Ever since I got back into collecting around 2 years ago, I've been looking for a way to better organize my collection. After all, it goes without saying that card collecting and organization go hand in hand. What good would all of your boxes of cards be without a way to tell what you have and what you want or need? Unfortunately, the sloppy hand-written checklists of my youth just won't cut it any longer. I've been desperately seeking a better method, and I've talked to a good number of other bloggers and card collectors who have struggled with a similar goal.
My first attempt was spreadsheets, but with a different spreadsheet for every year it was impossible to get some of the information I wanted. For example, I couldn't tell you without hours of painstaking labor exactly how many cards I had of a particular player. A while back I posted here looking for feedback or recommendations. I checked out Beckett's online database and found it confusing, bug-riddled and just plain annoying to use. Finally, I settled on creating my own Access database, which gave me some of the functionality I was looking for. I'm no developer though, and even this solution left me wanting something better.
A few days ago I received an email from someone named Ashley, who had read the post about my Access database and wanted to know if I had any interest in trying out a site called Zistle that she and her husband are developing for tracking card collections. I signed up for an account and have been absolutely hooked ever since!
This site is EXACTLY what I have been looking for! Ashley and her husband Josh have created an absolutely fantastic (and free!) online database for card collectors to use to organize their collections. This site has everything that Beckett and other online databases have been missing. The layout looks fantastic, is not overly busy, and is very intuitive. After spending less than a minute creating a username and password, you can begin to build your collection, adding cards from any of the four major sports. Filter by set and year, or search for a card specifically, and when you see a card you own, simply click on the thumbnail to add it to your collection. Doesn't get much easier than that! Once you've added cards you can view your collection at any time in either thumbnail or list format. You're presented with a view like this:
Simply expand a year/set from the folder tree on the left and you can instantly see all of the cards you own from that particular set. Flip over to the "Edit Your Collection" screen and you can filter each year and set to show all cards, only the cards you own, or only the cards you need.
Can't find the card that you're holding listed in the library? That's the beauty of this site! Just click the "Add it to the Zistle Library" link and add the card yourself (it will show up for you at first and then the rest of the users upon approval). In this fashion the library will be built up by the people who know the cards best, collectors!
Best of all, Zistle will track your want lists for you. For example, say I'm interested in collecting 2008 Allen & Ginter baseball. I can indicate that I want this set, and the site will automatically subtract the cards that I already have in my collection and add the rest to my Want List! No more long hours of manually updating text files on your blog. Zistle will even suggest trading partners to you based on your want list and what others have available.
There's even a section to track box breaks. Just click on the box you busted, fill out a few quick fields (ie how many parallels, autos, etc did you receive) and then rate the product. You'll acquire contribution points for submitting box break info or adding/tracking cards. This could become a great resource for someone looking for more info before picking up a box.
I cannot stress enough just how amazing this site is. If you are still reading this, what are you waiting for? Head over to Zistle ASAP and create your free account. Please don't take my word for it, go see for yourself! It literally takes less than a minute and you can then begin to enjoy your collection in an amazing new way. Best of all, this site has been created by two people who are passionate about cards themselves. They truly care about making the site an even better experience for collectors out there and would love to hear any feedback you might have. If you're one of the many people out there with a card blog, chances are they have already linked you, so please do them (but more importantly yourself) a favor and go have a look around!