I made a database of all my dolls, past and present! (You can too!)

Oct 16, 2020

    1. Although I only own about half a dozen dolls right now, I got the bee in my bonnet a few months ago to use Airtable to make a database of all the dolls I have now and all the dolls I have sold.

      It has been some work piecing together all the dolls I have sold using feedback threads, archives, and doll profiles from here on DOA, as well as pictures I can still find of super old dolls I don't own anymore, but I'm at about a little over 40 which seems to be about right, give or take a few that I have forgotten altogether or been unable to find any pictures or details of (poor dears!). I still don't remember the names of some or have photos of them, but I am hoping more will come back to me over time.

      I also kind of mourned a few that I had sold and now deeply regret doing so, like my Dollzone BB Ani who was later retired as a sculpt and my tan LF Chloe. :(

      If you want to check it out, the link to my database is here: Doll Collection_public - Airtable. (Important: Do NOT use Internet Explorer! It will not function properly. It will also be a little hard to navigate if you use your phone--they do have an app, though, which I use a lot for viewing and searching my tables, like the one I have for recipes.)

      From the screenshot, you can see it's very obvious Fairyland has long owned my soul. :D

      I do have some fields hidden in this view because they talk about cost and very specific provenances of who I bought what from here and who I sold things to here. While you cannot edit, add, or remove anything found at this link, you should be able to sort/filter/group/hide and get a little familiar with the tool to see if you may want to make a database of your own.

      Something like this is great no matter what size your collection is, as you can always remember each detail, including attaching COAs and receipts, which is extra good if you decide to sell their eyes, wigs, or the doll itself because all the stuff you need to put into the listing is right there.

      A little more about the tool:
      Airtable is AMAZING and FREE. You do NOT need an account to view the link (though you will need to sign up for one if you decide to make a database of your own, but it's free ^_^)! I use Airtable at my job to manage my work and could not live without it (my brain thinks in terms of tables), and have started using it for personal stuff, too. It takes some getting used to, but once you see how powerful it can be in showing you the relationships between things, there is no turning back, LOL.

      You can sort, filter, group, hide fields, and organize however you want so you can find what you are looking for or interested in. You can also make a bunch of different views! So, I have the table view I showed above, but I also made a view that is like a photo gallery of my dolls and you can show or hide whatever details you want on each "card."


      You can print the table or export it to Excel. You can even share a table with multiple people if you want to keep track of your dolls together, or share just a link with people like I did here (perhaps to those who like to give you dolls as gifts so they can see which ones you already have, or you can create a wishlist view for that purpose).
      • x 20
    2. Wow, what a great idea! And a lot of work too:aeyepop:. But it looks like you had lots of fun (and dolls) to organize in such a systematic and clear way. Congrats.
    3. What a good idea! I keep a list of every doll I’ve ever owned, though after twelve years in the hobby and nearing 200 sculpts, there’s no way I remember details beyond company, sculpt and maybe the name I gave them. :aeyepop: I’ve only owned 39 max at any given time, usually under 15, but I’ve bought, sold and traded soooo many times, I’ve lost track. If only I had started much earlier!
    4. Yesssssssss airtable!! I was going to use it as my replacement for Ravelry when they did their big... shall we say, “accessibility heck up”? But my knitting stuff is just too much to move over, but it’s perfect for doll stuff!

      I’m so excited to see someone else using it for this! :D
      • x 1
    5. I’ve done something similar, using Words and tables in it. I had titled it “BJD Records” to keep track what I bought and sold. I also keep details on them, what body, head, skin colors, and if they have COA or not (not all of my dolls has COA due to being 2nd hands) and date I got them. I started few years ago when I had about less than 30 dolls. Now I’m into 60 range and been regularly updating it. According to my record, I’ve had over 100 dolls since I started my hobby. I also keep a note list of my dolls and their names on my Iphone. This is really good idea because in case anything happens to you, your family can refer to this record to sell your dolls.
    6. This is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing the idea and tool. I’ll make a database of my dolls too :3nodding::3nodding::3nodding:
    7. Probably a good idea to start documenting my dolls now since I’m new to the hobby.
    8. the organization's so cool! thanks for the idea~
    9. Oooh, that might actually be just what I need for my own "doll database"!
    10. @Hellaclara To me, it isn't work! I love stuff like this! :D Organizing is a passion for me!

      @CloakedSchemer I also wish I had started much earlier! I sort of did with some of the profiles I've had here on DOA, thank goodness, but the profiles for my olders dolls are long gone so I've had to rebuild those from memory (which obviously wasn't nearly as successful). :( But you can always start now! You never know what will come back to you with a little research here on DOA and some thoughtful time!

      @Peppermintsheep YAYYYY someone else who knows about Airtable AND someone else who uses Ravelry! What is the "accessibility heck up"? I saw they changed their site design, but was it something more? I too had considered using Airtable for my knitting and crochet stuff, but, like you, I realized it would just be too much to carry over and try to organize, so I have stuck with Ravelry.

      @Cloudsorano Ooooo I had never thought of how it could be helpful if something happens to me so my family can refer to it! That is a really good point.

      @quinnien You are welcome!! Even if you don't end up using Airtable, if you start a database using what you are comfortable with, it will be helpful in the long run! :D

      @Fuailei Absolutely now is the time to start if you are new. I wish I had done this more consistently when I first got into dolls.

      @NatsuC It is VERY cool once you get the hang of it. There is SO much you can do!

      @Khell It doesn't hurt to try it out and see if it works for what you want to do! :D
      • x 1
    11. This is awesome! And actually might be the solution to my problem of wanting to make a database of Taobao shops I've found that I can easily search but not knowing of a free software that would be suitable for building a public database in. I even use Airtable for work, lol!
    12. @lishelove oh, it was and still IS a Whole Entire Thing. It was that new layout that started it in May: the white they used was #ffffff-- the whitest white possible, and the spacing between letters increased, as did spacing between lines of text. This, combined with automatic animations of different speeds, caused a ton of vision problems for a ton of people. People were getting migraines (me!!), eye strain, motion sickness, and it triggered seizures in several people. An international Epilepsy group looked at the website and deemed it a hazard, and added it to their database of websites with the potential to trigger seizures. Despite literally hundreds and hundreds of people calling for Ravelry to address these issues, The Powers That Be ignored all of this, went radio silent for about a month, and then started gaslighting people on instagram about it, and one of the web developers at Ravelry even started attacking people in personal emails. Comments were deleted in the forums, and entire threads were locked if people were discussing the inaccessibility of "Nu Rav".

      When Ravelry finally DID address it all, it was literally a month after the change, and it wasn't even an apology (they said "We know change is hard for some ppl", but they never mentioned that their new layout caused real life health problems for a LOT of people, and they didn't take any kind of responsibility at all, and even blamed users by saying "some people started rumors and pretended to have health issues bc they hated the look so much" basically), and it was too little too late. If you go and look at pretty much any forum, you'll find whole pages where they just say "This post deleted by user". Because of Ravelry's dismissiveness towards the harm their very sudden and unannounced layout change caused, tons of people left Ravelry and deleted their accounts.

      Here's a few rundowns about what happened, exactly, because I'm just telling you how I remember it going down. I'm not terribly active on Ravelry or Instagram, but I did see all of this unfolding in real time.
      Like, it's a really ugly thing, and it's ongoing, because Ravelry has still never admitted fault, and doesn't seem to be working to address this. They've let people use the "Classic Rav" layout, but only until March 2021. Some people have written scripts that you can install (somehow?? idk how this works??) so you can have a different skin on the Nu Rav to lower the contrast.

      Sorry this got really big, but it's a really big deal. Like I said, tons of people literally deleted their Ravelry accounts because of this, and it's... still simmering. :eek:
      • x 1
    13. I've been using Google sheets to document dolls that join and leave my doll family. I like the card option in air table, being able to represent the data visually.
    14. @Astro YES!! Airtable could totally do this for you, and I think way more than you might think. I think you can link to locations and all sorts of stuff so your shop database could be really excellent!

      @Peppermintsheep I mean, I knew they had redesigned (and I didn't really like the new design), but MAN I had no idea about all of that other stuff! O_o Thank you for the links! Sadly, although I am gravely disappointed, I can't really delete my account because I just have so much stuff on there. Even if I wanted to remake it in Airtable AND I do love big projects like that, it is seriously daunting to even consider right now. Do you know where the people who left Ravelry went? I have never known another site like Ravelry for that kind of stuff, and part of why they may have reacted the way they did is because they know they have people over a barrel with basically having had the monopoly on this kind of site for like 15 years or whatever (though the fact that so many people deleted their accounts despite that certainly sends a message!).

      @skyealloway Airtable would basically be like your Google sheet on steroids! In fact, if you can export your Google sheet as a CSV file, you could probably upload it into Airtable to start as a base if you wanted to try it!
    15. @lishelove I’ve also got too much on Ravelry to think about moving, and you’re right— there’s nowhere like it on the internet. There’s a group called Fiber Club in the process of becoming what Ravelry is, but they won’t be ready for quite some time. The people who left... are gone. There’s nowhere that they went, because there’s really nothing like Ravelry. It’s such a shame! I never would have gotten so into knitting without the Rav community, and I never would have learned everything on my own. The wealth of knowledge on Ravelry is just irreplaceable.

      Sorry I don’t have better news.
    16. @lishelove that sounds really exciting! I'm buried under work currently but once I'm finished with it I've really been toying with the idea of making that database. My google doc has gotten unmanageable lol >w<
    17. @Peppermintsheep It's okay! I'm glad you told me, as I had no idea. Right now I'm not doing much crochet or knitting, so it won't affect me too much. In the meantime, I may explore other options. It would be nice if Ravelry had an export option to put things into a CSV file because then I could import it into Airtable, but I don't think they do.

      @Astro Haha, yes, I would imagine at a certain point it would be too difficult to manage a Google doc of this nature!
      • x 1
    18. I've never heard of Airtable before today. I've been using Excel and Google Spreadsheets to keep my collection backed up. You encouraged me to try Airtable out ^__^ I'll be sure to share my database here once it's nearing completion. Luckily my collection isn't that huge that it'll take days to complete.

      Going to add another table for accessories (clothing, wigs, eyes, ...) once the first part is done. I love the extra details you can add even on the free version. (I can't afford to pay for monthly membership.) Great thing is that I should be able to download the database in different formats for safekeeping or printing too, right?

      Thanks for the tip~♡
      • x 1
    19. @Siara That's great! I am glad you decided to give it a go, and the table for accessories is a really great idea! I hope you share what you did. And, yes, it's amazing what you can do with the free version--the average person would never need to pay for it because they allow you to do so much for no cost!