The Michigan Mineralogical Society does not endorse the use of any of these programs. We collected no money or favors at any time to publish this content, nor will we enter into partnerships with companies just so that their products can be featured here.
It has become evident that many collectors are using various computer programs to track and manage their collections and some of the trusted Mineral database softwares have not kept up with the times and many have simply disappeared. This page is intended to be used for research purposes only.
Remember, any software you download to your computer is done so at your own risk!
Any software that you download for the purposes of collecting can be a great tool to organize your collection but it also has its risks. Any software downloaded has the potential to spy on your home computer and any cloud-based software can have privacy and security issues. While this should always be kept in the back of your mind when you are looking into using any software we can share some links with you here that might help you to decide how you want to keep track of your personal collection.
Having said all that...
Software choices can be divided up in a number of ways: Cloud vs. downloaded, free vs. cost, Mac vs. Windows, mobile vs. desktop, professional use vs. home use, or even spreadsheet vs. database. Most everyone has some kind of budget so we will try to sort out the good from the bad. Hardware requirements and the features you need are also a major part of making a decision. We are not going to give you ratings, instead, we are going to list options and you can decide what you need vs. what you want to have in a mineral collecting software package.
Not everyone will approach this the same way. Some of the collecting community has a card system or keeps the little labels that come with the specimens and that's good enough. But some collectors want features like 360° views, voice notations, GPS locations, the ability to easily sort based on location, mineral name or type. Let's consider all the options of a fully-featured collection software package and see if any lightbulbs go off in your needed feature list.
Tagging to be able to set your favorite
examples in your collection & track them
Allows you to add in voice-based notes
or reads back to you
Close up and Alternate Views
in the same record
Imports from your Digital Camera
in still and movie formats
Allows you to easily send out emails of a record for selling and sharing and prints labels for identification
Tracks GPS coordinates
Allows you to post out to Social Media like Facebook or Instagram
Keeps your wish lists and allows
for placeholders in your collection
Ability to create and share collections
of selected specimens.
Runs on the Desktop and
creates Web Content
or exports out HTML
Let you create custom tagging fields and lets you annotate your collecting the way you want
Has a gallery or slideshow viewer
Powerful and Responsive Programming and Easy Interface
Runs on Mobile Devices and in the Cloud
Three Main Categories of Collecting Software
Microsoft Excel is often the main program people think of as an office spreadsheet application, but there are many out there that are free. Open Office is free, cross-platform and works pretty well with other office applications. Google docs are free and Apple also has Numbers. These programs are great because they are flexible and most everyone is familiar with how to set one up. You can create any fields you want, organize it how you need, add pictures and even export the data out to transferrable file formats like .xls, .txt, and .csv. In many ways, a spreadsheet is a very open source because almost everyone has a program that can read the data in some way. They are flexible and easily edited. On the bad side, you have to set everything up yourself and create what you want from pretty much scratch.
We will be reviewing the following offers below:
Desktop Collecting Software
There are many, many programs out there for collecting and keeping track of hobbies. Ones that can handle or are specifically written for the purposes of handling minerals, gemstones, fossils, and related subjects are rare. The fork in the road with buying a program to do what you want is finding one that has a good interface and is easy to use. One that is reliable is of paramount importance as well. Many database programs I have used will get slower and slower as more information is added to them. Some we have used in the past have even crashed and their information became corrupted and useless. Now that's frustrating!
The mineral collecting community has had some old favorites that were around for many years, but many have disappeared with the newest 64-bit operating systems and private developers who have retired or not felt like keeping their software current. It's always a possibility that any software developer can pull the plug on their software development, which means it's important that they give you a way to export all your data in some sort of open format so you can import it into your next choice. So, it goes without saying that it's a good idea to look for software that allows you to import from standard spreadsheet data as well.
The pros for an off-the-shelf offering is that they are usually pretty well set up for you to start organizing your collection and can do a great job of tracking your information with little fuss on your part. The cons are that sometimes they don't do what you need and you are responsible for keeping them backed up in case your hard drive crashes.
We will be looking into a few of the better software packages here and we welcome the feedback of anyone who has used these or is currently doing their own research.
We will be reviewing the following desktop solutions below:
Minfind SNAP - Replacement to Mineraldesk
& Workgroup Solutions like Extensis Portfolio or Cumulus
There are many websites devoted to tracking mineral information. Some of these are based on wiki-like forms and WordPress templates that can be added easily, provided you have the access rights to do so. In addition, some will allow its end users to also add information and upload to their website (think Wikipedia). There are many positives to this. They take care of the hardware and software issues, they keep the data backed-up and its accessible from anywhere you have a web browser. The cons to cloud software are that the interface can be confining and hard to alter for your needs, your information is now in the "cloud" somewhere and you don't have control over what happens to it and another person might be able to change your content. Another issue with cloud software is that's it's only as fast as your internet access and only as safe as your password. Slow access makes editing information and uploading pictures very painful.
Another term for cloud-based software is "SaaS" or Software as a Service.
We will be reviewing the following SaaS's:
Desktop Software Information
In No Particular Order
nmCollector.net LLC began in the year 2000 when Clay Pryor began selling his NM Gun Collector Software online. After receiving multiple requests for collecting software for different computer operating systems and collection types, nmCollector.net answered the call with NM Collector Software JE. This software became popular enough to justify incorporating in 2010. Recognizing the need for mobile products nmCollector.net introduced NM Collector for the Android in late 2011. He is currently looking for funding to create an iOS version and his software runs in Windows, Mac OS, and Linux as well.
nmCollector.net LLC intends to produce the most useful and flexible software available to the collector community at the most reasonable cost. nmCollector.net LLC recognizes the effort put into data entry and keeps the preservation of that data at the forefront of their development efforts.
This software is written in Java and is designed to be portable, meaning you can run it from anywhere, it does not install as traditional programs do. You can keep it on a USB stick and move it around from computer to computer (provided that the java versions are comparable).
One purchase entitles you to use this collecting software for all of your collections on all of your computers. There is also an option to run the software from the cloud as well by running it from one of your personal cloud drives.
The software has a 30-day trial period and only costs $29.95 and is 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.
What is really neat is this software allows you to manage multiple collections. It's not specifically set up for just mineral collecting and the developer has created various template forms to do different types of hobbies.
Under the engine of nmCollector is a very compact relational database built on open source software from Apache. The developer has used this to build upon the java commands to create a powerful cross-platform modular collector's database.
The software is easily downloaded and the trial period makes testing is quite easy. There is very good help online at the website and a quick start guide and owner's manual are easily found and downloaded if you get into trouble. The developer has been in business long enough that he has anticipated known issues and helps you stay out of trouble.
Mac OS Screen Shot
Windows Geology Screen Shot
Android Gun Collecting Review
Quick General Training Video
Mineraldesk (previously featured here) is being replaced by the Minfind SNAP app. It is designed to offer the collector instant access to the best minerals available for sale on the web, using the latest mobile technology to help you browse, search and view specimens from the top mineral dealers worldwide. Use the Minfind mobile app to compare specimens from all major mineral dealers and then get in touch with them to confirm availability, price, and shipping costs.
The cost to get the app is $50 USD a year and a google account handle. Right now we only find it available on the android store and the app is still under heavy development, but it looks like it will be highly integrated with Minfind and will install on up to five devices simultaneously for the yearly fee.
Website: "currently down"
While we are really sorry to see Mineraldesk go, we hope that the new Minfind app will be a worthy replacement. It's hard to tell at this point if the app creators are really interested in developing a top-notch product, or if it's just a grab for more money being tied to their online mineral sales offering. Time will tell as they continue to struggle with poor long term execution.
Minfind SNAP Features Movie
Minfind SNAP Android App
MapRecord Publications was founded in 2002 by Jeremy Pool. A collector created it for collectors. The goal of the company is to offer versatile software solutions to collectors in all categories - maps, books, toys, glass, wine, cameras, dolls, jewelry, coins, movies, guns, classic cars, comic books, sports memorabilia, vintage photographs, militaria, figurines and more. Recollector offers an array of features designed to organize, catalog, and record your entire collection.
This software is mature and seems to have a large user base. It has been reviewed and recommended by many people. Like nmCollector, it is not designed primarily just for collecting Minerals or Fossils, it is set up to manage multiple types of collections through multiple templates and screens. It's easy to upload existing spreadsheets, attach image files to your item records and export your collections to spreadsheets and custom reports.
Input your collection on your Mac or PC, then download the free Recollector App for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android phone or tablet and view it on-the-go. It's a great reference tool for auctions, antique shows, or any place you need an easily accessible record of your collection.
The Online User's Guide provides in-depth information on how to use the software. Learn how to define a new collection, import or export a collection, add information to an existing collection, upload images and more. In addition they offer multiple video tutorials. Several users have commented that the developers are responsive and listen to their community plus a new version is scheduled to be released about every 18 months.
Recollector seems to have enough power to manage collections for the beginners through to advanced professionals and its database is responsive and easy to back up. It is very flexible and will allow you to make it what you want for a collection database.
The company does offer a free trial period and the software is easily downloaded from their website. If you decide to purchase Recollector, its cost is $49 as of this review. They also have training videos on how to install the software and get up and going on their website and youtube.
Recollector Introduction Video
Recollector Mobile Device Training
TriloBase is a professional, well-designed, easy-to-use program for the PC is the ideal tool to manage your collection. You can enter all the data like reference number, collecting site, name, description, size, bibliography, etc... Multiple photos can be entered with each item.
All kinds of fossils can be entered in the database: Ammonites, sea urchins, trilobites, belemnites, brachiopods, sponges, corals, graptolites, shark teeth, plants, etc... Every fossil of your collection has its place in Trilobase. The geological time scale and the most popular taxonomical tables are included.
For each artifact, you can enter the type, material, the period or age, how it is discovered, the dimensions, weight, etc. An artifact can be a stone age material, medieval pottery or coins... Even paintings and other antiquarian objects can be entered without problems in the database.
Every mineral of your collection has its place in Trilobase. All the mineral properties can be entered manually or they can be selected from a list of more than 3000 valid and approved IMA mineral names and a link to the popular Mindat database is included.
You can install Trilobase on any Windows PC (Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1, Windows 10).
A minimum of 4GB of memory and 50GB of free disk space is required. Unfortunately, there are no plans for Mac OS or mobile versions at this time. Without it being somewhat cross-platform compatible the user base is more limited and without any mobile app, you will need to take notes on anything you pick up to enter it in later.
Trilobase is not commercial software. It is developed and maintained by an amateur fossil collector who is also a professional IT application leader. You can install and test the full program without registration code, but it is limited to 100 records.
If you are satisfied with the program you can obtain the registration code in 2 ways:
You can pay by Paypal to the program's author or you can arrange to do a trade of a fossil, mineral or artifact. The program costs $16, but we found it interesting and unique that the program owner was willing to trade for the use of the software.
Overall, the website information on the program is good. Some videos on its use are missing but it does have a user's guide that can be downloaded in advance to become familiar with the program before installing it. It looks to be very easy to learn database with an intuitive interface.
The left part of the screen is the menu with the following sections:
The buttons in the lower right corner are the "Languages" and the "Settings" menus.
You can add up to 99 images (photos) to each single item in the database. Just drag and drop the photo's or "double-click" to open the file manager. A new thumbnail of each photo is added to the detail window.
With the toolbar you can highlight regions, draw rectangles and ellipses, insert other images or photos, draw lines and arrows, add text and sticky notes, freehand drawing and crop the image.
The color and size of the drawing tools can be changed here.
An unique feature of Trilobase is the ability to add scalebars to the images. Decimal and Inch scalebars are included.
Geology (era, period, epoch, age). Click the "..." button to open the geologic timescale.
Taxonomy of the fossil. Click the "..." button to open the taxonomic tables of the most frequent fossils (trilobita, ammonoidea,belemnoidea, brachiopoda,crinoidea,...). 19 taxonomic tables are included.
Details: date and method of acquisition.
Rating: click on the stars to give this fossil a rating
Images: Drag & drop images here. Up to 99 images can be stored.
Description of the fossil
Collecting site (drag & drop the collecting site here
Comments. Free space to enter what you like.
Drag & drop the storage here
Drag & drop the groups here
Select an action:
Add / Delete / Rename fossil
Display Geological time scale / taxonomic table / bibliography
Add fossil to the print queue
You can easily enter the collecting sites in Trilobase. You can enter the type of site (quarry, natural exposure, road works,...), the route, contact information,etc...If you know the coordinates (in decimal format), you can open Google maps or Bing maps directly from within Trilobase to show you the exact location on the map (internet connection required) about the collecting site.
Collector - Minerals
Only Available on the Apple App Store, this MacOS only program can be purchased for only $8. It looks to be a good purchase if you're looking for a cheaper alternative and you're on a Mac. It gives you the options for importing and exporting data to other collections, has a gallery and list view, allows you to organize your collection into multiple "showcases", and has no limitations on the number of records. However, there is little information on the type of database or how support issues are handled.
As a Mac-only solution, the interface looks like it is well thought out, but we have no direct experience with using the software and there is no trial period to see if it works. But for 8 bucks, it could be very well worth it.
Available on: OS 10.7 or later, 64 bit-processor
Seller: Carsten Kuemritz - Berryco Software
Personal Database Software
There are a number of easily customizable database software offering out there. These are programs like Microsoft Access, Filemaker Pro, and Knack. These database software builders are not designed to do anything other than allow you to create the kind of database you might want to have for keeping track of your collection. Many businesses use Microsoft access to create all kinds of small databases for tracking all sorts of things. If you are willing to roll up your sleeves and learn about database creation, then this would be a good project for you. The software listed here might be expensive for some, but they offer free trials and reduced priced offers. There are free offerings like MySQL and cloud-based solutions too, but with anything free, you're pretty much on your own to figure it out. Make sure you look at which platforms are supported like Mac or Windows depending on your needs.
Microsoft Access is a database management system(DBMS) from Microsoft that combines the Relational Microsoft Jet Database Engine with a graphical user interface and software-development tools. It is a member of the Microsoft Office suite of applications, included in the Professional and higher editions, or sold separately. It is also a member of the Microsoft 365 suite. The latest versions have more protections. A trial version of the software is available.
A Microsoft Access Database Starter Kit programed by one of our members. Runs on Windows only. Click on the Icon to download a blank template as seen above.
By leveraging Knack’s intuitive no-code platform and expert builder network, people can quickly build custom applications that collect and manage data, automate processes, and move solutions online.
Knack helps non-programmers easily build beautiful, data-driven web apps. Data can be imported from spreadsheets and converted to an online database.
Tools like search, forms, and tables are used to build web apps that work with your data. Apps can be published to any site and adapted to the surrounding design. Multiple versions can be published to different sites and for different purposes.
Knack offers an online community, an Online Knowledge base, Templates, Apps, and Developer Documentation to build your own custom Mineral tracking database that does what you want it to do.
An Example of Knack's Intuitive Metadata Fields
Workgroup DESktop Software Solutions
This short section is devoted to those who work at a museum or possibly a business that wants to manage its collections with what we would call workgroup software. There are many software solutions out there that are termed "DAMs" or Digital Asset Management Systems. One of the criteria of a DAM is the ability to easily create your own metadata or informational fields (tags) and create the forms to enter the information with. The awesome power of a DAM is that it allows you to digitally catalog anything in just about any way you want to, but the bad thing about a DAM is that you have to build it from scratch to make it what you want.
These solutions are powerful enough to have multiple people logged in together, working on various records at the same time and most have the ability to publish all this content in the form of PDFs or websites. Access passwords can be set up to determine who can see what or who can enter or alter records. For businesses who are selling collections or Museum Curators, the following programs would and should be of interest to you to help manage your business. There is a virtual sea of DAM companies out there, but we picked these two as a good place to start.
The Portfolio Server Solution is a powerful tool for demanding records-keeping workflows. Built on open, industry-proven technologies, it easily integrates with your existing infrastructure. Portfolio Server remains the only robust DAM solution that can be deployed in hours (not months) and is user-friendly enough for instant adoption by end users.
Currently, the server edition of Portfolio is only priced out by Extensis and they work with you to create the software/hardware solution you need to do the job.
There are personal editions of Portfolio floating around but most of them are out of date. Cost can be anywhere from $150.00 to $2000 of the server edition plus hardware, but you will start using it quickly.
It has an easy to use web building tool called net publish that makes it very easy to share collections on the web.
While Portfolio is not specifically built to do collections, it has more than enough power to do the job without much effort.
Extensis Portfolio Sizzle Preview
Cumulus is a popular, enterprise-grade digital asset management platform that offers digital right management and many backend connections, including Adobe Photoshop and Office Programs, and more.
Cumulus is designed as a client/server system developed by Canto Software. The product line includes editions targeted to smaller organizations and larger enterprises. The product makes use of metadata for indexing, organizing, and searching.
Cumulus servers run on macOS, Windows, and Linux systems. Cumulus client software is available for Mac, Windows, web browsers and iOS.
Pricing and information on how to set up Cumulus are best done by contacting one of their sales team personnel. Any solution always requires a software/hardware combination to work properly, but this software is very versatile.
With the proper people in place, this DAM solution can do a lot for any mid-sized to large organization.
Cumulus Sales Video
Enterprise Collections Software Solutions
The Museum System (TMS) is the world’s leading collection management software, handling every facet of collections both large and small, from objects and exhibitions to insurance policies, shipping activities, and more. Gallery Systems has developed collections management software and web publishing solutions for the finest cultural institutions throughout the world for over 30 years. We are dedicated to helping our clients constantly improve the way they manage and share their collections with their communities.
The Museum Systems suite of software offerings:
Multilingual Collections & Archives Management
Capture and manage all of the data related to your collection. Object information, as well as records for the people and organizations connected to those objects, can be cataloged and cross-referenced across all TMS modules. Accurately track your collection terms with easily configurable attributes, and a dynamic, integrated thesaurus. Instantly search through your entire collection, or save complex searches to find exactly what you are looking for. TMS also supports 22 languages.
Intuitive Exhibition and Event Management
Efficiently plan and manage your exhibitions. The Exhibition module seamlessly integrates with the Loans and Shipping modules in TMS, giving you insight into the full scope of your upcoming shows. You can also track an unlimited range of events such as lectures, openings, and previews; all cross-referenced to other TMS modules. Complex workflow is intuitively organized.
Dynamic Custom Reports and Forms
With TMS, you have access to over 200 pre-configured reports, including loan agreements, catalog texts, condition reports, and exhibition checklists. This information can be quickly exported to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Easily create data entry forms and workflow-control fields tailored to your specific processes and requirements. We also offer custom report building services to further support your exact requirements.
Simplified Media Management
TMS delivers full Digital Asset Management (DAM) functionality and creating new media records in TMS is a snap. Automatically import media metadata, control access to images at different resolutions, and manage document transcriptions, including content and document indexing and searching. Over 100 media formats can be read and managed in TMS.
Integration of Systems
Access your data any time, from anywhere. TMS runs on industry-standard database management systems, so it integrates easily with other enterprise systems. Fully standards-compliant, TMS adheres to international standards in the cataloging, management, and interchange of collections data. The Object Importer works with Excel spreadsheets or XML files for quick data entry and batch importing.
Let TMS help you with the behind-the-scenes work. Easily track and manage insurance policies and set up automatic policy renewal alerts. Manage all outgoing and incoming loans with ease. Simplify shipping by creating plans, reports, and receipts in TMS. Even information about geographical locations and buildings related to the collection is at your fingertips.
The Museum Systems Collections Manager Features Video
Website at: https://www.gallerysystems.com
Version 5.0 is packed with tons of features to help simplify and streamline all aspects of collection and contact management. Check out the sample screens and videos to get an idea of what PastPerfect 5.0 offers.
Designed by museum professionals for museum professionals, PastPerfect offers desktop and cloud‑based software that combines collection and contact management into one easy‑to‑use software package. First released in 1998, PastPerfect has transformed how museums of all sizes catalog collections and manage relationships with members and donors. Contact us to see how PastPerfect can help your organization achieve its goals while saving time and money.
PastPerfect Museum Software is an application for collections archiving. It is designed for museums but may be used by various institutions including libraries, archives, and natural history collections. PastPerfect allows for the database storage of artifacts, documents, photographs, and library books. PastPerfect is utilized by over 9000 museums nationwide.
PastPerfect was introduced in 1998 as the primary product of the then Pastime Software Company Inc. It was released in version 2 later the same year, updated to version three in 2001, and then to version four in 2004. It updated to version five in 2010, which remains the most current edition of the program. Pastime Software Company eventually changed its name to PastPerfect Software Inc. after 2007.
PastPerfect operates with four basic catalogs for sorting collections material. There is the archive catalog for storing documents, the photograph catalog for storing photos, tintypes, paintings, etc.; the objects catalog for storing three-dimensional artifacts, and the library catalog for storing books that would be included in the institution's library. Images can be uploaded into the catalog, with multiple photos per record. It also stores donor information, and automatically generates Deed of Gift forms and thank you letters upon completing certain steps of the accessioning process. Certain extensions allow for the inclusion of Oral History records and transcripts and there is an additional online function that allows institutions to digitize their collections and make them free to browse on the internet.
PastPerfect also contains a contact list function, for storing donors, members, and employee contact information in a similar catalog format as the rest of the program.
Office Software Solutions
While it might seem quaint or overly simple to manage a collection in a spreadsheet or even a word processing program like Microsoft Word, millions of people have direct access to office software in some form through work or even on their home computer. Many manufacturers bundle office software on the cheaper desktop PCs and in the spirit of using what you have, why not use it? Many of us have tracked very important projects for corporations using nothing more than a spreadsheet that lives in a folder on a server somewhere. There is no reason that anyone, with a bit of knowledge, cannot simply create their own spreadsheet or page layout to track their mineral, fossil, or another type of collection.
Most people just lack a bit of knowledge on how to set it up from scratch or need someone to get them started in the right direction. Well...because we're so cool, we decided to post a little spreadsheet here for you in an excel format (.xls) and a Word document (.doc). Just about any office suite should be able to read this in and convert it to their own spreadsheet format, so feel free to grab this and start cataloging away. With a bit of work, you can make it your own and customize it to your taste.
Excel Spreadsheet Starter for Mineral Collectors
Microsoft Word Selling Doc for Mineral Collectors
Microsoft Power Point Starter for Mineral Collectors
If you're looking to get some free software, there are great options out there. Just follow the links below and decide which one suits you the most.
With LibreOffice, OpenOffice, and Microsoft Office, the software lives on your computer, and you can easily backup your files to another drive or personal cloud as a safety precaution. A cloud drive is very handy if you want to be able to access it on the road. Another great option is Google docs, which lives completely in the cloud, and can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection. It's really just a matter of deciding what works best for you or what your most comfortable working in. All these programs will work great on MacOS, Linux or Microsoft Windows.
Apple also has office tools for MacOS and iOS that allow you to export out to standard office formats and work very well on all Apple devices. Apple's suite of software is sometimes referred to as iWork which consists of Pages, Numbers and Keynote applications.
Google has apps to use Google Docs on Android devices as well as working on all the standard browsers.
Google Docs: https://www.google.com/docs/about/ (Free with User Setup)
LibreOffice: https://www.libreoffice.org (Completely Free)
Apache OpenOffice: https://www.openoffice.org (Completely Free)
Microsoft Office: https://products.office.com/en-us/try (Free Trial and then you Pay)
Apple iWork: https://www.apple.com/iwork/ (Pay to Use - Cost Varies per Device Type)
Page Layout Programs
2019 Adobe InDesign starter for Mineral Collectors (Template)
Another alternative idea to the office programs is page layout or design programs. There are many options out there for design and layout on your computer, the chief being the Adobe products. Now some of you might immediately think of Photoshop as the tool for building your own custom mineral tracker, but we wouldn't advise that. Instead, look to Adobe Indesign or an equivalent page layout program like Pages (Apple Macintosh Only) or even Microsoft Publisher (Windows Only). Adobe Indesign has the advantage of being cross-platform and generates PDF files for distribution very nicely. It also has the ability to export out HTML if you're into advanced CSS scripting and want to build out web content from a true powerhouse of graphic design prowess. Benefits are that you can design your page to look however you want and then use the Layout program like a book of your collection. Just print out the pages as a hard copy and keep a PDF as a backup. The hard part is learning the program. Indesign has a pretty steep learning curve, but the other programs you can pick up pretty quickly if you're computer savvy.
Because we are so awesome we have a link to an InDesign template file here for you to download and play with. Adobe offers a subscription plan to purchase its software online and it's not as expensive as you might think. Check here: www.adobe.com
cloud/saas Software Solutions
Where is the cloud? Who owns the cloud? Where is the cloud data actually stored at? Well, these are all good questions and frankly, it really doesn't matter. All that really matters is that you can get to your information when you need to. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have been creating warehouses of servers to store data for other people to use. For the most part, but not necessarily, you access to cloud data using your web browser. There are even whole companies that do nothing but store other companies data for them so that they don't have to invest in their own infrastructure. Companies like Box and Egnyte utilize cloud storage as a business plan to keep your data safe an accessible no matter what....that is as long as the network is up...and your paying for it.
So what is the downside? You subscribe to use it. Monthly or yearly payments to use their servers and interface. In return, you don't need to worry about backups, hardware or upgrades. Another main issue with cloud services is speed. It's only as fast as your best internet connection. Not a big deal if you're moving a few files around, but if your moving 100's of Megs of data, cloud storage becomes painful to use.
Another issue for many people is privacy. Most cloud services will encrypt your data so that it's not easily stolen, but if someone gets your password, well they can get in and look at anything you have stored out there. So if privacy is paramount or you're dealing with large files, best to stick to desktop collecting solutions and use the cloud just for backup.
If you want to collaborate with many people, not ever worry about hard drive crashes or not being able to get to your data when your traveling, then a cloud solution might be great.
Below are some great places to start looking for SaaS based collecting solutions.
From the Friends of Minerals Forum Website on Setting up a Collection Using their Database:
We have created a section on the forum: "Collection photos and Collector's page" whose aim is to allow all collectors who wish to publish pictures of specimens in their collection. The idea is for each collector/collection to have a single thread where they can, as much as the collector wishes, add new images using the "Write a response" button. Thus the images of each collection will be grouped, creating a virtual tour. That way a collector can display their collection to everybody and we will be able to enjoy it.
They offer a service to their subscribers to be able to create new posts and add pictures so that this becomes a kind of personal collection. If you are interested in looking into their services to be able to do this, you can follow the link above or below to get connected to their excellent website and start participating. This should be considered a site for the well educated and is not for beginners or novice collectors unless you're looking to learn.
Main Page: http://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/
Mindat.org is a Premier website that offered resources and information to the globe. Once you sign up to become a member they have a path for you to be able to upload your own pictures and data.
From their website:
Want to add your own photos and data?
If you would like to be able to add your own photographs, contribute data to the site, write blog entries and articles on mindat.org, you will need to have your account approved by site management. In order to do this, please fill in the box below and your request for access will be dealt with normally within 48 hours. You can check back on this page for progress regarding your request. If you just want to post questions and photos on the message board, you aren't required to do this.
Access Request Form
Please enter a brief description of what you would like to upload and contribute to this website - for example, please enter details of the type of photos you wish to upload or your particular knowledge of minerals that you wish to contribute.
Doing this does not guarantee that you will be able to set up your collection on Mindat, but it can be an option for those who are interested in contributing.
Related Topic : Mining and Mineral Resource Management Software
MineralSoft is the leading software platform for managing minerals, royalties, and mineral interests exclusively focused on building solutions that help the owners of these resources maximize their value.
Mineralsoft is not a software for organizing a collection of minerals per se; instead, think of a software suite that is designed to run a mineral business. More like running a gold mine or an oil drilling site than just documenting a collection.. It offers a document management system, Analytics tracking, revenue/expense, and ROI tracking as well as workflow tools and automation of redundant tasks.
Their customers include leading investment funds, foundations and endowments, corporations and institutions, family offices and trusts, and individuals.
Wonderware is a modern and safe choice for mining operations and information management. They have decades of experience serving the industry and offer one of the broadest and most current software portfolios. More than 6,700 mine sites globally now use Wonderware software to help them accelerate their return on assets.
Enables operational excellence across your organization
Organizations from many different industries choose Wonderware because they satisfy the concerns of plant management, engineering, production and IT staff alike. Their SCADA-HMI software enables operational excellence across all industries, empowering customers with better insight into the economics of their operations, the basis for real-time performance management.
Connects to virtually any automation system or device
Unlike many HMI providers, Wonderware is hardware agnostic; that is, it is not tied to specific hardware. We work with all DCS, PLCs, and RTUs from Modicon, Allen-Bradley, Emerson, Foxboro, GE, Siemens, and hundreds of others. And as the Internet of Things blossoms, we remain committed to facilitating your interaction with anything else you might need to succeed.
They Offer integration of systems through Human/Machine Interface design, data collection and analysis, reporting tools, and manufacturing and production management systems controls and service the chemical industries through to Life sciences.
Surfer is a contouring and 3D surface mapping software program that runs under Microsoft Windows. The Surfer software quickly and easily converts your data into outstanding contour, surface, wireframe, vector, image, shaded relief, and post maps. Virtually all aspects of your maps can be customized to produce exactly the presentation you want using Surfer software tools. Producing publication quality maps has never been quicker or easier. It has been around since 1983 and is constantly being developed by Golden software.
They offer a quick-start guide, a free trial period, and online video training with live online support.
Surfer Free Trial: http://www.goldensoftware.com/products/surfer/trial
Surfer Topographic Screen Shot
Surfer Training Video
Other ideas for Digitizing your collection
Build Your Own Website:
With the advent of BYO website tools like Wordpress, Wix, and Squarespace, creating your own website to organize your collection might appeal to a certain group of collectors. Especially those who are looking to start a business. While it might seem like a daunting idea to build your own website, it can become something that helps promote your inner geek or to build a growing e-commerce business. This would be a SaaS and you would need to make sure that you set up the pages of your collection to be password protected, but this is easily done with most of these tools.
Start your own Wiki:
Services like Dukuwiki and MediaWiki are great places to build out your own database that resembles something like Wikipedia but just for you. You can make them private or password protected and set them up the way you want. You can even get the software to do this yourself on your own computer. It's like making your own encyclopedia for just your collection and interests. Not all wikis are created equal and you should make sure that you can set up a private wiki before posting anything that you don't want others to see.
Hybrid Solutions: (Your Personal Cloud or NAS device)
Another great option that is relatively recent in terms of technology is purchasing your own personal cloud storage device. Generally speaking, when we think of the cloud, we think of networks of servers used to store data that can be accessed from your device using a web browser. In reality, however, all that’s really required is that you’re able to access your files online rather than having to store everything on your home computer’s hard drive and use the file system of your operating system to get to the information.
These devices are often referred to as a NAS, which stands for Network Attached Storage. This is something you can set up yourself and is yours to configure how you want. There are many companies who will sell you the hardware, which is basically a small server with a web interface portal so you can access your files anywhere in the world (as long as you can get to the web). This gives you some options for having the best of both worlds. You can put your files on your cloud device which keeps them very private but still have the ability to get to them from a web browser.
Personal cloud storage means you don’t need to worry about cloud storage services scanning your file metadata. Having such devices on hand also means never losing access to your files as long as the web is up and running.
However, picking the right device takes time. There are many NAS devices to choose from and potentially quite a bit of money at stake. We’ll try and spare you some of the trouble by listing some top picks for personal cloud storage devices that will help you create an excellent home media system or could be part of a comprehensive backup strategy. We do want to point out that this approach isn’t for everyone: if you’d rather subscribe to a service that does the work for you, make sure to check out the best cloud storage providers comparison chart.
Article Link: Top 10 NAS Device Comparison Chart for 2018 at Techradar