The Costume Inventory Database has evolved quite a bit in the last few years and tracks more than just costumes (Props, Scripts, etc). Many customers who had both the Costume Inventory Database and the Pattern database wanted to connect their costume records with the pattern records. So to make the title of the database more accurate and to make the updates to the databases more consistent and timely I have upgraded the Costume Inventory Database – Elite into the Theatre Inventory Database.
There are many new features but the four most important are:
1) The Theatre Inventory Database has modules that can be installed or un-installed as you decide what you want. The database comes with the following modules installed:
Costume Pieces – Individual costume piece records. The costume piece records are much the same as before but can be linked to one or more productions. This option is in addition to the Performance Management / Ensembles feature that links Ensembles to Productions.
Performance Management – This was the Ensembles records but now includes the Production/Performance features that link Roles to Ensembles and Performers.
Props – This is the same props module as before but with a few more features.
Patterns – This module will track your pattern collection and link the costume and pattern records together. The Pattern Inventory Database is paid for separately from the Theatre Inventory Database.
Scripts/Scores – this module allows you to check out scripts, scores, and books to students / performers.
When you purchase your software the Software Registration Key will install the modules you have paid for.
All versions include the Productions and Rentals / Checkout modules. The different versions are:
Elite: Costume Pieces, Performance Management, Props, Scripts
Standard: Costume Pieces, Props
Patterns: this can be a Stand-alone database or installed in the Theatre Inventory Database.
2) You can set up a Log-in / User Security system. If you choose to turn on the Log-in feature everyone using the database will need to have a username and password set up by the database administrator. There are 3 levels of database access: Administrator (can do everything); Data Entry / Staff (can add / edit / delete costume/prop etc records but not update the users or utilities; and Read-only (these users can view data, do searches and print reports but not edit any data or utilities).
3) The database is split into two files – one for the data and one for the forms and reports. This setup will make the database much easier to administer on networks where there are multiple people using the database at the same time. It will also make it much easier for you to upgrade to a new version as they become available as the data will remain the same and the new forms / reports file will just link to your data.
4) The search results for Costumes, Ensembles, Props and Patterns can now be viewed as a Photo Gallery. You can see a photo from each record – 16 to a page. Each photo is identified by Tag ID/Pattern number.
The database is available to download now from the Costume & Theatre Inventory Resources website. Your data will need to be imported into this current version but that is easy to do – just contact me for assistance.
One other new update is that the User Guide is now in an online – searchable format. It is not complete but the costume chapters are mostly complete. Check it out here
Here is the full list of the new features:
New Features for Version 5
1) The Theatre Inventory Database comes with 5 modules: the Costume Pieces, Performance Management (Ensembles), Props, Sewing Patterns and Scripts modules. You can select which module to add/use/un-install. Simply purchase the modules you want, enter the Software Reg Key and get to work. The “Productions” and “Check-out/Rental” features are included for all modules. You will notice that the menus are cleaner with fewer options and that there are more menus. This was done to make it easier to accommodate having the modules (that could be installed and uninstalled) and allow for future versions of the database to add new modules without having to redesign the opening screens each time.
2) User Log-in / Security – The database administrator has the option to turn on security so users will have to log-in with a username and password. Users can have one of 3 levels of security: Admin (can do anything), Staff (can enter data but not update Utilities), and Read Only (view records, do searches, print reports). To turn this feature on, go to the Utilities/Company Information screen.
3) Photo Gallery – One of the options on the Search Results form is to view the photos of the selected records in a gallery format.
4) Spell Check – If your installation has the full version of MS Office (Access and Word) you can turn on the Spell check function. On the Costume Piece and Props screens you will see a small button to do a spell check on the page. If you are using the MS Access Runtime, the Spell check will not work. To turn this feature on, go to the Utilities/Company Information screen.
5) Database is split into two files – called a front end and a back end. The database front end has the forms, reports and programing code to make the application work. The database back end is a file that only includes the tables. The two files are linked. There are several advantages to having the database split: 1) The database will work much better in multi-user environments on networks, 2) It will allow for easier updates to newer versions (only the front end will need to be replaced), 3) It will allow for new versions – such as the multi-language version or specialty versions (TV Presenters, Photo Studio, etc) to be introduced in the future. The data tables in the back end can be imported to a MS SQL Server database and linked to the front end easily if your organization’s IT staff wish to do so. Contact us for more information.
6) Tag ID’s Sorting improved. Tag ID’s with letters, symbols and numbers have always been difficult to sort correctly. A new sorting algorithm has been created to sort the Costume and Props tag ID’s more accurately. If you change the TagID for a costume or prop you will be instructed to go to the Costume / Props Utilities Menu. Look for the option “Update Costume/Prop Sorting “. Click on that option and the Tag sorting will be updated.
7) Pattern Inventory Module now integrated with the Costume Piece Module. If you choose to purchase/install the Pattern Inventory Module you can link pattern records to the costume pieces that were made from the patterns.
8) New options to select costumes and props for the Theatre Inventory Connect! website. The Theatre Inventory Connect! site (www.theatreinventoryconnect.com) is a place to advertise you costumes and props for rent. The site will hold many collections – not just yours. The records are searchable by many fields include Country, State, Costume Type, Color, Size, Time Period, and Production. You can select which records from your Theatre Inventory Database to publish to the site. Contact Costume and Theatre Inventory Resources for more information.
9) New fields: Costume Pieces: Condition, Design Style (casual, formal, etc), Fabric Pattern (solid, plaid, floral, etc). These fields are drop downs and based on a table that can be updated in the Utilities menu. The fields can be searched on.
10) Exact match: In the Search screens for Costumes and Props you can turn on the Exact Match option for Costume/Prop name and Size. For example: if you wanted to search for size “S” you could turn on exact match and only see the records were “S” not “XS”, “S/M”.
11) Costume Pieces can be assigned to one or more Productions without being part of an Ensemble and assigned to a Role. This is the same functionality as is in the “Standard” version. Now it is available in the all versions.
12) New fields and reports for Productions / Performance Management: The Performers record now has a field for “Dressing Room”. There is a new report under the Performance Reports that will allow you to print a list of dressing rooms and all the performers assigned to it. There is also a “Ditty Bag” report. This report is a list of all the costume pieces that belong to an Ensemble that has been assigned to a performer in a role in a production – plus a photo. The report is designed to fit on the “Ultimate Ditty Bag” which is available from Costume Inventory Resources.
Take a look at the new version and the User Guide and let me know what you think !
(Since there are so many updates to this version I am offering 5 $25 gift certificates to the first five people who find a bug in the Theatre Inventory Database ! I hope I won’t have to pay out but I usually miss something ! Thanks for your help !)