Digital archiving of a collection of
ceramic beer bottle caps

It is important to keep an overview, if one owns a collection of more than 7000 ceramic beer bottle caps. For this purpose I use the following aids:

  • A complete set of picture files of all ceramic caps in my collection
  • An Excel table containing supplementary information regarding these ceramic caps

Pictures of all ceramic caps

Using a scanner I prepare pictures of all ceramic caps of my collection. Details about this process you can firnd here. The names of the picture files are based on a very strict scheme as follows:

  • City where the brewery is/was located
  • Name of the brewery, as it is printed on top of the ceramic cap, wherein I add the term "brewery" to this name, in case it is not printed onto the ceramic cap; the picture file names of British caps will be supplemented by the term "brewery", German caps will be supplemented with the term "Brauaerie", French caps with "brasserie", etc.
  • In case the cap has also printed a characteristic abbreviation on it, this is also added to the name
  • The number of the ceramic bottle caps, starting with"1"; in case there exists already o ceramic cap with exactly the same name (but for example in another color or with a different type of font, etc.) I assign the next number, namely "2", etc.
  • In case the ceramic cap is broken and the lower tip is missing, I add to the end of the ficture file name the term "fuss" ("fuss" meaning "foot" in German and describing the lower tip of a ceramic bottle cap)
  • Also, if the hole of the ceramic cap cotains remains of rusty wire, I add "draht" (German for "wire") to the end of the picture file name
  • Betweeen each of these parts of the picture file name I place a "_", except  before the numbereing. Special characters such as the German "ä" or "ß" are replaced by "ae" or "ss", etc.

    Ecamples of picutres obtained using a scanner
The three ceramic caps in the picture above would be named as follows:
  • muenchen_hofbraeu_hb1.png
  • sacrau_brauerei1_fuss_draht.png
  • newcastle_reid_and_co_ltd_brewery_r1.png
These picture data files I store in a single folder on my computer. For searching a certain ceramic caps I use the "search" fuctionality of my computer and limit the search to the folder containing the picture data files of my collection. For this purpose I use an Apple computer, which have a very fast search fuctionality. If a folder with about 7000 picture files is searched, the result typically is shown in below one second. As it is possible to show the search result in the form of small thumbnails of the picture files, it is possible to easily choose the right search hit, in case the search gives several hits.

Because of the detailed picture file names I can use the following information contained therein for my search:
  • City where the brewery was located
  • Name of the brewery
  • Parts of the name of the city or brewery
  • Abbreviations, which are printed onto the ceramic cap
In order to do a fast search on a windows based computer, a specialized software may be useful, which software indexes the piture file names in a database, in order to make them more faster searchable. Supposedly the software "Copernic Desktop Search" is suitable for this (Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7). This software is freeware (with advertisings shown in the software windows) and got on a rating of 3 cows and a popularity of 91% (as of 12. Sep. 2011).

Excel table with supplementare information

Information not directiyl contained in the picture file names, I store in an Excel table. This table among others contains the following types of information:

  • Land
  • Name of the brewery
  • City where the brewery was located, excactly as it is written on the ceramic cap
  • Current city name of e.g. pre-war ceramic caps from cities, which today belong to poland, e.g. Wroc?aw (Polish) / Breslau (former name of the same city in German)
  • Alternative city names in other languages, eg. Bruxelles / Brüssel (French and German names of Brussels), or in case in the region of the city there are or were commonly spoken more than one language, e.g. Strasbourg / Straßburg (French and German name of a city in Alsace, a region belonging now to France, but which during history changed several times beween Germany and France)
  • Region of the country to which the city belongs
  • Name of the picture data flile of the ceramic bottle cap
  • Shape of the cearmic cap, e.g. round shaped (Hutter-type in the US), square shaped, screw stopper, made from plastic, etc.
  • A set of information usef for automated generation of webpages

A number of information given in this Excel table is automatically inserted into the table buy use of Excel formulas. For example the country and the region directly can be deduced from the city. Also alternative names of cities are automatically obtained by use of Excel formulas (formula called "SVERWEIS" in the German version of Excel).

The methods, how webpages are automatically are generated using the pictures of the ceramic caps and the data of the Excel table are described in furhter chapters of this webpage.


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