Analog Record Log of Records

I love vinyl records. I’ve always kept small stacks in my room since I was a teenager. In the past years I’ve started collecting again. Despite the benefits of a good Spotify playlist, I’m drawn to records. It’s a tactile experience and encourages mindfulness.

Saturday morning, it dawned on me "this copy of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour that I’m sharing with the kids has a story." I have a couple of records that belonged to my mom, their grandmother. Listening to it connects us with the past. I don’t want to lose those stories.

As digital as I tend to live, it felt right to hand log the stories of the records. I’m using a nice Rhodia notebook and a Japanese Pilot fountain pen. Here’s how I’ve decided to chronicle the details of the collection.

Identify each record
Place a number sticker on the inside of each leaflet. I buy records to play, not to preserve. Still, I don’t want to mar them permanently. I used a label maker to make a list of numbers and put one on the inside lip of each jacket cover.

I don’t tag them in an order. The number is a simple way to trace the record (when in hand) back to notes I’ve written about it.

Capture details
Write some lines about each album that may be interesting in the future. I try to imagine my grandkids in 50 years asking "hmm, I wonder my grandpa got this one? Was it significant?" A few details I include:
  • Did I buy it new?
  • Where was it acquired?
  • When did I get it?
  • Was there a story connected to getting it (on a trip, in a particular season, given to me by someone, found on a memorable vacation)?

If I don’t know exact details, that’s ok. I estimate and mark a "?" next to any fuzzy dates.

Sometimes I find a batch of records and buy a them together. Connect the dots by linking one listing to another related listing. For instance, record [7] and [15] come from the same batch. When I document [15], I reference back to [7] with a note instead of writing the details out again.

Leave two lines below each entry for future notes. I’m not sure what will go there but I’ve made space for some future logs. I might start to rate the records or log new significant events. Perhaps I’ll give the record away and want to note where it went. I left space for that and any possible future thoughts.

And that’s about it. I started this chronicling project during the 2020 "shelter in place" season and it seems fitting.