I worked quite a bit on the codebase of typewriterdatabase.com this weekend, building out the member’s Virtual Typewriter Collection Gallery stuff – it’s not quite ready to be rolled out for members to start uploading their collections, but it soon will be – maybe a week or two if I get some free time. If you visit there now, you will see some results from my testing, primarily if you go to the Smith-Corona or Hermes pages:
The “teaser thumbnails” you see are a 200x200px image cropped automatically from the center of the uploaded image. Primarily, I did this for layout reasons, to ensure that the thumbnail is an exact size no matter what size or height/width ratio the uploaded image might be, but I also find the teaser image encourages people to click to see the full-size image, so more visits to your collection gallery!
Clicking on the teaser thumbnail brings you to the gallery page for that particular machine:
You’ll be able to upload pretty much an unlimited number of images to each machine’s gallery. Each can be watermarked automatically, and they’ll appear below the main details section for the machine in a PrettyPhoto slideshow:
There will be a game to all of this of course. I have always intended for typewriterdatabase to be part game and part research tool. Hopefully the game aspect will encourage collectors to upload their collections plus collect data and photos for machines *not* in their collections, IE: machines they might have temporarily for repair, or machines they might spot in the wild at thrift stores and rummage sales. You see, your “Virtual Typewriter Collection” will be composed of 2 categories of machines:
1) Machines that you own in your physical collection
2) Machines that you do not own, and aren’t in your physical collection.
This encourages you to enter machines into the database that you may have gotten rid of, or never intended to buy or keep in your physical collection. This should considerably widen the dataset of machines entered, and allows you to “collect” machines virtually without having to own them and store them. This concept is similar to what many Typospherians do already, IE: go typewriter hunting with a camera, and collect pictures rather than machines. I simply want to expand this idea by encouraging these virtual typewriter hunters to collect serial numbers and typeface samples as well as photographs.
Now here’s the “game” part: when this goes live, machines you enter will be worth POINTS, with the number of points awarded being related to the amount of info you enter. Thus, if you collect and enter a serial number, that’s worth 5 points – adding a main front-facing photo is worth 5 points, adding a typeface sample is worth 5 points, and every photo you upload to the image gallery for the machine will be worth 1 point each, so a single machine can yield 20 or more points, if you are thorough in collecting photos and information. It won’t matter if you own the machine in your physical collection or not, all machines entered are worth the same amount of points. Let the virtual typewriter hunt commence!
Collecting points by entering lots of machines with complete data will get you a place on a leaderboard, and I haven’t firmed up what kind of virtual badges, trophies, hoo-dads or whatever will be awarded top “Virtual Typewriter Hunters”, but I expect that this will appeal to collectors, who will now have a fun game to play while browsing the flea markets. My hope is that this encourages a lot of participation and greatly expands the database of machine sightings for future research purposes.
An added benefit will be that you’ll now have a central place to show off your collection, and I have plans to set up an RSS feed so you can embed your collection into your own website, which would draw records and images from typewriterdatabase.com – lots left to do, but now you can get a small taste of where I’m headed with this project…