below to see if Recordnerd or Deadformat might be a better fit for your personal vinyl record listing needs.

Deadformat.net Recordnerd.com Discogs.com
Buying options No Yes Yes
Selling options No Yes Yes
Trading options No Yes No
Database Yes No Yes
Manually entered listings Yes Yes No
Upload your own photos Yes No Provided though database
Want list Yes Yes Yes
Can list items other than vinyl Yes Yes Yes
Special features Active message board and news for fans of rock, punk, metal, and all subsequent genres Can use CSV files to update, mark "most wanted" records largest and most detailed database

For those who want to keep track of their vinyl records, Discogs or one of these options should help catalog your collection by your preferred category whether it be format, obscure genre, or even top break-ups. All of these Web sites share your lists publicly so whether you use it as a personal way to keep track of your collection or a form of bragging rights they're free to share or keep to yourself.

 

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