On June 27 this year Discogs hit a historic milestone: 10 million Releases in the Database. With that many Releases we know the Database is complete and comprehensive in some areas, but there is still so much more to do. With the help of the Database Community we’ve identified that the 5 biggest gaps on Discogs are
- Asian Releases
- Latin American Releases
- Shellac records
- Cassette tapes
- 8-Track tapes
For SPIN this year we have a special focus on filling those gaps.
See the full details and all the leaderboards here
Slightly less than ten years ago now, I was at a point in my life I’d describe as being “the abyss.” It wasn’t a significantly long period of time, but it was the worst of times. The great recession was in full swing and my post college plan of making rent by scraping dollar bins was petering out. Back I went, back to my folks place, back into the basement, back into the hazy faux wood panel cave. I was once again hiding in the shadows of holiday string lights.
Unlike many of my other choices made during this time, my decision to spend my time contributing every single piece of media I could get my hands on to the database worked out. I have always wanted to know what the big picture looks like. In those days, the database was still very much a bastion of electronic music. Hip hop, rock, funk/soul and other genres only had a handful of more well known titles. I wanted to know what lay in the darkness, so I fueled my proverbial lamp and contributed as much as I could.
If you are in dark room and shine a light on an object, you will only be able to illuminate part of it no matter how bright it may be. We need another source of light from a different angle to brighten the shadows. Contribution is very much like this as well. I have done a fair amount to illuminate the database. There is so much that needs illumination. There are so many different aspects of contribution to specialize in. Many people from different backgrounds can shine light together to expand our understanding.
From a lot of approximately 20,000 45s purchased back in the day for contribution.
There are many different genres of music that have very little information contributed. This is especially true for regional and traditional styles of music. If the material is in a language that’s unfamiliar to you, It might be challenging at first. With tools like google translate, character map/palette or browser plugins for special characters, you can help fill in these important holes. Experts in our community can help with this as well.
There is still much you can do if scouring the midwest for polka records doesn’t sound enticing and the music you know is already in the database. Consider updating matrix information, recording studios, credited musicians, or other data that may need illumination. The matrix area of a record or CD may be daunting at first. With experience, you can use that information to determine where the record was pressed. You can find out who was involved in the mastering process or if it’s an original pressing. This and other information will help you become a true expert on your collection. If have a scanner or camera, there are many submissions that would benefit from images. This way, other contributors can verify and update data without needing to ask owners or other contributors for confirmation.
I like the visualize the database in my head as a massive complex that’s always growing. Every release page is a room in this building. Some are big or small. Some have much more foot traffic than others. Some are brand new and shiny. Others are decrepit and in disrepair. They are all connected by hallways, doors, tunnels, elevators, etc. Those are the artist & label pages, master releases, or similar pages. Some connect only two rooms. Some connect thousands of rooms.
When you update information in the database, you’re helping build this complex. Every time you add a credit or a company to a release, you’re attaching that building to another hallway that people can access it from. If you are selling, it means more pages your items will show up for sale on. If you are collecting, it means you will see green collection dots grow in areas of the database you did not expect to see. These are portals to the massive hallways that connect over ten million of these different ‘rooms’ together.
With regular contribution and positive database interaction will open up the world of voting. This will allow you to contribute in a different way, as well. You can use your knowledge to help confirm information contributed others is correctly added. It will also allow you to disable invalid artist, label profiles, and voting on merges of duplicate items. The help forums are another fantastic place to share your experience. Even if you are not a seasoned contributor, real world experience can go a long way to help solve even highly technical discussions.
We are all architects of this great digital palace of knowledge. Together we can build and maintain this fantastic monument of historic knowledge for generations to come. Get involved now and help build this great archive for generations to come!