The Stamp Collector`s Data Base

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The Stamp Collector`s Data Base
TheStampCollector'sDataBase
You must.movethe cursorro rhe end of the field after
deleting,
then pressEnter. A list of printers will pop-up
A revierp by Martin Richardson
and
you
can then make your choice and proceed.Your
7130ClaybeckDr.', Dayton, OH 45424
printer
should be capableof printing 732 chuacrerson a
cIS 72455,2710
line to nke advanrage
of someof rhe repon formats.
TbeSump Collector's
Datz Base,ver.4.1.0,by RogerEdelman,
After you first accessthe darabase
an indexand a cross
6002MaidenLane,SuiteB, Bethesda,
MD 20817-6252.
$75.00. referencefile are creared,bring rhe total numberof files
ro
(301)320-24s1,
(800)321-SCDB1321-72321.
CIS: 71570,2065.
29
and
3.96Mb.
is
inreresring
k
rhat
1984
the
version
conDemodisk$10.00,
credited
towardsprogrampurchase.
Darabases
file
alsoavailable
for Canada,
UniredNationsandIsrael;$25.00
each. uined 44 files and occupied1.66Mb.The US database
has grown from 1.26Mbto 2.12Mbin ren years.
Othercountfies
to become
available.
Introduction
Roger Edelman'sprogram is without a doubt one of
the oldestphilarelicinventory programssdll in existence,
which in itself speaksfor irs quality and acceptance.
Roger
is proud of the fact that his advertisement
in a 1984issue
of Linn's StampNerysresultedin a new classifiedheading,
Computer Software. I first reviewed this program, Ver.
2.0.1,n issueno. 6 of the Compulatelist(December1988).
This review is basedon version4.1.0.The current version
is 4.1.3. and differs from the version reviewed in that it
containssome additional printer suppon and improved
backup.
StampCollector'sData Base(SCDB) is a DOS applicationand will operateon virtually any 80x86systemwith
320kbfree RAM and PC or MS DOS 2.0 or higher.The
programsupponsExpandedMemory, EMS 4.0or comparible. This is not a rVindows program, but it can be run as
a DOS applicationfrom within Vindows.
Installation
I installed SCDB on rny home compurer, a Gateway
2000, 4DX2-66V. This is a 66MHz 80486 CPU, VESA
local bus system with 16Mb of RAM and three hard
drives.The systemusesMS-DOS 6.21, Windows 3.11,
QEMM 386 ver 7.03and Stackerver. 4,0. I had no problems with the insallation. Two printers were used,a HewlemPackardLaserJet4M and an Epson LQ-850.
The installation disk contains three compressedfiles
and an Install program. You must have at least 4.5Mb of
hard disk spaceavailable.The program createsa STAMP
directory on the desdnadondrive that will inirially contain
27 files and use about 3.7Mb. You start the program by
entering STAMP, A rather annoying opening screenwill
appearthat can only be clearedby pressing rhe ENTER
key. The first time you nrn the program an initialization
screenwill appear.You enter the location drive letters for
the Databasq Index Files, and a Soning work area.The
sorting work areacould be a RAM disk if you wish.
The initialization screenis also where you specify the
type of printer you are using. There are 72 different choices from AST Turbolaser to Xerox 4045 available.The
procedurefor enteringa printer is somewhatconfusing.
The default printer is a HP LaserJet500/+/II. The screen
message
states,"To Choosea Printer - DeleteContentsof
Printer Field And PressENTER." If you deletewith the
Deletekey the cursorwill remain at the beginningof the
field. Vhen you pressEnter, nothing will happen.
52
Data Construction
The databasefile furnishedwith rhe programis called
USA41-94and contains4,571records,eachwirh 76 fields.
The data is basedon the Scott catalog,7994edition.The
database
containsthe following categoriesand numbers:
7 - 2784,C1 - C132,CEl - CEz, Et - E23, FA1,
Jl - J104,JQ1-JQ5,01 - 0148, Q1 - Q12,QE1
- QE4, Ri - R734,R\r1 - R'Sr60,51 - 57, U619,
U625 - U627 $hy only thesefour "U-numbers"
are
includedis unknown),UX1 - UX173, IIXC1 -
uxc25,uz| - uz5.
Most of the major varieriesare included.The minor
varietiescan be addedby rhe userif desired.I found some
errorsin the entries,mainly spelling.You cancorrec!these
as you come acrossthem.
SCDB conrainsa separarerecord for eachPNC plate
number.This is an atrractivefearurefor collectorsof this
popular area.As an examplq the 1985Flag over Capirol
issugScottno.2775,is lisred21 times,oncefor eachplate
number. The plate numbers are conrainedin the Suffix
field of the catalognumber, for examplg 2115-13.The
program will not son rheserecordscorrecdyas the Suffix
field is defined as characrerrype and nor numeric.This
compromisewas made in order ro include most of the
catalog number combinarionspossible.Roger indicated
that the four-digit plate numberswill be a problem.You
could use the Commentsfield for the longer plate numbers,
The program doesnot generatea unique darabase
file
basedon your inpuq leavingthe original supplieddarabase
untouched.Rather,the user modifiesrhe original database
by editing its contentsand adding and deletingrecords.
You cannot changethe design of rhe databasgadd or
deletefields,etc.
Documentation
The programscomeswirh a well-wrinen 52-pagemanual
that is organizedin a logical manner.If it has any fault it
might be that it often containsinformarion on the workings
of the programthat would not concernthe averageuser.The
variousmenusand screendisplaysare shownalthoughnot u
clearly as *rey could be. The appendicesconain samplesof
the variousrepon formaa, a detaileddescriptionof the databasestructurg error messages
and answersto a few commorr
quesdonsor problems.The only index includedis onefor the
screenmenuillustrations.
The Conpulatelist
luly 1994
Data Entry
SCDB is sraned by typing STAMP from the DOS
cursor prompt. After you press a key to get rid of rhat
openingscreen,the 12-optionMain Menu appears.In mosr
casesthe selecdonof an item will resuh in anorher menu
window poppingup. Function keys aresupponedin some
rnenus,and when used,the function key definitionsappear
ffE Strt
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Fig. 1 SCDM Main Menu
The Main menu
SelectDatabaseTo Use
The first dme you stan the program you use rhis
selectionto specify rhe databasero use. The selectionis
stored and will becomethe default eachtime you run the
programunlessyou changethe entry.
Edit Stamp Data
This is the principal work areafor the program. You
arefirst promptedfor rhe caralognumber oflhe-enrry you
wish to edit, You musr enterthe number exactlyas it was
created.The Edit screenis full, and may be a bit'intimidating at first glancg but using a mouse will help you ger
around the screenfaster than using just tab keys. There is
a learning curve involved.
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The SCDBEdit Scroon
You must enterthe catalognumberprecisely.The program is case-sensitive
in rhis regard. If you enrer "j10"
insteadof "J10,"you will receivean error sayingthar "j10"
is not in the database.
If you enrer a number that SCDB
cannotfind you areaskedro enreranothernumberor quit.
To leavethe Edit Screen,you cannoruse the <Esc>
ke5 but must press<F10> and then rype Quir in rhe field
wheie you enterrhe caralognumber.Typing just the letter
Q advances'torhe entry for Scotr Q1. Should you rry
anythingother than QUIT, Quit or quit, you will get the
"can't find catalognumber' message.
Very annoying!
The Edit Screenis divided horizontally into two sections. The top rhree lines contain rhe stampinformation,
while the bocom 18 lines contain valuq condirion and
quantityinformation.The function key assignmenrs
appear
acrossthe bortom of the screen.
Each and every record appearsin the same formag
which cannor be changed.The top line shows the Scorr
number at rhe left and the current database
in use on the
right. The Scoc catalognumber consistsof threefields,the
prefix, a number, and a suffix, A Scott number such as
2338awill appearas [ ] [ 2338] [ a], while C3a would be
t Cl t 3l I a]. This caralognumber srrucrureis imponant
and allows SCDB ro outperform orher programs,panicularly in the areasof soning and searching.
The secondling from left ro righq containsa field for
a X-Ref Number, Issue Date and Location. The X-Ref
number field can be used ro enrera secondcatalognumber, StanleyGibbons, etc., for cross-reference
purposes.
Issuedateis self-explanatory.
The Locationfield -provides
spacefor five charactersof location information album
number,etc.
The Description field appearsat the lefr on the third
line and containsspacefor 15 characrers.
Ar first rhought,
15 charactersis not sufficient in many cases,but each
record can have associaredwith it a Memo field thar can
containseveralpagesof text. When a recordhas a Memo
field associared
wirh ir the word MEMO will appearin the
lower right corner of the Edit screen.The remainingfield
on line three is a 3O-characrer
Cominentsfield.
The remainingscreenareacontainsthe condition,value
and quantity information. There are provisions for six
categories:
Ming Used, Blks (Blocks),Plrs (PlateBlocks),
LPRs (Line or PlareNumber pairs/srrips)andFDCs (First
Day Covers).
Vith the exceptionof the last two caregories,
each
c^tegoryhasrhreeconditionsassociared
with it: XF, F and
G. This porrion of the screenhas five columns:Avail, In
Stock,Valug Paid and Extended.If you had 10 mint copies of a srampin Fine condition, you would enrera "Y"
under the Avail column in the cnegory row labeledMint,
F. The program entersthe Extendedvalueby muldplying
the In Stock number by the Value.
The valuesprovided are nor necessarily
Sconvalues.As
we all know, Scon valuesare basedon "retail' price for a
Fine to Very Fine sramp.If rhe userdoesnor wish to userhe
valuesprovided in SCDB, they can be changedas desired.
SCDB has a fearure under the Udlirv Menu *rat will allow
tle user to increaseor decreasethe'catalogvaluesfor any
categoryin the databaseby a user suppliedpercentage.
You
can changeindividual recordsalsoif you wish.
Vhen I first beganusing SCDB yearsago, the Edir
screenappearedcrowded and conrainedprice information
I wasn't concernedwith. You ger used to it after a whilg
but it is unfortunatethat it is so inflexible.Obviously,nor
all of the calegories,such as PlareBlocks,exisrfor some
stamps.The screenwill still displaythe caregory,but with
blank fields.
cont'donp, 54
cont'dfrom p. t3
FunctionKeys areimplementedin the Edir screenand
includethe Note/t1emo key alrea.dydiscussedalongwith
eight others.Duplicate will copy the current record and
add it to the end of the database
file. The useris prompred
for a new catalognumber.This is a handy fearure.
The UP-1 and DN+1 keys,will move you up or down
onerecordin the database.
Yes,UP-1 goesto r}renext highest
recordand DN+1 to the nexr lowest! Keep in mind that rhe
record numbersdo not necessarilycorreqpondto the Scon
numbers.Soning *re databaseafter you have made changes
will resolvesomeof this confusion.
The Deleteand Undeletekeyswill mark the recordfor
deletionor undeletion.The acrualrecord is not removed
from the databaseuntil you use the PACK DeletedRecords commandin the Utilitv menu.
The VALU function key will presenrthe stampValuation Sutus. This is a different format from the normal
StampStatusscreen.All in-srock value and paid information is displayedalongwith percenrage
changesin valuevs.
price paid,
The BLCK (Block) key actsas a toggleto preventthe
Scott Number, Issue Datg Location, Description, and
Commentsfields from being edired,This featureis a time
saverwhen you are editing quanritiesor valuesonly, in
records.
SCDB review
Add New Stamps
This is the selectionon the Main Menu that orovides
for addingadditionalstampsro your darabase.
There are
two options under this selection,Group Add or Single
Add. Choosingthe Singleoption displaysa screensimilar
to the Edit screen.You simply enrerthe informadonincluding the catalognumber, and rhe record is addedto the
end of the database.
The Group Add featureis interesting.You enter the
staning Scott number and the number of stampsto add.
An examplemight be: staning with number 2647,add 50
smmps.The remaininginformarion is also added,value,
quantiry,issuedatg etc. This featureis usefulfor adding
multiple designsheets,bookletpanes,etc.That is about all.
It will not checkfor pre-existingrecords with the same
catalognumbers.
UTILITY MENU
This menucontains11 selections,
somg suchasPACK
DeletedRecordsand ChangeCanlog Values,havealready
been discussed.
There are selectionsfor backingup your
database
and deletinga group of records.The new version
of SCDB uses LHArc to comDressthe data files. It
achievesa 9Oo/ocompressionradt which results in only
one disk beingrequiredinsteadof the previousfour. Some
of the selectionsare only usedif you are conveningfrom
a previousversion of SCDB or if your index files have
becomecorrupt. The Collection Summarymenu will add
the total valuesin eachcategoryin the databaseand provide a summaryon the screen.You can savethis information to a file if you wish.
The most useful feature in the Utility menu is the
CreateA New Databaseoption. Selectingrhis oprion will
prompt you for the name of the new database.
You can
c1
then return to the Main menu and add recordsto this new
database.
SORT MENU
The Son menu has four oprions:Sort by ScotrNumber, Son by IssueDatg Son by X-Ref Number and Son
by Location. It is imponant to rememberto sorr your
database
after you havemadeany additionsor correcrions.
The most usefulson would be by catalognumber.
SEARCH MENU
Thereareonly two selectionsavailablgsearchby Issue
Datg and User Defined.The first needsno explanation.If
you selectUser Defined,a window will open rhat lists all
75 fieldsassociated
with a record.(The tersefieldnamesare
explainedin the manual.)You can selecta field and then
enter the texr ro searchfor in that field. You candirecr the
output to eitherrhe screenor the printer. Although listed,
a searchcannotbe accomplishedon the Memo field.
The searchopdon .ould b. used,for examplgto display or print a list of all recordswhich contain specifictext
in the Comment field. Topical or thematiccollectorscan
put information in this field to be able to list all sramps
showingbirds, for insrance.
BROTTSEMENU
This option enablesyou ro examinq locatg and edir
recordsin a more efficient manner than the Edit menu.
Browseshouldbe familiar ro anyonewho usesdBase.The
screenshowseachrecord occupyinga singleline.
F i g .3
B r o w s es c r e o ni n S C D B
You can move wirhin records or ro anorherrecord by
usingthe <Tab> or cursorkeys.Funcrionkeysareenabled
here; these include a Locate <F5> function that will
prompt you for a field and text ro searchfor in much the
samemannerasthe Searchmenu.The Column Lock <F8>
will lock a number of columnson the left side of your
screen.Once again,you must rememberro sort the databaseif you did any editing in this mode.
GROUP UPDATE MENU
This menu containsfour selectionsinvolvedwith creating or using a file to updare your database.Dealers
would find these options of value when updaring their
inventories.You canenrera Scorrnumber,a Caregory(XF
Mint, etc.)and a Quantity. You cannorenlercosrinformadon. The file you creareis then processedand the database
is updated.
The Cornoulatelat
luly 1994
REPORTS
- I also seeno reasonto include fields in the darabase
SCDB has 58 different reporr options. The hean of
that will neverbe of interesrro me. The abilitv ro crearea
this flexibility is rhe useof a runrimeversionof the R Er R
new cusromizeddarabase
from the suppliedone would be
RelationalReport Writer from Concentric Data Systemsin
a nice feature.Minor annoyances
includeborh the opening
Massachusetts.
This is a familiar program to dBaseusers.
and closingscreens.The closingscreenflashes. -.rr.gi
X-.eponscan be generatedwhich include any carcBory, warningme to backup my database.
condition, range of Scott numbers, want lists, inventory
SUPPORT
lists, etc., etc. You can print them in Issue Date order or
Scott Number order. As an example you could print all
- Rog-erEdelmanhas made a commirmenrto provide
rechnical.
supporr for his customersar no charge.itis adMing XF singlestampsissuedin 1923in your collection.
dress.and
ph_one
number are in the documentaiion.Roger
Ponions of rwo reports are shown here.
is
active
on
CompuServe;
his ID is 71570,2065.
Although I had no problemsprinring reporrs,I did have
Yearly upto adjustmy font
dates
are supplied
to 10 point in AlI.r 6t \sTMt\uaA{l - t{.8!
lic 6t*
Collacto!,r
Dotu loro - &oncrd
p.9.:
Idiriod
I
lon o.t.f
06l2llra
|ln!
JltrP ht!i!
x.pot!
ar $25.00.
The up
order to get rhe
scct
laru.
prna
ft
;
.
Cood
dates
contain
all
conrtr
output spaced rurbrr ortr
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lot.l VaIr. Ol 8t.r?.r
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for Canada and
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Israelis up
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my opinion.I like
Pll.:
C. \$lrrxP\USAIl
9l.DBf
lt.
3t.t9 Colt.cto!,.
D.t. 0.ri - Adv.ncrd Udjtion
dated
everv rwo
to have enough l u 0 . r . : o a / 2 7 / ) a 6t[r
6uEry
l.Dolt
vith taot.r
years,
laru.
margin on the left &o!t
l|lrbar
D.t.
D.rcrj,ptign
CGnta
Corbin.d C.t.gorylcond.ition
St.rp tot.l.
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llnt
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Although you can 51 55 55
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Collectors
Data
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6nnt
Baseis a greatval0
g l l t ' / t t ? t t l q . , J . t t . r t o t
lal
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roro.
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ue for the general
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1
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cannot specifythe cc al
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collector, but
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tot.l.
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5
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desdnation drive.
0
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there is a leaming
To get pagesforsurve involved.
Fig. 4 Extractsfrom two SCDB Reports
maned rhe way
Advanced collecyou like, I would suggestprinring ro a file and rhen usingyour
torg especiallypostal history collectorg will find the inflexiten editor or word processorto set the margins.
biliry of the field srrucrue limiting. Someof rhe fearuresare
directedtoward dealenand investors.
ERROR HANDLING
The repon options are numerous and cover most, if
SCDB is far bener rhan most when it comesro error
not all, realisticsituations.If you area dBaseuseryou will
handling.I wasableto getthe programto halt but only by
find the detaileddarabasesrrucrureinformation of u.lu..
deliberatelydoing thingsthar would normally neveroccur. Using R & R RelationalRepon Vrirer, I am able ro generThe program will nor permit you ro enter numeric dara ate reports suited ro my specialneedswithour difficulty.
where it expectscharacrerdaa. If you rry, the cursor will
Everything considered, SCDB is a grear program well
not advanceto the next field when you press <Enrer>,
worth its cost.
Er
until you make the correcrion.In somesiruationsall you
haveto do to back out of an error is press<Esc>.In'rhe
worst scenarioyou will be rerurned ro a DOS prompt. I
ROGERS. EDEb\1AN
never lost or corrupted a databasefile.
CcrrificdNelWorsEngineer
Gc,,6c,
,aga:
I
301-229-6585
SHORTCOMINGS
Th. major onesare rhe inability to do group updates
simpln and specify the page format for printed ouipur. I
would like to tell the program that I have every sramp
betweenScott numbers x and y, and thar they are mini,
and in fine condition.I could then edit thoserecordsthar
were in a different condition or not in my collection.I
would also like to be able ro extracror copy a group of
recordsfrom the database
into a new database.
IuIv 1.994
Capitol Discount ComputerSupplies
Sofhrore& Hordworeot Wholcsoleprices
Consuhing
Fod Scrvice
Coll For Quoics
The Compillatelist
6002 lv{oidenLn.
SuitcC
Bctherdo,MD 20gl Z

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