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A database test project of the Russian Numismatic Society has been initiated at rnsdb.x10.mx/rnsdb (case sensitive). Volunteers are sought to download and test 3 Microsoft Access 2007 databases for literature, coins and medals, beginning with literature.

 

This is a revisit of a computerization project in 1993 which was put aside for various reasons. The home page has all the information and links to the downloads of the software and readme instructions.

 

RNS members have been notified, but the project is open to all those fascinated with Imperial Russian numismatics.

 

Ron

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A computerization project of the Russian Numismatic Society has been initiated at rnsdb.x10.mx/rnsdb (case sensitive). Volunteers are sought to download and test 3 Microsoft Access 2007 databases for literature, coins and medals, beginning with literature.

 

This is a revisit of a computerization project in 1993 which was put aside for various reasons. The home page has all the information and links to the downloads of the software and readme instructions.

 

RNS members have been notified, but the project is open to all those fascinated with Imperial Russian numismatics.

 

Ron

 

Strange ... I have been a member since 2008 or so, yet I received no notification except for this forum posting...

 

If I can contribute my 2 kopeiki here, I would say:

 

1. Ditch MS-Access. It's not (and never has been) a full-fledged client/server RDBMS, and it is not going to like having lots of people access it from a website! If you are stuck with a Windows server, go with SQL Server instead. Better yet, migrate everything to MySQL if you are on a Unix/Linux hosting environment, and set up some pages using PHP.

 

2. I cannot test anything because I have used Linux practically exclusively since 2007. However, if you can extract the DDL necessary to recreate the database schemata perhaps in a different database (after some tweaking ... Access is infamous for its non-standard SQL implementation), then I would be happy to try it out!

 

3. Have you contacted Steve Moulding about this? He is more than knowledgable about database design, and he has been working in this area for some years now, IIRC (in addition to knowing more about Russian numismatics than just about anyone else on the forum, possibly with the exception of Bob Julian).

 

Good luck! :art:

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Thanks. I see you're in Switzerland. The letters went out Wed & Thrs so look for it early next week. Steve did run the test and provided many helpful ideas which I incorporated in the final design, but in the last analysis, he feels the system is too complex. Bob Julian was sent the files, but I never got any feedback so I doubt he ran the test.

 

As far as full fledged client server, you are correct. However, the idea is to migrate Access tables to SQL server while retaining the Access front end for queries, forms, modules and reports. Access supposedly can handle 20 and perhaps 80 or more simultaneous users, but it's not a full fledged transaction database, which is out of the question unless somebody is prepared to invest several man years in coding.

 

Even so, before coding could start, the codes, function, record layouts, screen and report formats etc have to be understood, agreed on and really nailed down. If nothing else, the Access tests should identify whether the function is what's needed. At least it's a stake in the ground. Computerization has been talked about for a dozen years, but as far as I know, has not gone anywhere, at least in a relational database sense of computerization.

 

Regards, Ron

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Even so, before coding could start, the codes, function, record layouts, screen and report formats etc have to be understood, agreed on and really nailed down. If nothing else, the Access tests should identify whether the function is what's needed.

 

As a database developer with 10+ years of professional experience, you really need to come to terms with the basic relational design of the schemata BEFORE doing any work on the front end (i.e. forms, reports, etc.)

 

We really need to see some DDL here.

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Thanks. I see you're in Switzerland. The letters went out Wed & Thrs so look for it early next week. Steve did run the test and provided many helpful ideas which I incorporated in the final design, but in the last analysis, he feels the system is too complex. Bob Julian was sent the files, but I never got any feedback so I doubt he ran the test.

 

As far as full fledged client server, you are correct. However, the idea is to migrate Access tables to SQL server while retaining the Access front end for queries, forms, modules and reports. Access supposedly can handle 20 and perhaps 80 or more simultaneous users, but it's not a full fledged transaction database, which is out of the question unless somebody is prepared to invest several man years in coding.

 

Even so, before coding could start, the codes, function, record layouts, screen and report formats etc have to be understood, agreed on and really nailed down. If nothing else, the Access tests should identify whether the function is what's needed. At least it's a stake in the ground. Computerization has been talked about for a dozen years, but as far as I know, has not gone anywhere, at least in a relational database sense of computerization.

 

Regards, Ron

 

Your letter just arrived today! :)

 

I have done some work myself towards setting up a database for my own collection. It's certainly not easy! And I collect only a very small subset of what might be possible (no patterns, not all periods or emperors, no jetons, no errors except some very few published varieties...and since they are varieties, maybe they aren't really errors?).

 

The project, as you describe it, would be a "one-stop service" for anyone interested in any aspect of (Imperial) Russian numismatics. I think it is probably too ambitious as such and might be difficult to realize considering that many important reference works might still be under copyright. And there are a myriad of different copyright laws depending on where and in which country each publisher resides, etc.

 

Take error coins, for example. This is a fascinating area with very little published documentation. It would certainly be a great service for collectors of error coins to have as much documentation, pictures, auction results, etc. in one place because there is so little of it elsewhere. Maybe start with this and expand later?

 

Also, I might add that every serious collector of Russian coins probably already has works by Uzdenikov, Bitkin, Brekke, the RNS supplements and maybe more modern additions to the literature. If you merely duplicate what is already there, you won't attract much interest from those collectors. Some websites, such as the Russian site "Monetniy Dvor", are attractive because they concentrate mostly on auction prices but also have fantastic images and are relatively complete ... however, not necessarily scholarly like Brekke, Julian, Uzdenikov, RNS publishings, etc.

 

Of course, I hope you realize that I am playing the "devil's advocate" here. If the project succeeds, it would certainly be sensational! And I would certainly be willing to contribute some (limited) time and effort. I do have a laptop around here somewhere with Windows XP, but Office is not installed on it. I will try to install the runtime components (and if I have any hard drive space left after that, maybe I can actually open the Access databases). ;)

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LOL. Thanks for the update. Some of my observations

 

1. I'm not a database professional. I'm a retired IBMer who had time on his hands to develop 4 desktop Access applications for his own use

2. The lit, medals, coins databases and a photograph record & related music collectibles started with Dbase in the mid 1980's, converted to Access 1.0 in 1993. The function you see today was esentially completed in 1993....no schemata, no DDL except out of my head and the databases evolving to do exactly what I personally thought should be done. It was a done deal in 1993

3. It then occurred to me to offer up the 1993 RNS computerization project to see if what I thought were the functions were what others thought also, and whether volunteers would want to enter the huge amount of missing data

4. That's where it stands today, with the databases redesigned but essentially still a stand alone desktop database

5. I'm fully aware of the distain many database professionals hold for Access. You and Steve think alike. But I'm also aware that many feel that for a small number of users, smaller size databases, no mission critical data, etc it works fine as a combined development platform and jet database engine. Also, with extensions such as SQL stored tables, Access Projects, etc it can be significantly extended. We're not talking a Bank of America transaction processing system here

6. There's no sense even worrying about any of Access showstoppers for on line simultaneous processing until feedback comes in as to whether there's any interest in the project. If there's isn't, it's acedemic and goes back to what it has always been....a desktop database which meets my needs

7. If there is any interest in continuing on to coins and medals, then could begin an evaluation of the "schemata" DDL. The only thing that can work for me is some extension of Access, eg SQL tables or Access Projects to get rid of Jet, as I'm 76 and I don't have enough time left for a rewrite for full SQL client server you favor. If Access won't do it, maybe a volunteer would, but it won't be me.

8. As I said before, Access is great for putting together the function to give others something tangible to evaluate. To try and do a collective DDL, specs, display format, table content, etc would be impossible. A stake in the ground is what's needed to get the ball rolling, and unless somebody has something better to offer, the 3 test databases are it

9. As far as copyrights go, the literature database is there only to list the author/titles/years, not the actual contents. These are used for referenceing coins and medals, but the most important for listing the auctions in order to enter prices data. I see no copyright issues at all except for one noted on the Forum of being able to use Severin numbers. I can't release the coin database until that is resolved.

 

Thanks for your input.

 

Regards, Ron

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2. The lit, medals, coins databases and a photograph record & related music collectibles started with Dbase in the mid 1980's, converted to Access 1.0 in 1993. The function you see today was esentially completed in 1993....no schemata, no DDL except out of my head and the databases evolving to do exactly what I personally thought should be done. It was a done deal in 1993

 

Those were the days ... I started with Access 2.0 back in 1993 or 1994; Gateway (don't exist anymore, I think) had a special offer for a PC with Windows 3.1 and MS-Office 4.3 pre-installed. Before that, I had a used IBM-XT with a Hercules graphics card and memory expansion board which could run CP/M programs like WordStar and a flat-file database called "File Express". The PC cost me about $1,000 -- 2nd hand! It is gathering dust in a closet somewhere. Apparently people collect them!

 

5. I'm fully aware of the distain many database professionals hold for Access. You and Steve think alike. But I'm also aware that many feel that for a small number of users, smaller size databases, no mission critical data, etc it works fine as a combined development platform and jet database engine. Also, with extensions such as SQL stored tables, Access Projects, etc it can be significantly extended. We're not talking a Bank of America transaction processing system here

 

Well, I think even for a quick mock-up, it is not much fun once you start getting corrupted databases. But this is seriously OT by now, so I'll be quiet.

 

As to Severin numbers, are you referring to Bob Julian's reference table? He maps Severin to his own numbers, I think. Don't have the book in front of me right now. But Severin was published a long time ago, certainly more than 50 years ago by now.

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today I received a letter from Ron, thank you

tried to log-in - nothing found

needs direction how to log-in and others

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another points

twenty years ago this project was in big demand

when I asked Mr Zander about it - it was surronded by mystery

nobody knew anything about it and etc

today I do not know who do you need it, who can participate, who will maitain all

there are so many informative websites in russian and engihs which were absent twenty years ago

including auction records and its valuable coin pictures

i do not mind to participate

i do not see the crucialpoints for it

what I need is website of RNS journal and an access to it

the journal itself is a valuable tools for all

the rest is searchable on web by these days

correct me if there some other points

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<<<<tried to log-in - nothing found needs direction how to log-in and others>>>

 

1. Can you go to the Forum and post your problem (with more description) in the section on Literature Database Problems downloading installing or Problems running. I can't tell where you're at in the process and it would allow others to help each other, particularly if they've been successful

 

2. With regards to RNS articles, the lit.accdr database lists the first 57 issues, and there's a memo field for the articles in each issue, and another memo field for the text of the articles. This would then be searchable. I found on a google search both the article index and for some of the issues, complete text. This would be a simple copy and past to put it in the lit.accdr database

 

3. With regards to the availability of images and auction prices etc on the internet this is true, but it's disbursed, not searchable, not sortable, not filterable, etc. Everything you've seen on the internet can go into the coins.accdr database, as there's a slot for everything.. Images, auction prices, articles, forgeries etc. Once there, it's at your fingertips in any sequence or filter you can think of.

 

4. With regards to Severin vs Julian, the reference codes in the coins.accdr database are Severin. Julian's book wasn't around in 1981 when I first started with Dbase but it would be trivial to convert to Julian numbers if that's more appropriate and would get around any copyright issues that might exist using Severin

 

5. With regards to Access SQL tables, as I mentioned it's academic to think about it.unless there's interest in persuing the project with coins and medals. There's some simple things easily done while still running the databases as a stand alone desktop

(a) Adding images would be trivial. All that has to be done is name the image file to the Access ID record of the coin/medal or literature item, send them to me, and put into a zip file for download and copy into C:/RNS/rnspics folder

(B) Forgeries with images could easily be added with a Julian number with f after it. and both the original and forgery compared in the coins.accdr database

© As I mentioned, loading Journal articles into lit.accdr is trivial

(d) However, when you get beyond that to say adding description, editing spelling of names, adding new auctions, adding auction prices, it gets impossible to coordinate centrally and at that point would have to go SQL remote internet, either with Access as a front end if it can handle the traffic or full SQL PHP port which would involve a complete rewrite. At least whoever would do such a non-Access port would have all the table/display/report/codes layouts all defined for him

 

6. The only way to have a common base for discussion is to install and run the literature demo, visualizing coins which would work the same way. Or at a minimum, look at the screen shots for both literature and coins.

7. It would be helpful if the kinds of discussions here could switch over to the Forum at the rnsdb website, as the forum is specifically designed for the computerization project.

 

Ron

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sorry again

i appreciate your effort to develop such web site

but even language you use above respond is not familiar to myself

more, have you ever visited m-dv.ru web site

pls do so and let me know what can be better than that

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That's an excellent site, although it's not a relational database. It would be most helpful to download the program, go through the readmelitv1.rtf and make a comparison of the function.

 

It's two different approaches

 

Ron

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Hi Ron, I don't know yet if this will be of use for me. I'm about your age and getting more and more reluctant to look into unfamiliar things :sorry:

See my collection below (link). If you think you can use the pictures, feel free to include any or all of them.

Sigi

(RNS#63)

 

-

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sigi, those are fabulous images......just fabulous. What's the secret to getting them so close up and sharp? For the test images, I just used my digital camera hand held with what I thought was a lot of light, but as you can see if you looked at the thumbnails, they're really mediocre.

 

It would be a breeze for a volunteer to code up the file name of each image with the Access Ref1 number from the database, mail them to me, and I could put them in a zip file for download and placement in C:RNS/RNSpics. I assume they would all map to a Brekke number.

 

I'd really like to those how those display while browsing the coin database,although I can't release the coin database until I answer the copyright issue with using Severin numbers

 

Regards, Ron

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these days almost every collector of russian coins can create his own database

or

use few easy accessable

plus

have auction catalogs, books,

journals of russain numismatic society

do we need more

I would say no for now

back to 1993 - as a i mentioned earier - it was high demand

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sigi, those are fabulous images......just fabulous. What's the secret to getting them so close up and sharp? For the test images, I just used my digital camera hand held with what I thought was a lot of light, but as you can see if you looked at the thumbnails, they're really mediocre.

 

Thank you, Ron. My images are just 3 scans each, put together with photoshop.

Regards, Sigi

 

-

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<<<these days almost every collector of russian coins can create his own database use few easy accessable

plus have auction catalogs, books,journals of russain numismatic society do we need more I would say no for now>>>

 

You may be right. It would be most helpful if you could give me some input

 

1. Have you downloaded and run the test?

2. In the creation of your own system or your collector fiends, are you all entering the same data over? Auction prices, images etc?

3. When you refer to each collector creating his own database, are you referring to a text base flat file approach or are you all using MS Access, MS SQL, or Oracle's MySQL?

 

4. That is, are your data records all comprised of codes representing the data....a code for czar, code for denomination, code for mint, etc with text being secondary or are they all entered as text? That is, are you able to sort, filter, extract, search your data in numerous ways. For example can you display the last 10 years of auction prices realized for 10K plate money?

 

6. What would really be helpful is if you could map your system, that of your friends, and the web sites you know against the following parameters allowed by a true relational database like Access or MS SQL and let me know your conclusions.

 

0. All data is entered only once and is thereafter available to everybody in the same format

1. Display of zoomable images

2. Ability to zoom display significant amounts of text (entire articles in fact)

3. Display data in various sort sequences eg czar, denomination, metal, year, value etc

4. Filter data for display eg metal, denomination, czar, novodels, medallist, year range, forgeries etc

5. Ability to compare an original with forgeries via zoomable images and extensive text narrative

6. Ability to display many items on one screen for rapid browsing or zero in on one specific item

7. Search on key words

8. Ability to enter auction prices via mouse clicks on item and condition factors

9. Ability to display auction price history by year or year range for a single item

10. Ability to display an auction by lot# to insure rare items have been captured

11. Ability to inventory a collection by mouse clicks on item and condition factors

12. Ability to generate printed or pdf reports using sort and filter criteria

 

The evaluation of the completeness of functions provided by the test database, the above comparison, and whether the system is too complex for general use is what I was hoping to get out of the effort

 

 

Regards, Ron

 

 

I

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sorry to tell but i tried home then at work and have no success to log in

so i am out for now however if i feel that my help can be needed - i will do my best to help

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<<<Take error coins, for example. This is a fascinating area with very little published documentation.>>>

 

Good point. I hadn't thought about that. i've added a code in the "original" code table (eg original, novodel, forgery, overstrike etc.) to accomodate error coins. Each could be given the Brekke/Severin ref1 number with an o appended, which would place it right next to the original so that images and narrative could be easily compared should the project make it to coins

 

Ron

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The 3 databases have been updated. Version 2 of lit.accdr, readmelitv2.rtf and revised review screenshots are available for download at the website. It appears laptops with Vista/Win7 but not XP will display screens correctly. Confirmation needed on this.

 

1. Cosmetic changes/clarifications/modified name filters. Log in no longer required. If the project goes anywhere, it will be open source.

 

2. RNS Journals 1-91 (alas the final issue) plus the index for issues 1-70 are now listed in the database, as well as some but not all of the RNS Newsletters from 1999 to 2010. I corresponded extensively with Ran Zander during the 1993 project. I wish he could see the fruits of some of his ideas which have worked into the databases.

 

3. Addition of a new Original classification code "w" & "x"---original or novodel with one or more known forgeries. This permits filtering both originals/novodels and their respective forgeries allowing a side by side comparison of images and identifying text

 

4. New full screen zoom for memo fields. This allows a full article, eg RNS etc to be read with minimal scrolling

 

5. Addition of hyperlinks in memo fields of Names, Master Records, and Prices. Memo fields now support rich text formatting....hyperlinks, bold, underline, color etc. This permits clicking a link to go to a web article on say Constantine Ruble, Mikhailovitch's visitor medal etc. 4 links I found for the test are included. Two in Names for GDM...a Wikepdia article on GDM and a royal family lineage link. One in Master Records for the Corpus to a coinpeople.com thread, and a link in the Hess #142 Tolstoi auction to a full pdf of the auction. Additional links would have to come from volunteer efforts listed as a task under topic Volunteer Tasks

 

The release of coins and medals is pending the outcome of the lit.accdr test and any Severin copyright issues. So far, nobody seems to have done the test or joined/posted to the Forum

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