StampData is a combination project, to both build a comprehensive stamp catalogue, and to provide an online tool for collectors to manage their collections.
Its goals are several:
Although the website was only created in 2011, the raw data has been accumulated for over twenty years. I typed it all in manually(!), in a somewhat cryptic but compact syntax that was very efficient for entering large amounts of data; a single used stamp in the collection might be recorded as nothing more than '5c o' for instance.
A custom-written C program, originally running on Mac System 7, then processed the raw data, warning of inconsistencies and sorting the data. One of the output options was for the Palm Pilot, and a few dealers may recall me checking my Palm while poring over their inventory at shows, hoping to avoid buying the same stamp twice!
Early on I resolved to avoid the use of catalogue numbers; not only were publishers aggressive about protecting their numbering systems, but it was clear that numbering was frequently an arbitrary process, with one catalogue assigning a single number to several types that each got their own number in another catalogue. Instead, the system here refers to stamps by descriptions, basically a computerized form of the verbal description of a stamp: 'US 1847 5c' to refer to what traditional catalogues call 'US #1'. Although this approach is sometimes inconvenient, especially for dealer cards that only report a Scott number, it also makes it easier to grow.