If I place my cursor in field 1 and hit the search icon, this window pops up with a few options. I type what I'm looking for, in this case "background", I tell it which field I'm looking in, in this case "technique", I tell it to find this word in any part of the field, and to search "all" of the database. I might have thirty records that deal with backgrounds and this search will find them all. So, if in six months my pea-sized brain remembers that I saw this really cool background with pearl ex powders but for the life of me can't remember where - here it is. I've been doing this so long it's automatic - see a great idea - document it. At times when I'm out of inspiration, I can page through the records and find something that calls to me. And the truly great thing is the records are filled out in my words, so I don't have to try to figure out what somebody else called something.
Access is reasonable easy to learn. And as you learn, you discover it is much more powerful than it appears. I keep all my stamps listed in a database, I run a query (question) and ask the database, which stamps are Maggies? Assuming I have a field in the database that identifies Magnolia as the company which produced the stamp, the query will return a list of every Maggie stamp I own. I can turn that query into a "report" that puts the information on paper in a pleasing way.
This is my stamps database which contains lots of information on each stamp or stamp set. I have actually combined two databases linked by the "ID", one contains stamp information, the other contains occasion information (how might I use that stamp?). I can run a quick query (under 2 minutes) and find every PaperTrey stamp I own. Or Inkadinkado. I can tell at a glance what the "medium" is (I've enlarged this database to include dies, embossing folders, and punches) - the medium might be rubber, clear, die, punch, embossing folder, etc), is it an image or words (this matters when searching - do I want an image of a fish or do I want the word "fish"), what size is it, where is it stored and what manufacturer produced it? The second database is a list of what can I use it for, holidays, sympathy, men, etc. I did it this way because it's very easy to list all of my Halloween stamps or Christmas stamps. Some people organize by putting each type of stamp together (all of the Maggies in one drawer, all of the Flourish stamps in another). I'm up to 31 drawers of stamps as well as a floor to ceiling case that contains shelves of wooden backed stamps on the wall side and the door side. (It was supposed to be all the room I'd ever need for stamps seven years ago.) When one drawer gets full, I just move to the next. I have them all mixed up, it doesn't matter where they are - I just query the database and it tells me the heart stamp with the writing on it is in drawer 15. The drawers aren't so big that searching them takes long. As I enter each record, the database assigns the next number (ID number), and I put that number somewhere on the stamp or the packaging. I can locate a stamp by it's number or if I have a stamp, I can tell where it belongs by the number. I usually leave a drawer open until the stamp is returned but sometimes I get in a hurry and don't return it right away. It ends up in a basket on my desk until I find time to put it back. The database tells me where it goes.
The database for my challenge cards (actually every card I make) contains the recipe, the URL to where the picture is stored on my computer, what challenges the card was entered in or what blogs I put it on, what galleries I put it in, and the ultimate disposition of the card - "2011 - Julie Jones Birthday". I can list every card I submitted to a SplitCoast Stamping Gallery and the date it was submitted. Once a card has been photographed, downloaded to my computer, entered into my database, I package it with an envelope and add it to my card bin where it stays until I sell it or send it to someone. If anyone has any questions about Access, I can help you sort them out. I could even send you the structure for my databases if you'd like them (you have to have Access to use the structures). I suggest Access for Dummies as a guide, you really don't need to be a whiz on the computer to use this software.