Recollector User’s Guide


Modifying a Collection’s Fields & Specifying the Image Directory


The Modify Fields dialog box lets you make changes to the definition of the fields in your collection, as well as make changes to the definition of the Image Directory, to the currency and/or measurement units, or to the name of the collection.

This dialog box will appear when you pick Modify Fields or Image Directory from the Edit menu of the collection window.



The main list in this window shows the names of the currently defined fields in the collection database, with the corresponding field type shown in square brackets.  In addition to the fields shown, every database definition includes an identification number field. This field, whose default name is ID #, cannot be deleted, or its type changed, but it can be renamed, by clicking on the button in the upper right-hand section of the dialog.  For example, if you are cataloging a coin collection, you might want the identification number field to be named Coin No..


For collections that you have newly created from a template, the fields shown in this dialog will be the ones specified by the chosen template.  The example shown in the illustration above is based on the “book” template; other templates provide different sets of fields.


All data fields have one of the following eight data types:


·         Short text – Text that is quite short (typically just a few words at most).

·         One-line text – Text that is longer than short text, but that will still normally fit on a single line.

·         Multi-line text – Longer text, which may span any number of lines.

·         Currency – Numeric values, in the currency specified by the collection’s currency choice.

·         Dimension – Numeric values, in the units specified by the collection’s measurement-unit choice.

·         Number – Numeric values (for anything other than currency or dimension values).


Notes on data types:



Adding a Field


You can add as many fields as you want to your database definition; there is no limit.  To create a field, click the “Add a New Field” button.  This will bring up the following dialog box:



Enter a name for the new field and choose a field type (see the description of the various data types earlier on this page). If you want, you can also specify a default value for this field.  The default value is only used when adding new records to your collection.  The data-entry window that comes up when you add a new record normally has all of the data-entry fields empty to begin with.  However, any field that has a default value will have that value pre-filled in the data-entry window.  When you have specified a name, type, and (if you want to specify one) a default value, click OK.  The new field will be added at the end of the list.  The order of the fields, as shown in the Modify Fields dialog, does not necessarily reflect the order in which the fields are displayed when viewing your collection.  The display order of fields is controlled from the collection viewer window, and is described in Using the Collection.  The order shown here, in the Modify Fields dialog, is of no real importance, and just reflects the order in which the fields were initially defined when creating or modifying your collection database.


Note: The field name that you specify will be shown both in the List view (at the top of the column that contains that field’s data) and in the Item Details view (each field’s data value is shown preceded by the field name).  If you wish to eliminate the display of a particular field name in the Item Details view, you can accomplish this by enclosing the field name in parentheses, here in the Modify Fields dialog.  For example, if you name an image field “(Photo)”, then the image thumbnail will be displayed in the Item Details view without the name “Photo” preceding it.  Omitting the field name in the Item Details view is particularly useful for image fields, since often a collection record’s image is self-explanatory – it’s the picture of the item – and there is no need to waste space in the Item Details view by also including a field name with the picture. Parenthesizing a field name also prevents the display of the field name for non-image fields, though this is less likely to be useful.  If a field name is suppressed in the Item Details view, because its name is parenthesized, the display of the field name will also be suppressed in printed reports and in generated web site pages.


If you later want to change either the name or the data type of an existing field, select it from the list on the Modify Fields dialog and click Modify.  The program will display the same dialog box as that shown above, but it will be filled in for the current name and type of the field. Make any desired modifications and click OK.


To delete an existing field, select it from the list and click Delete.  If you delete a field from your database after you have added at least one data record, any data that had already been entered for the field you are deleting will be lost when the database is next saved.  You will be warned of this when you are asked to confirm the field deletion.


The Image Directory (for collections with digital images or audio/video clips)


If you have digital images of items in your collection (as most collections do), or audio or video clip files associated with items in your collection, and they are mostly located in a single directory on your computer, specify that directory as the Image Directory.  There are a number of benefits to placing all of your collection’s images (along with any audio or video clips, if you have them) into a single directory:


·         Recollector will help you out when you ask to associate an image (or audio/video clip) with a record in your database: When browsing to locate the image file, the program will start your browsing right in the Image Directory folder, so you will avoid having to navigate through your disk’s folders to locate the desired image file.

·         Your collection will become easily portable.  To move your collection (to a different location on your computer or to a different computer), you will only need to move two objects: the collection file and the Image Directory folder.

·         You protect against accidentally assigning the same filename to two different images for your collection.  If all your images are in one folder, all the image files necessarily will have distinct filenames.  This is particularly important if you plan to use the Recollector App (for Android smartphones or for iPhone/iPod/iPad), since the presence of duplicate filenames could result in incorrect matching of data records and images when looking at your collection on your smartphone.


The Image Directory folder that you define can be placed anywhere on your computer’s hard drive.  However, we strongly recommend that you place the Image Directory in the same folder that holds your collection file.  The following diagram shows an example of this recommended arrangement:



In the example shown above, the collection file (ShellCollection.xml) is located in the C:\Collections\Shells folder.  The Image Directory (the folder named Images) is also located in the C:\Collections\Shells folder.  By placing the Image Directory folder into the same folder that contains the collection file, Recollector is able to locate images via their location relative to the location of the collection file.  The primary advantage of this is that it guarantees that your entire collection can be relocated (to a different location or disk on your computer, to a movable USB thumb drive, or to a different computer) without having to make any changes to your collection.  Consequently, we strongly recommend that you follow this guideline, and, when defining the specification for your collection’s Image Directory, the program makes it easy for you to do this.


When you Click on the Specify Image Directory button (or if you are creating a new collection and you choose to specify the Image Directory as the last step of the set-up process), the following dialog box will appear:



Above the boxed area in this window you will see the collection’s currently specified Image Directory, or, as in the screen shot above, you will see [no image directory specified].  You can either choose an existing directory to be your Image Directory, or you can ask the program to create a new directory for this purpose.  As mentioned earlier in this section, it is strongly recommended (though not required) that your collection’s Image Directory be located in the same folder as the collection file.  As shown in the image above, the parent directory for the Image Directory is initially set to follow this recommendation (note the label: [collection file directory]).  The program is also suggesting the name Images for the new directory it will create.  Edit this field if you want your Image Directory folder to have a different name. There is nothing special about the name Images; an Image Directory can have any name you want.


You can use the Choose button to select any existing folder as the parent directory for a new Image Directory folder.  If you choose a parent directory that is not the directory (or sub-directory thereof) that the collection file resides in, then the full pathname form of the directory specification will be shown and used.


If you want to use an existing directory as your Image Directory, click the Specify an existing directory radio button.  You can then click the Choose button to navigate to, and choose, the desired directory. 


Additional Notes on Images and the Image Directory:



Notes on Audio and Video clips:


Recollector uses the Windows Media Player to play audio or video files.  Therefore you can include links to files in any media format that is supported by the version of Windows Media Player running on your computer.  Recollector uses the filename extension of files to determine whether a file placed in an image/audio/video field is an audio or a video file.  In general, all common audio and video file types (such as .avi, .mov, .mp3, .mpg, .wav) are supported by the Windows Media Player, though the particular set of supported file types varies somewhat among the different versions of the Windows Media Player.


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