Move over sourdough baking and candle making, cataloguing/list creating is a new hobby we’re loving right now.
It all started when I downloaded the app Letterboxd. It’s an app where you can keep track of all the films you’ve watched, and all the ones you still want to see. It offers users a platform to list, rate and review films, as well as keep a watchlist for future films you want to tick off.
The cataloguing app also allows you to follow other users and find out what films they’ve seen, as well as read their reviews and check out what’s on their watchlist.
But what triggered my insight into the wide world of cataloguing, was a collection of feature articles on Letterboxd, titled “How I Letterboxd.”
Up until this point, it didn’t even occur to me that people would have different ways of composing their lists and creating their catalogues. But the more I read through the articles on the artform of cataloguing, the more I realised how much it has become an actual hobby for many in 2020, myself included.
I love a good list. I’ll write one before heading to the supermarket, while packing my bag for a trip, my daily to-do list at work… you get the idea. It’s nothing new that millions of people worldwide love making lists, but for list-making and cataloguing to become an actual hobby? I must admit my mind was a little blown.
And at this point I realised I’d become a hobby cataloguer, without even noticing.
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People catalogue using different methods
I suppose now it’s obvious to see people must create their lists in different ways. When packing for a holiday there are some people who might pack for each day, one by one, and some people who go through each drawer of their bedroom and pack in that order, for example.
Or, when cataloguing films in Letterboxd, some people make their watchlist selection based on other users’ recommendations, while others like to go through the films by year, director, or alphabetically.
In this year of staying home and having more time on our hands, people are cataloguing more than ever. Letterboxd has over 1.5 million members. Perhaps it’s due to wanting to attain some small feeling of accomplishment, or to get a sense of completeness in this rather unfulfilling year, or maybe it’s just a simple exercise in reflection and future planning. Whatever the reason, I’ve caught the cataloguing bug, and millions of others have too.
The platforms of your cataloguing dreams
The good news is, if you’re a lover of lists, there are so many platforms and apps out there for you to catalogue to your heart’s desire.
This year I’ve catalogued all the films I’ve watched and all the films I still want to see using Letterboxd. And without realising, I’ve done the same with all the vinyl records I own and want, plus the countries I’ve visited and those I’m still yet to travel to.
To keep track of my records, I started using Discogs early this year. Discogs is a music database that provides you a place to list what music you already own and what you’d like to own, in a range of forms from vinyl to CDs to MP3s. But it’s also a marketplace, where its half a million users can buy and sell their music collections.
So in the early days of lockdown, I went through my shelves and ticked off all the records I owned. Then came the enjoyable yet gruelling task of listing all the records I still want. It took me hours, and naturally I am still adding to it as the days and weeks roll on. But the feeling of having an actual list I can tick off when I make a new purchase, gives me such satisfaction.
As for countries, I didn’t actually use an app or platform. Although I’ve heard Countries Been is a good one. When cataloguing the countries I’ve visited and the ones still on my must-travel-to list, I simply made a list in the notes section of my phone. But I’ll probably go full cataloguer mode soon and add it into an app as well.
So if you’re a lover of to-do lists, give the cataloguing life a go, you’ll be in for a list-ticking treat!