This page shows the history of the site concept and how things have progressed over the years.
BC (Before collecting)
In some ways I was fairly late in producing HTML, starting in 2001. Before these times, I used the Commodore series of computers and used (for example) Amiga BASIC to create a series of pages to show what records I had. In those days, webpages were not well known and in any case I thought I had a fairly unique hobby of collecting BBC records, but including some other areas of collecting as well.
Before I started collecting records, I used to tape them off the TV and made some Christmas quizzes where I would play these tapes back and get people to say what the signature tune was from. As time passed I also started to ask additional questions based on the programme to make the quiz more 'fun'.
Also, I already had a few records from my parents, which I used to play frequently - especially 'MFP 50084 - Rupert and the Firebird'.
My first single!
The first single I brought wasn't a BBC record at all, it was 'MER 22 - Oops up side your head from the Gap Band' (not the re-release). I remember this one from a family holiday where this was included on a tape recording from the Radio 1 chart show from the time. The first BBC record I brought was from 1982, 'RESL 116 - BBC World Cup Grandstand' from Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
I didn't actually really start collecting until I moved to Norwich in 1983 and became friends with Richard who regularly brought records and I was getting a little bored waiting - he later formed several bands which you can find their output on this site. I therefore started to look in record shops at things I liked - especially as these recordings also included a 'middle eight' not normally played on TV and so the habit started. I started mainly collecting BBC singles and a few LP's where they had signature tunes to programmes the BBC produced at the time. From here onwards, I started regularly asking the BBC to send their catalogues (you can see some of them I still have on this site.)
As time passed, I quickly worked out that it was going to be difficult remembering what I already had. So the first 'page', which still exists today, was created to help - this is the BBC list page. This page has a listing of all items relating to the BBC and a listing of the cover, record, label details in a shortened 'code' so if I found one say in a record shop, I could quickly check whether I had that record and whether the one for sale was a better quality or not.
Next was another page still around today, although a little 'hidden'. This page listed all releases in a long list - however these were not split between the catagories like they are today. This is because in those days I didn't have enought for it to cause performance issues due to the sheer number of records I have today - these were printed for easier viewing. If you are wondering about the background colours of the records (like why the Stranglers are in red), the first printer I had only allowed for the eight colours - black (yes I know black isn't a colour), green, pink, orange, blue, purple, red and an unused colour of yellow. These 'types' have been retained ever since, even though these days I have no limits to the number of colours. I built a database version of this using first a Commodore Plus/4 then transferred it onto the Commodore Amiga A500 as the Plus/4 had a space limit of what you could get onto a 5 1/4 floppy disc (pre-runner to the 3 1/2.) Later I brought a hard disc for the 2nd Amiga I brought, the Amiga1200, the data was transferred using the latter 3 1/2 inch floppy disc.
PC (Move to using a PC - mid 1990's)
I moved onto using PC's as I got a fairly cheap one second hand, again from Richard! This has the advantage of being able to use things like Microsoft Excel, something I used at work. I copied all the data I had manually from the Amiga into a spreadsheet format which could easily be printed, but this was not easy to update as I had to update all pages manually.
Also at this time I got hold of a record book which listed a number of other releases I had no other knowledge of as the BBC didn't list deleted releases. I then added a line for all possible releases rather than just the ones I actually had. As this significantly increased the number of lines, the lists were separated into catagories for the first time. I also started recording where I had got the item from and how much it cost me - I had always kept the receipts so previous purchases had this detail - as well as what tracks each recording had (I never finished this before the transfer though!)
Web era - From 2001
I first leaned HTML as part of a job, and quickly used a manual webpage version to see what could be done. I still had the issue that it was manually updated. Moving to a database version was the obvious way to go and so I was quickly introduced to MySql a free database webpage software. I used this for allowing me to update all pages by just changing the one record, like I did in the Commodore days - much easier! I wrote a script which transferred CSV files from Excel into MySql entries and saved a lot of time not typing everything in again.
Originally I built the site so that sellers could view it and see they had something I wanted - I guess I was a little niave as who would be looking for a site like mine? So instead I changed it to something I could use. I noticed though a number of pages started appearing in search engines, so I guess others have been looking - especially cover images!
Since then, the pages design have changed a few times in an attempt by me to make them easier to read and so mobiles can view the pages better. Some of the older styles are still hosted if you know where to look! I hope you found the site interesting and useful.
What I am doing now?
As the 'welcome' page suggests, I still have a lot of items where the track details are not present and the covers have been 'borrowed' from other sites now I know other people also collect things like me. As time passes, so I add more of them - you can now see the last few entries I updated (thanks to another database table tracking what I update.)