A new book, well actually a cd-rom, fell through our mailbox last week. Guess that's part of the new digital age we live in. Besides some adoption of "old fashion" words there are advantages too, as this cd-rom for example. The author describes the goal of the book best on his website:
"As a longtime collector I understood how valuable information is when trying to locate a particular concert or studio outtake. Some discs have such a limited run (500 discs or less) that many collectors don't even know of their existence. I decided to compile as much information as possible and create a reference manual that collectors could use in their collecting quest".
Combining that goal with today's possibilities the result is an electronic database titled "The Hidden Works Of The King". This cd-rom was designed with 2 goals in mind: accommodate new CD/LP releases at minimal costs and provide collectors with as much information as possible.
Design / Lay out
The book is designed like a web browser, so if you have used Internet browsing software you will feel right at home, and if you haven't you'll get the navigation down pretty fast. Starting the program there's a main menu on the left and a quick alphabetical menu in the top for direct access to the data.
The options the navigation menu (the browser part of the navigation that is) offers are the basic browser options, home, back, forward, find and font size. In the last one we find the first problem, if you make the fonts just a little bigger the menu partially disappears and part of the information becomes inaccessible.
Another minor flaw in the design is that some information is underlined so with a web browser in mind you expect a link, and there's not always one there when items are underlined. The last flaws in design we found were the absent of a "back and top button" on the pages themselves. Of course there is the toolbar with these options, but because the author chose this style, one might expect those features on "the pages" too.
A nice feature is the possibility to zoom in on all pictures used. Especially handy for all those CDR-traders and collectors.
But you don't judge a book by it's cover, so what's "inside"?
By realizing the above mentioned goals electronically, the information can be kept up-to-date. As new releases hit the streets they are added to the database, for example through the use of recordable compact discs. Aside from being easily updated and distributed this cd-rom has other features which are attractive for collectors:
High quality scans of the front and back cover, and disc itself (vinyl records will have a scan of side A).
Information on the company made the disc, when it was released, what country it came from, and it's label identification number.
If the CD/record is a concert detailed information about the show is made known (city, state, coliseum/arena name, attendance number, date and time of the show).
Sound quality, runtime length and vinyl color.
For collectors that record to audiotape often the starting track number for Side B of a 90m audiocassette is listed.
Songtitles are listed in great detail (false start, outtake number, etc).
Detailed notes about the CD and/or event is given.
If the CD has been re-released a hyperlink is displayed to quickly display that page. This is very useful for CD's that are difficult to locate and a substitute is acceptable.
A list of all concert releases is listed in ascending sequence with hyperlinks to the various title(s) that contain that show.
A list of all celebrity concert introductions is listed in ascending sequence with hyperlinks to the various title(s) that contain that show.
Looking at the content we must say it's very detailed, and a lot of high quality information is made available in a very accessible manner.
The current planning of the author is to release two updates each year, but if substantial changes are made to the book then new releases will be made available sooner. As of the initial release there are 352 compact disc entries in the book. Especially in a fast moving world as the CD-import-world this is essential for the collector.
Concluding we can say that this CD offers a lot to the collector of Elvis import releases. It's a great addition to the available books with all the "official" releases. The next step is a combination of both.
More information is available at Scott Daughtry's website at: http://www.sdaughtry.com/Elvis_Book/elvis_book.html