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(a)ndy

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Reply with quote  #1 
Normally I keep track of what I read in a journal. However, I have just come across this book tracking spreadsheet:
https://bookriot.com/2018/12/17/2019-book-tracking-spreadsheet/

It is a general purpose google doc that you are free to make a copy of to use yourself. It got me thinking as to whether it would be useful to customise to keep track of my magic reading.

While too late to have ready for a 2019 start I thought I may trial it over the next year and perhaps make a magic version available to our magicians for 2020. I would imagine removing many of the columns and changing categories to cards, coins, mentalism, stage, illusion, etc.

If anyone else thinks this useful then perhaps we can brainstorm ideas to make it useful.

One of the ideas I had was to provide a reading summary page that we could share with each other somehow. It is always nice to find others that have been reading the same books that I have.

I may also do a similar thing for online lectures (penguin, at the table) and DVDs/video downloads. I liked the column that said DNF, I'm guilty of not finishing books and lectures and see this as a monitoring tool to keep myself accountable before moving on to the next great thing[smile]
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #2 
Interesting idea! Personally I would find myself quickly burdened by the necessity of logging in and filling out all of the sections listed on the example sheet. Sheesh! That's a lot to keep up with. For the spreadsheet-savvy and slightly OCD though, this appears a great tool. At least from my perspective as a highly disorganized person. I would be interested in hearing how this works out for you, or anyone else who adopts the idea.

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #3 
Why not just make an Excel Worksheet using some of the categories listed in the one referenced above? Most are obvious.

I've been planning on creating a Spreadsheet for my magic library. One important feature would be a method of locating the book e.g. shelf X and an approximate distance from a reference point. I have a ton of books, notes etc so it would be a monumental project for me. If I entered 10 books a day it would be manageable. Maybe I'm talking myself into doing it... good new year's resolution!

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Sibex

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Reply with quote  #4 
There are also some excellent cataloguing apps you can get now. On Android, there is a cracker called Book Catalogue. I'm sure there are some for Apple too. I do, however, like the idea of a spreadsheet as it is so flexible.
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Jabs Mckee

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Reply with quote  #5 
I really like this topic and where it is going!  What kind of categories would you put in it?  Would you make it like Conjuring Archive and put summaries of each trick?  Would you list what moves are necessary to complete the trick?  Perhaps personal feeling for each effect?
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DJ

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Reply with quote  #6 
I use Google Sheets and Google Docs to track tricks or ideas that I like from the books that I read. I find it convenient because it is accessible/editable from my computer and phone.
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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
Why not just make an Excel Worksheet using some of the categories listed in the one referenced above? Most are obvious.

I've been planning on creating a Spreadsheet for my magic library. One important feature would be a method of locating the book e.g. shelf X and an approximate distance from a reference point. I have a ton of books, notes etc so it would be a monumental project for me. If I entered 10 books a day it would be manageable. Maybe I'm talking myself into doing it... good new year's resolution!

Mike


Some time after converting all my magic VHS tapes to digital, I did such a spreadsheet. I don't have near the books you probably have, Mike … so I have a column that tells me the 'profile' of the book -- small paperback, large hardback, etc. For me, that helps me know where to find it.

Being able to then sort by author or name is great.

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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabs Mckee
I really like this topic and where it is going!  What kind of categories would you put in it?  Would you make it like Conjuring Archive and put summaries of each trick?  Would you list what moves are necessary to complete the trick?  Perhaps personal feeling for each effect?


For non-book stuff I have a very large number of local web pages all based off a template that are all different sorts of categories and indexed various ways. Synopsis, sometimes pictures of the layout of the cards front and back, all sorts of things.

Were I to begin this today, I'd do it much differently, but I started this 'back in the day' when I was just ramping up in magic and also the 'new' web technologies (html and css). The inevitable happened and what I have is too large to re-do as a database application in my lifetime, so I've just continued.

I did write a Windows 10 database app for tracking effects in books and videos of authors I follow that are still alive. It helps to avoid doing a snap buy of an instant download that I already have in a book and it might be a slightly different name or I've forgotten about it.

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #9 
Don't forget about the ability to put hyperlinks in spreadsheet cells. You can link to a video, a word file, a pdf etc. You can also link to YouTube, Vimeo etc. 

For example you could have a column called Info which would contain a link to a Word document. The Word doc could have hyperlinks to videos, particular tricks in the book that you like etc.

This way the spreadsheet is uncluttered but still has a simple link to a sheet with all sorts of info and links on it. You could even have a link to another spreadsheet which contained the index of the book and links to videos you made helping you remember how to set up and perform the tricks you like. 

I may have to start to work on this...

Mike
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(a)ndy

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Reply with quote  #10 
I have been using a google docs spreadsheet to keep track of my books. Like many of you I have a lot of books.
magic books ss.jpg 
I like Mike's idea of hyperlinking to a separate notes document where I can add info, hyperlinks, links to videos, etc. I don't want to keep the location of the books in my spreadsheet as I find this onerous to maintain. Instead I just rely on trying my best to keep similar books on my shelf organised. Similar to Dave I have notes to make some of the books easier to find, especially booklets that don't have the title printed on the spine like small a5 booklets, or larger spiral bound publications.

The reason for my original post is that I don't have any record of which books I have read and how much, just what I keep in my memory. What I liked about the spreadsheet in the original post is that there is a separate 'tab' that has charts of reading statistics. It would simply be interesting at the end of the year to reflect on what and how much I have read during the year. I don't really want to keep reading statistics in my book list spreadsheet, but perhaps it isn't a bad idea to add a column or two to do so.

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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
Don't forget about the ability to put hyperlinks in spreadsheet cells. You can link to a video, a word file, a pdf etc. You can also link to YouTube, Vimeo etc. 

For example you could have a column called Info which would contain a link to a Word document. The Word doc could have hyperlinks to videos, particular tricks in the book that you like etc.

This way the spreadsheet is uncluttered but still has a simple link to a sheet with all sorts of info and links on it. You could even have a link to another spreadsheet which contained the index of the book and links to videos you made helping you remember how to set up and perform the tricks you like. 

I may have to start to work on this...

Mike


Oh boy... if I had thought of that years ago, my archiving process would be quite different.

That link idea resolves the clutter as you said, and sorting/filtering is automatic... dang!

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MagickDon

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson
Interesting idea! Personally I would find myself quickly burdened by the necessity of logging in and filling out all of the sections listed on the example sheet. Sheesh! That's a lot to keep up with. For the spreadsheet-savvy and slightly OCD though, this appears a great tool. At least from my perspective as a highly disorganized person. I would be interested in hearing how this works out for you, or anyone else who adopts the idea.

Av


I sort of agree with Anthony.
But it would all depend on what you want to get out of it, which can be either a simple list to a complex program requiring a lot of data input with a multitude of data points and cross references. It can really become a bear to deal with which, over time, will become abandoned or very out of date. I have simple catalogs of my movie and music collections, which have worked for my needs (in MS Word). Just determining what categories you want to develop would be different for different people. If there are links, then they will all have to be maintained. Also, if you have a large collection, it may be too ominous of a project to do properly.

I think that this is a worthwhile project to discuss here at TMF. There already may be some of our members that have a program that they are using. Also, I am sure there are some really computer literate members that could give advice to those of us less experienced. Just the sharing of ideas could help many of us achive our goals.



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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #13 
ChefDon...

The only way any archiving method does you any good is if you keep it up. Take if from one that has made this a process...

Any time I try to find something and it takes me too long, I analyze why that was, and try to augment my system to include a new way to handle that case.

For example, I got wrapped around the post looking for something I'd worked on in a book, so I started an index called "In Books". I didn't try to go back in time, but from that point forward anything that I really liked and wanted to keep notes on in a book I was reading got an entry. By Author and by Title.

I've not mentioned how I do this very much exactly because of what you said: It'll be different for different people.

I think anyone starting on this adventure would be wise to give Mike's spreadsheet of links a dance. You can sort and query spreadsheet data in amazing ways, and his idea would separate the actual data from the link method -- that's a place where my concept is seriously flawed... but I'm too far gone to start anew.

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MagickDon

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Campbell


The only way any archiving method does you any good is if you keep it up. Take if from one that has made this a process...



I could not agree more! It takes a firm commitment to the project, no matter what it is, to obtain success and excellence.

Don

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Don

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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #15 
I created a database for my magic using LibreOffice.  It contains a table called "Inventory" which lists all the "things" - physical and digital - that I own.  This table contains a field that lists the nature of the thing ("Book", "DVD", "Trick", etc), a field for category ("Cards", "Mental", etc.)  and other bits of descriptive info.  The values I can enter in the fields are not limited to preset choices.  For example if I get a new trick that is all about bananas I can just make its category "Fruit" even if I have never used that category before.  

There is another table called "Items" in which I enter things in books, dvds, lectures that I want to be able to find again.  In this table I give the source and author of the item, its title, category, a short description, and bits of useful information such as how many volunteers are involved, the size of audience for which it is appropriate, whether it requires a table, whether it is impromptu, etc.  Whenever I finish reading a new book and flagging the items in it that I want to work on, I add them to this table.   Yes, it takes a while.

There is another table called "Performance" in which I list the details of performances, including (when possible) the names of the people in the audience.  This is particularly useful for me as a hobbyist: I tend to perform a trick or two at gatherings of family and friends.  If we are having dinner with a couple we haven't seen for a while, I can look up what I performed last time we saw them and put together a new set.  This table also lets me make notes about what worked well, what didn't, and notes for future improvement.

There are several other tables that support these three main ones.  For example, there is a table that gives an abbreviation for each book title. 

Within the LibreOffice database tool I have created queries (so for example, I can quickly list all things by Steve Beam in my collection, or all performance items that have a "ready to perform" status, or all books in my collection I haven't read yet) and input forms (so I can quickly enter all information about a recent performance, etc.)

All of the tables and query results can be exported as spreadsheets if I need to transfer the information to a different format.

I've been developing this database for quite a few years and it has gone through several generations.  The LibreOffice database tool is a bit rough around the edges and the documentation is not always helpful.  There have been a couple of occasions when the program crashed and I had to restore the database from backups (I now do frequent backups of the files).  I'm not sure I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't enjoy digging into the inner workings of database software.  But it has a big plus: it's free!
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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
There have been a couple of occasions when the program crashed and I had to restore the database from backups (I now do frequent backups of the files). 


That sounds great, Robin... Something like what I have only with all the things I wish mine had all built in 😉

I hadn't mentioned backups, but boy -- that's important! And I do that religiously.

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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by (a)ndy
Normally I keep track of what I read in a journal. However, I have just come across this book tracking spreadsheet:
https://bookriot.com/2018/12/17/2019-book-tracking-spreadsheet/

It is a general purpose google doc that you are free to make a copy of to use yourself. It got me thinking as to whether it would be useful to customise to keep track of my magic reading.

(Stuff delete)



As a book tracking spreadsheet this product certainly would work. As others noted a similar tool could be developed using other spreadsheet programs Excel or Open Office spreadsheets some other data base software like Access.

A couple of other products which have been discussed are Evernote and OneNote. I previously used Evernote free version but the upload limits which were quickly met. As I already have an MS Office Account I switched to OneNone and it works quite well to organize tricks, books, dvds etc. Information like physical storage locations or specific book pages or dvd chapters could easily be maintained.

I have gone through most of my videos and saved specific tricks or sleights as small .mp4 files and put them directly into OneNote. Also I save, edit and covert all YouTube videos that interest me to .mp4 files and embed those. Same with book passages, I scan and convert them to .pdf for my personal use. OneNote also allows me to simply add written comments or doodles using my ePen.

The advantage of storing video clips/photos and .pdf docs etc. as opposed to just links is that those items are available even when offline. Since they are also on the cloud you can reach them from any device and back ups are virtually automatic.

Like most things it really comes down to things we are most comfortable with.




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