Sunday, August 27, 2006

In Which I Become an Indexer

My husband collects comics. Avidly. They have their own room. They have little sleeves and acid-free cardboard to protect them. There is a system. By all rights, at 41 years old he should still be living in his mother's basement. Working at the comic shop and hitting comic cons on the weekend. He has friends like this. I scare them.

As a comic collector he gets magazines that no one has ever heard of except other comic collectors. Years ago he shared a letter to the editor in one of these magazines. It was written by a guy who obviously had no life outside his collection. It was all about how he could readily name each Herald of Galactus* and in which issue they first appeared because of his index. He built an index of all his comics. He gave examples of how useful his index was and at the end of each sentence proclaimed, "I'm an Indexer". My husband and I thought this was a real hoot and concocted a vivid picture of the indexer. We've referred to any obsessive, may live in his mom's basement kind of person, as an Indexer ever since.

Today, I became an Indexer.

Here's the thing. Besides being an incurable yarn stasher, I'm also a pattern hoarder, magazine buyer, book nut. I've always been a book nut but now I buy knitting books. Between books, magazines, and patterns I download/buy on the internet, I've literally got hundreds of patterns. I have to find some way to keep track of them so I've built an Excel spreadsheet to index them. I honestly considered buying MS Access to database them properly, but this seemed like going over the edge into a completely crazy, obsessed knitter place I'm unwilling to go at this moment. (Don't rule this out in the future however, I could go around the bend at any time) Now in the back of my mind I'm thinking about how I should index my stash too. I'm an Indexer. Heaven help me.

*This is a comic reference so completely obscure to anyone but Marvel collectors that I am frightened that I too can name several Heralds. Obviously I have let my husband influence me in strange and scary ways.

9 comments:

starbender said...

When he leaves 4 work...
hit e-bay! Sell...Sell...Sell
:]

Sheepish Annie said...

Having spent my morning working on a database at job #2, I found this intriguing. I, you see, am NOT an indexer. I have yarn and patterns scattered hither 'n yon and am immersed in a project at work that will probably drive me over the brink. This is not pretty...

Knittymama said...

Oh, I know what you mean with the books, patterns, and magazines. Before I learned to knit, I was actually tring to cut down on all my subscriptions and books (it was cooking stuff then) now I've just replaced it all with knitting, sewing, and parenting stuff. I'm just doomed, period!

Helen said...

Don't use Excel: you can sort with it, but it's not much use for searching. Access is pretty hopeless: there are many pieces of software that will do this for you much better. Google for "free library software". I'm out of touch with what new ones might be out there but if I come across something I'll get back to you. But do use something designed for the job, not some piece of office software which is meant for another purpose.

renee said...

Well, if it makes you feel any better, you've found a soul mate. Because I am also an indexer. I actually did set up a database in Access. You can download the results to Excel, and I've found it works just fine for my purposes. It was my New Year's Resolution a couple of years ago to input every magazine before I put it away. So I've got a stack of them waiting to be input. I haven't even tried to do the books or leaflets/print outs. The problem is that it takes time away from knitting to input the information. If you want to chat about what fields I put in my database, let me know. I am an indexer!

Helen said...

I may have been being a bit hard on Excel and Access. As a lapsed librarian, indexer and all-round information retriever, I may expect too much from them. But why don't you try http://www.librarything.com ? You could start by inputting your books, and then see if you still have the enthusiasm to do your patterns: I can't see any reason why you shouldn't input them and you might become a trailblazer. A friend of mine keeps track of her stash on Excel so that she can tell how many in and how many out over any period of time: I'm not quite sure that I would want to see that in harsh black and white :)

Chris said...

I use KnitAble (so that it's on my PDA) but must say I'm a bit frustrated with it right now, since I can't export my data from it. I REALLY want to import it into MySQL (I do SQL at work all day) so I can search better.

Tipper said...

What is it about comic book geeks and knitting geeks that make them so good for one another? My husband's a comic book/gaming geek, too. We had an idea to open a comic/gaming shop next to a knitting shop (preferably with shared space between them), which would feed both of our addictions and maybe get some guys out of their mothers' basements.

Anonymous said...

Helen, you haven't by chance ever worked in an elementary school lunchroom have you?