What is Game Cataloging?

Having a library of over a thousand board games is impressive and takes up a LOT of space. Cataloging 1000 games is a whole other adventure. Since last June, folks who have asked to help volunteer for Spielbound have been gathering around twice a month to catalog games. This is not a simple task as several steps are needed to get an unopened game readied for members and patrons to play at our board game cafe.

Step 1. Unpackaging the game

Spielbound volunteers taking a crack at Doom

Spielbound volunteers taking a crack at Doom

Sure, this is one of the fun parts. Removing the plastic and being able to pop out all of the cardboard pieces. But we don't stop there. We take a look at the instructions to determine how many of each piece should be in the box and ensure we have the right amount. Then...

Step 2. Sort, separate, bag, and label all pieces.

QBert overseeing the game labelling.

QBert overseeing the game labelling

This usually requires reading enough of the rules to understand the most convenient way to keep the game pieces separated. We have over 30,000 plastic bags to keep the pieces and label each bag individually so you know what game it belongs to and what pieces go in it and how many of each should be there. Our goal is to make it easier to get a game out and to put it back for the next person. After every so often when a game is checked out, we'll have our volunteers double-check that all the pieces are still there in case we need to replace pieces, tape the box, or print out new rules. We have other guidelines, but I'll spare you the details.

Step 3. Store boxes for safekeeping, update website with game details.

QBert guarding the cataloged games

QBert guarding the cataloged games

1,000 games really do take up a LOT of space. We have them packaged in large boxes and covered in a plastic tarp with a dehumidifier in a couple of volunteer basements. On our library website, we have a slowly growing list showing 815 of the 930 games that we have cataloged so far. Here you can find many details about each game including multiple descriptions, a picture, reviews, and sometimes the actual rulebook manual. When we open you'll be able to see the games that you played at Spielbound through your own account (you can actually make an account now to test it out).

According to our volunteer coordinator, it has taken over 500 hours of volunteer time to catalog the games we have so far. I'll cover volunteering in a future update.  So that's game cataloging!