Website Updates


This page contains a brief synopsis of the ongoing status of this website. Lists of additions to be implemented at some point in the future will also be placed on this page. The improvements at the top of the list are my current priorities. Please contact me if you have any suggestions for improving the website or any ideas you would like to see implemented.

FUTURE IMPROVEMENTS

  • Rescan stamps
  • List Cancels/meters/slogans
  • New Auction
  • Scan Postal history items
  • Implement new search features (image only view)
  • Write more literature reviews
UPDATE ARCHIVES

2004 Updates
2005 Updates
2006 Updates
2007 Updates
2008 Updates
2009 Updates
2010 Updates
2011 Updates
2012 Updates







RECENT UPDATES

October 12, 2017
Since the last update, quite a few areas of the website have been worked on. Let's begin with the current scanning project. A total of 351 scans have been uploaded to the website. The scans are from the countries of Tajikistan through Tuvalu so the next phase will be the U countries. Besides the scans, several other areas of the website received attention. The Articles page and the Exhibits page were both changed to what I think is a better format. Behind the scenes, I am also standardizing the code. In addition to the Exhibits page being reworked, the display of each exhibit page was also improved and standardized. Additionally, 4 new exhibits were added to the list. If you haven't come across it before, take a look at the one entitled "Olympic and World Football" by Giorgio Sini. It contains quite a few rare items. If any of you have any exhibits that you would like displayed on the site, just contact me.

In addition to the Artices and Exhibits section of the website, I have spent quite a bit of time cleaning up and enhancing the Search Page. The look of the page has been updated. Additionally, a new way to search have been added. The user can now search by format. The Keyword Search component has been enhanced with clearer instructions and a dropdown box which prepopulates the text box in searching by keywords. This meant that the keywords have also been standardized in the database. All of the ways to search can be used in combination with each other either to include or exclude particular criteria. I'm considering adding one more enhancement, the ability to return only records with images. I don't know how useful that would be, so I'll leave it on the backburner for now. Finally, I've worked a little on the Links page. Broken links were removed and a couple of new links were added. Frankly, the links page has never had much time spent on it, but it can be slightly useful if kept up to date. That's about it for now. My primary focus will continue to be on rescanning all of the images and scanning in new images. As always I'm open to suggestions and ideas for the website. Please feel free to contact me with any additional thoughts you have.

October 3, 2017
This update is primarily a rescanned image update. Rescanning has been completed for the countries of Sierra Leone through Syria. This comprised of approximately 290 new or updated scans. Work has continued on identifying cancels, meters, and slogans that need to be added to the lists. It's a slow process due to the fact that I am examining each country and their cancel issuing/usage policies in order to make a judgement call as to whether or not to include the cancels in the lists. In a similar way that criteria were used to determine whether or not to include stamp issues in the lists, criteria are also being developed for cancels.

One of the main factors determining inclusion is whether or not the cancels were intended for use in performing the duties of the postal agencies around the world. The primary responsibility of the postal agencies is to process and transmit mail. Cancels, meters, and slogans assist in performing those duties by serving as a sign that the prepaid service (represented by stamps) has now been rendered. This begins to call into question the role of first day cancels, commemorative cancels, and commemorative slogans. These types of items are often found exclusively outside of the mail stream, having come about through mail-in or handback services, and were never used in performing tasks related to processing and transmitting mail. It's these types of cancels that will not be included in the lists. Just as the lists only include postally valid stamps (stamps which could have been used for postage), it is my intent to include only "postally valid" meters, cancels, and slogans, items whose intended purpose was for use in the commercial mail system. At some point I will be attempting to "codify" the criteria and will update the Introduction pages once I have worked my way through the process. For now I am just trying to get a handle on the disparate uses of cancels, meters, and slogans around the world.

I've also begun working on the Search page. There are a few things that I feel can be improved on. First, I want to provide some form of directions on how it operates. Second, I want to implement a couple of different ways to search (eg. Printer, format, etc). Finally, I think that restructuring of the Search page itself may make it a little more user friendly. That's about it for now. My primary focus will continue to be on rescanning all of the images and scanning in new images. As always I'm open to suggestions and ideas for the website. Please feel free to contact me with any additional thoughts you have.

September 28, 2017
There have been quite a few modifications made since the last update. I'll begin with the current rescanning project. Rescanning has been completed for the countries of St.Vincents Bequia through Sharjah. This comprised of approximately 350 new or updated scans. The listing page was fixed to reflect the updated listings. If an update is made to any item in the list within the past 60 days, this image will appear on the listing. The listing page has also been updated to identify any listing that are related to covers. This includes stamps on cover, cancels on covers, and postal stationary items. This image will display beside an item related to covers. In order to develop the code I needed some items associated with covers. All of the commercial covers from the country of Italy have been scanned and are available for viewing. At some point I want to modify the search page to allow for selecting only listings related to covers. The scanning of my postal history items will be the next large project to tackle after the rescanning of the stamp images is completed. Let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions regarding the displays of postal history items on the website.

Last and probably least, the item listings were fixed to better handle multiple images. Most of the multiple image display rendered nicely, but there were certain circumstances in which the images were not spaced properly. THe code was rewritten from scratch in order to address those situations. During the process, there were other minor code fixes that needed to be made. I'm well aware that the design of the website is an old design and it would be nice to have a more modern look. Perhaps, at some point in the future I may consider redesigning the website. Any thoughts or suggestions regarding this will be appreciated. Since the core of the website is the stamp database, there is always a tension between the high volume of data and a clean web design. Finally, I actually began working on the list of cancels. It is not yet in the database, but I'm in the process of formalizing cancels that will be included. This will probably mean a reworking of the introduction pages in order to clarify what will be included in the list of cancels on the website. That's about it for now. My primary focus will continue to be on rescanning all of the images and scanning in new images. As always I'm open to suggestions and ideas for the website. Please feel free to contact me with any additional thoughts you have.

September 19, 2017
Over the past couple of weeks I have arrived at some conclusions and have begun to implement some fairly large changes on the website. I'll begin by noting the obvious changes. I have removed the forum. After implementing it I continued to battle spam for quite some time and saw little actual use of the forum itself. In this day and age there are many ways for philatelists to connect with each other on the web. The forum on this website would simply have been one more. I would have gladly left it up were it not for the spam. But with little use and needing to constantly monitor the forum, the problems it introduced did not outweigh the benefits of having it and so it was removed. The second obvious change is that the authentication/user registration on the website has been removed. The purpose for the authentication on the website was the first step in converting the the website to be a user maintained site, but I now feel that that is not the direction in which the website should go. The problems encountered with spam on the forum raised concerns about the problems that can exist in a user maintained website so I began to consider what it would take to continue being the sole maintainer of the website.

The vast majority of time spent on this website is the time to maintain and update the lists. It takes time and resources to locate information about new issues. Interestingly enough, the proliferation of new issues has been the primary factor in reducing my motivation with this hobby. As a result of spending all of my time focused on new issues, I have been unable to enjoy the parts of the hobby that intrigue me the most (postal history) let alone, devoting time to those things on the website. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that there was another solution to both my inability to maintain the website and my continued lack of interest in the hobby. The solution was to establish a cutoff date and restrict the scope of my collection and this website to focus on stamps issued before that date. To that end, I chose the year 2004 as that date. The reasons why are cited on Page 4 of the introduction. As a result, the stamp lists on this website will now primarily reflect stamps issued up to 2004. I will no longer be updating the lists for stamps issued after that. This decision has renewed my interest in the hobby and hopefully will allow me to work on displaying other facets of the hobby on this website.

Finally, the lists have been updated and images have been uploaded. SG and Yvert catalog numbers have always been difficult to locate. I spent quite a bit of time scouring the internet for sources to fill in the missing gaps in the SG and Yvert numbers. Some gaps were filled in, but others still remain. Additionally, the project begun in 2010 is once again being worked on. Images have been rescanned for the countries of Pakistan through St. Vincents. A total of over 1200 rescanned or new images have been uploaded. For now, I will continue focusing on rescanning all of the images and scanning in new images. As always I'm open to suggestions and ideas for the website. Please feel free to contact me with any additional thoughts you have.

October 14, 2015
Over the past few days I have tested the User authentication and registration on the website. It is now time to begin restricting certain pages to registered users only. The primary purpose for this is that I will begin coding functionality on those pages so that the users can assist in maintaining them. The pages that will be restricted will be the Stamp List page, the Articles, the Exhibits, the Links, and the Literature pages. These are the primary pages that contain the content on the website. The functionality that will be added will enable the users to add and edit content and allow administrators to remove content as well (at least that's the current plan).

I have wanted to add an Auction to the website for a long time. Currently, I'm in the process of reviewing some auction scripts. It will take a little time I decide which script to add to the website. The focus of the auction will be soccer stamps and related literature such as catalogs or albums. As I work my way through the process of implementing the auction, I'll provide more details. As always I'm open to suggestions and ideas as the website goes through it's time of transition. Let me know if you encounter any issues with the Login/Registration system. Please feel free to contact me with any additional thoughts you have.

October 10, 2015
Over the past couple of days I've worked on integrating a User Authentication system. Currently, the Login and Registration piece is working (I think). There are Login and Registration buttons on the main page which will take you to the Login or Registration pages. I would ask that that you begin registering and at least try the Registration, Login, and Logout process. All access to the website is still open, however, so it currently doesn't have any impact on the site. This will help me track down any issues that the process may have.

The second step of the User Authentication process will be to make certain portions of the website available only to members who are logged in. My current thoughts are on restricting the access to the content portions of the website (including the lists, articles, links, exhibits, and literature pages). These are the prts of the website that members will be able to update and maintain at some point in the future. As always I'm open to suggestions and ideas as the website goes through it's time of transition. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts you have.

October 5, 2015
If you've visited this site recently you will have noticed that it's been over 3 years since anything was updated. The stamp lists haven't been touched in several years and the reality is that I haven't done anything with my collection in that time either. A few weeks ago, I arrived at a decision that I probably would not in the forseeable future be able to do much at all with this wesite or with my collection. Over the years, I've invested quite a bit of time into this website and I'm pleased with the results. However, I believe that its time for me to begin letting go of the website.

There are at least three options that I can take. First, I could simply shut down the website and walk away. This would be the easiest option since it would require virtually no effort at all. However, the purpose of this website has always been to provide a service to the soccer stamp collecting community and I still believe that even with the current state of the website, it is a valuable resource. So, shutting down the website is not an option. A second option would be to try to sell it or transfer it to someone. While in the future I may pursue this route, it is not currently my first choice since I believe there to be a better option. The best option, and the one which I intend to pursue, is to attempt to give the website to you, the community of soccer stamp collectors. It was built with the intent of making it a centralized resource for soccer stamp collectors and I would very much like for it to remain this way. My current vision for this website is one that is used by you, but also maintained by you. If this can be accomplished (and I think it can) all of the content from the lists to the links to the articles, would be updated, maintained, and moderated by the community of users. In order to do this, there will be a need to implement many new features into the website and this will probably take quite a bit of time and will need to be done in phases.

As I've considered this idea over the past few weeks, I've come to the conclusion that one of the first things the website will need is a User Authentication system. I believe this to be a necessary first step in order to make sure that those who use the site have something of vested interest in it and won't be as prone to abuse the site. I'm not speaking of a charge to use the site, but rather of a cost of time and energy to register to become a member. I don't know when I'll be able to implement this, but you will know when it happens because you'll be required to login. Once that step is done, I'll fill you in on the next phase.

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Lester Williams
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