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Ask Slashdot: Huge Digital Media Libraries 361

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the need-more-tbs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Like many slashdotters, I have several TB of digital media: music, books, movies, tv shows, games, comics, you name it. I've put it all in a few HDs, but handling it all has proven to be less than optimal. I'm covered when it comes to music, since [pretty much any music player/library manager] allows me to quickly find songs by interpreter, album, genre... For everything else, all I have is a series of hierarchical folder structures, but hierarchies have limitations. I can find Blade Runner easily, but what if I wanted all of Scott Ridley's films? Where is 'Good Omens', in the Terry Pratchett folder or in Neil Gaiman's? Furthermore, in a collection with hundreds of similar items, it would help to have some extra clues such as covers (for comic books) or synopsis for TV shows' episodes. Do you have any software to help you handle digital media libraries? Specialized software (say, something that only work for comics, something else for movies), or generic media libraries? Opensource alternatives are preferred, but commercial software is fine as well."
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Ask Slashdot: Huge Digital Media Libraries

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  • Nope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:43AM (#35559212)

    I tend to just use directories of symlinks on the odd occasion where I want a logical collection of something. Kind of the hacked file system equivalent of a playlist. I can even put additional detail in the symlink name that I would leave out of my “main tree”. Generally though, a simple hierarchical structure has worked fine for me and my 6+ TB of media. If I anticipate wanting to search for something down the road, I also sometimes put it in the file name (indexed by slocate every night).

    You are probably looking for a tagging/metadata tool but I think the problem with those is you have to obsessively tag/provide that metadata and they aren’t going to integrate with all your favourite viewers and such. It just seems more trouble than it’s worth to me, but with different levels of motivation and borderline OCD, it could work very well (and probably does for many).

    • Re:Nope (Score:4, Informative)

      by Whalou (721698) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:28AM (#35559882)
      I'm on a Mac and I use Delicious Library [delicious-monster.com]

      My brother uses the different products from Collectorz [collectorz.com] which run on a bunch of platforms.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      The real solution to this problem is a database filesystem. I know these have been tried with varying degrees of success in the past. Why aren't they more common today?

      • Re:Nope (Score:4, Informative)

        by mario_grgic (515333) on Monday March 21, 2011 @12:00PM (#35560294)
        A filesystem is a database, just not relational database (if that's what you mean by database). Mac OS X has filesystem with extensive metadata attributes, and Spotlight that allows you to query based on that metadata (including classical UNIX ones like created/modified/accessed dates). It works really well, it's fast and manages huge libraries really well.

        I'm so used to it that I can't imagine using OS/filesystem that does not have some sort of support for it.
      • by Creepy (93888)

        Because user tag-able metadata [wikipedia.org] accomplishes the same thing and is supported by most file systems aside from NTFS, as I pointed out in a later post. WinFS was supposed to be designed around it on Windows platforms, but sadly it is no more. Most file system searches that support metadata tagging have searches that work similarly to relational databases (i.e. you can AND, OR, NOT, etc).

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Really? How do you use that? If I have my MP3s on an EXT4 filesystem, and want to use file system metadata instead of ID3 tagging, what tools would I use? Is there a metadata aware version of 'ls'?

    • by Nutria (679911)

      I tend to just use directories of symlinks

      Symlinks FTW!!!

      It lets you organize your music by artist and your movies alphabetically then symlink them in 25 jillion ways so as to organize them any way you want.

  • by sneilan (1416093) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:45AM (#35559240) Homepage
    You can admit it. Slashdot understands that you have a large *personal* media collection *AHEM*.
    • by hoggoth (414195)

      I feel OP's pain. Does this film go under "Bukkakke" or by the actresses name?

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:48AM (#35559286) Homepage

    There's a little box at top-right of the file explorer window. You can type words there...

  • Data crow (Score:4, Informative)

    by cmiu007 (1376719) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:51AM (#35559332)
    Use data crow and make a container for every HDD. It works for music, movies(imdb details import) and software. http://www.datacrow.net/ [datacrow.net]
  • Fedora Repository (Score:5, Informative)

    by oneiros27 (46144) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:51AM (#35559344) Homepage

    Just use what the libraries use:

    Fedora [fedora-commons.org]

    What you're looking for in general is either a repository (if you want it to manage the files) or a catalog (if you want it to just track info about the files). A catalog might also be called a 'registry' when dealing with sciences archives, where the term 'catalog' is used for something else.

    For more options, see any of the following lists on wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Free_institutional_repository_software [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Digital_library_software [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_next-generation_library_catalogs [wikipedia.org]

    • by croddy (659025)

      It would be awesome if there were a FUSE front-end to Fedora Commons.

      Well, actually, one does exist, and it actually is awesome, but it's currently trapped in managerial IP strategery hell somewhere in the bowels of the most dysfunctional IT department in academia, so I guess I should say it would be awesome if there were another, distributable one.

      • There are a couple perfectly good FUSE based tagging filesystems for Linux that fit the bill just fine. You get to keep your data on the filesystem of your choice (ext, btrfs, etc) and then mount the tagging filesystem with a pointer to the data store. I posted a list of them in another comment below. Search for "Semantic (Tagged) Filesystems".

        Fedora Commons is far too heavyweight for my taste.

    • This is great! Thanks for the link. I was going to suggest that the OP "just do what libraries do" but I I didn't have specific info to reference what exactly libraries use other than the high-dollar programs they have to get grants to buy.
  • by metrometro (1092237) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:52AM (#35559364)

    Used iTunes? It's like that for books but less bloated. Syncs to many devices, and can scrape RSS feeds from magazines, build them into EPUBs and sync them to an ereader, like a text-based podcast. This works surprisingly well, superior in some ways to reading the same material on the Web.

    And it's FLOSS.

    http://calibre-ebook.com/about [calibre-ebook.com]

  • purge (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anyaristow (1448609) on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:53AM (#35559370)

    How much of it do you really re-watch? You'll spend the rest of your life transferring it from medium to medium. Is it worth it?

    • by antdude (79039)

      Ditto! Even though the ones I bought (regretting that :P). I stopped buying movies and TV/television shows. I just borrow/stream online/download.

      I do keep my music though since once in a while I listen to my old tunes including MIDI/MID, MOD, S3M, XM, IT, 669, video game tunes, etc.. :)

      • Watch out for those new laws kicking around congress, because it might soon become illegal to stream from a non authorized source.

    • Re:purge (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mikael_j (106439) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:53AM (#35560224)

      I spend very little time organizing and transferring my media library.

      The current array that it resides on has been pretty much untouched for close to two years, just chugging along (getting a bit cramped for space though).

      Yes, you can definitely take it too far but just keeping copies of your favorite TV shows, movies and CDs in one place can also be extremely convenient. Of course, I mainly organize it into "film/movies", "film/TV", "film/documentaries", "music/singles", "music/albums" and let the applications I use deal with sorting (as long as you name stuff properly software like XBMC or Plex can figure this out for you, downloading metadata from the internet).

      I see it as an issue of balance based on various factors. Either extreme (no media at all or a copy of everything you ever come across) can be inconvenient (although I'd rather go with "no media" than deal with keeping a gargantuan 15+ TB library accessible), you just need to find the right balance.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > How much of it do you really re-watch? You'll spend the rest
      > of your life transferring it from medium to medium. Is it worth it?

      That has to be the lamest media-luddite excuse yet.

      Are you kidding?

      You just copy it any time you get a new and bigger drive. It's no different than old pictures, audio files, ebooks or music in this respect.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I tend to do this, but it's largely because I like to have a backup of my media. Just because the RIAA wants me to buy another copy of my CDs and such if my house burns down, doesn't make that reasonable. They've got their money and I personally see no reason why I should have to buy another copy when I could just load up my backups.

      Plus, it doesn't take that much time once you've got the bulk archived and some sort of strategy in place.

    • by gmaslov (1983830)

      Even if you never re-watch 99% of it, it's still worth keeping the whole 100%, because there is no way to know in advance which 1% you will want to re-watch.

      I don't think anyone spends a lot of time going through their old media collection, casting about for things to revisit (unless they are very bored). My most common use case is when something suddenly reminds me of a specific song or movie that I last saw 5 years ago, or it comes up in conversation, and makes me want to go back and watch it again. If I

    • Depends on what it is... music I would likely listen to over and over so even the least popular (to me) single piece might be be played many times over the years. With books it is going to be a far smaller set that gets to have my attention beyond the original reading. With movies there are very few I would bother to watch more than once.

      So essentially I agree with you. Pare it down. Keep all the music - it's small anyway. Keep all the books - also small. Turf the movies that really don't deserve a secon
    • Re:purge (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hatta (162192) on Monday March 21, 2011 @12:55PM (#35561180) Journal

      How much of it do you really re-watch?

      Probably only 10%. But how am I to know which 10% I'm going to want in the future?

      You'll spend the rest of your life transferring it from medium to medium.

      Sure, It'll take an hour or so to rsync onto a new array every 5 years or so. I'm going to migrate data anyway, so the question is whether I want to migrate 100GB of data or 4TB. Since rsync can run in the background, there's essentially no cost to migrating a large array.

      Is it worth it?

      Definitely! Having everything I want locally saves me time searching the internet for it. When I decide I want to use something, I don't have to wait for it to download. The effort it takes to maintain is minimal, so why not?

      • by RulerOf (975607) on Monday March 21, 2011 @02:39PM (#35562640)

        Having everything I want locally saves me time searching the internet for it

        Agreed.

        Perhaps I'm the odd man out, but I do like going over my media collection (which is automatically sorted) and just trimming the fluff everyone once in a while. Making sure files are named right, getting all the movie trailers, filling in a gap where I'm missing a season, and so on.

        It's not really that it's a compulsion, but more of a hobby. I like having a movie and TV show collection, and the fact that I can have a digital one sitting on a RAID array increases the usability and coolness factors.

        Organize TV Shows with Sickbeard. [sickbeard.com] Organize movies with either Media Center Master [mediacentermaster.com] or MyMovies. [mymovies.dk] Better stuff for movies undoubtedly exists, but I'm not too sure what it would be.

        Also, if you want your computer to surprise you with new content and you're not afraid of complex config files, give FlexGet [flexget.com] a try.

        Finding time to watch all of it.... that's the real kicker :D

    • You'll spend the rest of your life transferring it from medium to medium.

      Nope. Actually, every iteration gets exponentially faster. So, recording anything analog means 1:1 recording speeds. But for CDs, it's about 16:1. And once the data is on a hard drive, it might as well be instant.

      Is it worth it?

      "You ever see The Wire?"
      "Nope, never got around to it."
      "Here's a copy."

      NOTE: the preceding hypothetical conversation assumes you have friends.

  • by rrey (1886420)
    I never used it because I don't have TB of content but XBMC seems to be be something that could get your attention.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I can back this up. It's a bit of a pain to get setup once, but once it *is* setup, XBMC is a great way to manage all this information.

      Just make sure you have your backups automated and you can setup a great Linux based HTPC with XBMC. This should allow you to search on genre / artist / director, et

    • Re:XBMC ? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Compaqt (1758360) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:10AM (#35559642) Homepage

      I was going to say this, but you already have, so I'll just expand on it.

      XBMC is great for organizing media. It has some neat features:
      -looks really nice, suitable for a living/theater room, not geeky
      -movies, pictures, sound
      -IMDB integration
      -scripts (do anything)
      -contributed lists of Internet TV stations
      -support for IR remote controls and universal remotes
      -remote playback (playing computer being separate from the storage computer)

      http://xbmc.org/ [xbmc.org]

      One thing it's not really designed for is to record TV. For that, use MythTV [mythtv.org].

      • by jon3k (691256)
        Second XBMC, it's really amazing. I'm running it on fedora and streaming from a fileserver (~10TB) of music, TV and movies. It automatically catalogs everything for you, including pulling in info from IMDB. There are also some really amazing iPad and Android apps (that work over wifi that) you can use to control XBMC! Overall it's incredibly slick and very well polished, and really easy to setup.
  • Provided your media isn't too obscure I've noticed Boxee is actually able to associate a file name and minimal metadata with content on IMDB and you can use it's search function to look up local media.
  • Granted database management is part of my day-job, but it really doesn't take all that long to put together. The tedious part is data entry. Movies and books weren't so bad with a imdb and Amazon scraper script. But data cleanup still takes forever.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      The tedious part is data entry.

      It should take much less time to tag a media file than it takes to actually play it. If you're actually viewing the media in your archive, then tagging the files won't add much extra time at all. If you're not actually viewing the media in your archive, you don't really need it tagged. Problem solved.

  • iTunes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aclarke (307017) <spamNO@SPAMclarke.ca> on Monday March 21, 2011 @10:55AM (#35559402) Homepage
    I'm likely going to be flamed and modded into purgatory for this, but I use iTunes for most of this-at least, for music and videos. Some PDFs are starting to go in there if I want access to them on the go on my iPhone or iPad.

    I understand that Apple's universe isn't perfect, but for me it all works together pretty nicely. I replaced my high-maintenance, increasingly noisy, power-hungry media PC with a second-generation Apple TV. This works great except that it won't play many video formats. Therefore, I've had to go through the obnoxious step of using VideoDrive [aroona.net] to transcode videos into an Apple-approved format. However, it's not the end of the world.

    Otherwise, I guess everyone's different, but personally I want to spend my time doing fun stuff like riding my bicycle or spending time with my family, not categorizing my "vast media collection". I guess I'm just getting old, but iTunes does a good enough job, with less work than any DIY system I've successfully maintained in the past.
    • Re:iTunes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:08AM (#35559604)

      This is what I've done as well.

      We have pretty much sold our soul to Apple just for the convenience of not worrying about pulling stuff when we need it. We create a significant volume of recordings of interviews, meetings and design brainstorming discussions during software development. We upload these to iTunes to keep them organized. We use Home Share from a (reasonably old) Mac Mini so everyone in the office can get them when they need it. Additionally, just bought Apple TV's for two conference rooms so we can use AirPlay to play back presentations to the room we are in.
      One more step though, we use IDentify from Justin Pulsipher to edit tags on the videos and podcasts. This means that if we ever need to rebuild the library (which we've had to do a couple of times), we don't need to tag items again. The tags are embedded in the file and will work irrespective of which file they are in.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>>I'm likely going to be flamed

      Ditto. I use DVDs, bought-and-paid for in the store (or amazon.com). The only thing I have to worry about is fire, but most of them are stored in a fireproof safe so they should be okay.

      I find storing stuff in "Caselogic" notebooks to be easier than trying to organize terabytes of files. CDs are stored the same way, while E-books I store in my email (dual-stored in yahoo and google).

      My final method of "storage" is in the trash. If I've already seen something 20 t

      • Re:iTunes (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mister Whirly (964219) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:55AM (#35560248) Homepage
        You realize that most "fireproof" safes are designed so paper will not burn - at 451 degrees Fahrenheit. If you read the fine print, the temperatures in those safes can hit well over 250 degrees, which I am sure your DVDs would not survive. Unless you bought a Fireproof safe specifically designed to protect DVDs, keeping them in there is probably a colossal waste of space and only provides a "feel good" solution that will not actually protect them from damage. I know becasue a friend of mine had a fireproof safe with computer backup DVDs in it that all melted into one big lump when he had a fire.

        P.S. I can save you the time/money by letting you know all of Glenn Beck's books are absolute crap. No need to buy them in the first place - unless you like to be frightened by really dumb stuff.
    • by King_TJ (85913) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:22AM (#35559802) Journal

      I certainly won't "flame" you for this suggestion. As maligned as the iTunes software is, I think its ability to index media and very quickly retrieve it by a number of different fields is pretty darn good -- especially for a program you can download free of charge for both Windows and the Mac.

      As a Mac user myself, I started using another free program to manage my movies and saved TV shows though. I really like Plex (www.plexapp.com) for the purpose. It doesn't have the restrictions on playable video formats that iTunes has, and has a great UI to serve as your media center via a remote control.

      I believe the latest update to Plex added some interesting, if slightly obscure, functionality -- like the ability to search the subtitles of your movies for specific strings, too.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > I replaced my high-maintenance, increasingly noisy, power-hungry media PC with a second-generation Apple TV.

      This remark was out of date long before the underpowered 2nd generation AppleTV came along.

      For anything that doesn't originate from Apple's own store, iTunes sucks great big donkey balls. It really does nothing for you in terms of saving time or bother or "allowing you to do better things with your time". It's simply not designed or intended for that sort of thing. It really only has one purpose:

    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      Agreed. For all its many flaws, iTunes does media indexing and retrieval by a huge number of fields very well. I have a pretty huge iTunes library and typing anything in the search box at the top right immediately filters the list by what you're typing (no need to pick which fields to look for, it's pretty intelligent about that). Very very fast too, as in 'as quick as I can type, each keypress instantly filters the list with no need to wait for it to 'think''.

      Failing that I don't see why you need any parti

    • they have iTunes for Linux now? amazing.
      what's the link for the repository to point APT at ?
  • Ridley Scott
  • Well, I guess the key starting point is what operating system are you running on? But for my rather extensive movie and tv collection, on windows I've found Mediaportal: http://www.team-mediaportal.com [team-mediaportal.com] to be fantastic with its range of plugins to cope very well with TV and movies. Specifically the MP-TVSeries plugin for TV, which interfaces with the TVDB and gets all the information you suggest you want about your shows, including actor information, fanart, banners, posters, thumbnails, and the list conti
    • by jedidiah (1196)

      No. The only thing that will work for the given requirements is a proper system level metadata system.

      This is the only thing that has any hope of dealing with highly disparate types of data including things collected organically by the end user over many years.

      Although a proper library management system might have some hope of coping since it seems like the most likely ready made app that's built to deal with this sort of thing.

  • With so many files, I don't treat my system as a filesystem, and more like a Google-type search. I imported all my media into Drupal as page nodes and hotlinked to the backend files. Where possible, I had has much metadata as possible included about each file. Time/date, subject, type of media, keywords, where, descriptions if they were entered, and searchable text. Navigating is then done by media type, searching, and browsing through various keywords. Drupal then presents the media in the browser. I
  • While I have not had the opportunity to try the program beyond some minor playing around, you could try Moovida [moovida.com] It's marketed as a media player which does it all and runs on both Windows and Linux. I believe it's in the Ubuntu repos as well.

    If you do try it, drop me a line about how it performs. I'm thinking about finally putting in a media computer this year.

  • by __roo (86767) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:04AM (#35559542) Homepage

    You meant Ridley Scott [imdb.com] and not Scott Ridley [imdb.com], right?

  • Access DB. 30 minutes to write. No need to check.

    Then you'll be needing to enter all your meta-data. After 20 minutes you'll be bored. The local chav might do it for a few quid, but with a rate of 96-98% perfect record entry, could you handle that many errors?

    I'm not handing in my geek card. I earned it. It's mine.
  • For books - Calibre, let it convert things to epub format and let it deal with the directory structure. For comics, "ComicRack" is the absolute best. It allows cover view, can convert cbr/cbz/pdfs (though it prefers cbz for metadata), and allows the importation/scraping of metadata and saving it directly to the file.
  • MediaTomb (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gregthebunny (1502041) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:13AM (#35559672) Journal
    I use MediaTomb [mediatomb.cc] for my digital media library. It manages all my music, videos, and photos and is quite extensible through scripting if you are familiar with JavaScript. Then I use XBMC or my PS3 as the front-end to MediaTomb. I'm currently managing over 1 TB of data without issue. I cannot speak for other media, such as books, as all my books are still in dead tree format.
    • +1 for MediaTomb. I built it on Ubuntu and couldn't get the javascript stuff to work, so I wrote a shell script to enumerate my media and create organized folders with symlinks. cron runs the script at an interval and now I can have media group by the date they were added and such. Ideally either with the javascript or a shell script, one should be able to create multiple organizational schemes, based on filesname (or metadata--given cli tools exist to read them.) It may not be the sexiest way to organize t
  • How often do you re-watch / re-read anything?

    I guess I can understand the "I'm so smart" aspect of having bookshelves full of books in one's flat.

    I can understand having large collections of music as well ... especially when entertaining

    But I've never understood why people collect movies? What does that really say about someone? You can't really entertain with them in the background like one can with music. I mean they can't even be used as a reference resource like a book can. I usually just think of it a

    • by swordgeek (112599) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:29AM (#35559896) Journal

      You will apparently be shocked to discover this, but some people actually re-read books! And re-watch movies!
      There are a handful of movies I've seen over a dozen times (Not including the family ones my son demands we watch on occasion). Some of them I still haven't got all of the juice out of (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover), and some of them I just enjoy watching over and over (The Princess Bride, Amelie). I reread Fool On The Hill and Lord Of The Rings about every second year. Our library is tucked away in the basement out of the way, and isn't going to impress anyone. We have as many books as we do because we enjoy them, read them, and share them with friends.

      Purging is great, but don't apply your opinions to the rest of us. Some of us have different points of view.

    • You never watch a film a second time?

      Some people like film quite a bit, and may watch a film several times. There are films out there that were released on video, then pulled, and are often impossible to see today. There are films where a particular version was released in one format, (laserdisk, for example), but that version is no longer available in any format.

      But you know what? I simply enjoy film and watching film. If I want to go back and watch "The Road Warrior", I can, because I purchased it a g

    • by hedwards (940851)

      It's about backing the information up. At this point. I rarely if ever actually watch most of my movies, for the simple reason that I tend to just let the TV do the deciding for me. Plus, I've got Netflix which provides a pretty substantial amount of movies and TV shows that I might want to watch whenever I like. But, having it on your computer is more convenient at times, and if you're going to have copies for backup, you might as well have the ability to keep track of them.

      Plus, sometimes you just get a h

  • by swordgeek (112599) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:21AM (#35559780) Journal

    I've got Photoshop Elements. The editing is certainly overkill for what you're talking about, but the library features are quite good. The key is that there's a separate database of tags and metadata which can be sorted and searched like...a database.

    I'm sure there are similar things out there, but I think the key is to try a handful to see how they do it, and narrow down your choices accordingly.

  • by TheTyrannyOfForcedRe (1186313) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:22AM (#35559790)

    Take a look at tagged filesystems. You can do the same thing by hand using symlinks but with much greater pain.

    http://www.tagsistant.net/ [tagsistant.net]

    http://nascent.freeshell.org/programming/TagFS/ [freeshell.org]

    http://semanticweb.org/wiki/SemFS [semanticweb.org]

    The following are not really filesystems. You need to use specific programs to search the tag space.

    http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~marriaga/software/oyepa/ [nyu.edu]

    http://blueslugs.com/2005/07/12/tag1-delicious-style-file-tagging/ [blueslugs.com]

    • What you are referring to and what the author wants is metadata, and most OS's support such tagging... but the one in use by most people, NTFS, does not. WinFS was supposed to correct that, but MS shot that project in the head, then riddled its corpse with tank shell rounds. NTFS requires 3rd party products like tag2find [tag2find.com]. If you're on Linux or Mac, you're in luck because your file system most likely supports it.

      As an example, on a mac, I could bring up the properties (I believe that is where

  • by pvera (250260) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:23AM (#35559814) Homepage Journal

    With Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/) you can deal with the book problem the same way you would use iTunes to catalog music and video. It is available for Windows, Linux and OSX. I have personally used it for both OSX and Windows for a few years and it has never let me down.

    The video problem is much harder because the tagging is nowhere as mature as what we have available for music. What really drives me nuts about this is that there is no consistent way to apply parental ratings to content in a way that it is recognized by OSX and Windows. This keeps me from sharing my videos across the home network since there is no way I can easily block certain videos from my son's Xbox and his iMac. I would have to manually set play lists, which is a lot more work, it would be nice if I could tag content as PG-13 or above and let the Xbox use its built-in content ratings mechanism.

    • Re:Calibre (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Monday March 21, 2011 @01:07PM (#35561356) Journal

      What really drives me nuts about this is that there is no consistent way to apply parental ratings to content in a way that it is recognized by OSX and Windows. This keeps me from sharing my videos across the home network since there is no way I can easily block certain videos from my son's Xbox and his iMac.

      Your son isn't going to die if he sees some gore or some tits. If he's too young to see something, he won't be interested in it at all. If he's interested, it's your job to provide context, not censorship. Parental controls are for lazy parents. Parenting is your job not the computer's.

      • Your son isn't going to die if he sees some gore or some tits.

        I have two questions. How old are you and how many kids do you have? My guess is the answers are "young" and "zero". So I guess I should let my 6 year old son just watch ass-to-mouth porn then. I don't think so. Contrary to your simplistic world view, there are some things that children are not ready for. Even this weekend, I was watching Phantom Menace with my oldest son (he's 6) for the first time. It led to all kinds of very difficul
      • So the standard now is its OK for kids to see things unless it will kill them? Sounds like someone who doesn't have kids. Parental controls are tools for proactive parents to help enforce the policies they have decided are best for the families they are in. Parenting is indeed the job of a parent, but in today's age (and especially on Slashdot) we use computers to help us do our work. If I feel my kid shouldn't watch a certain type of movie, I will put policies in place to stop it.

        For instance, my 4
  • by AwaxSlashdot (600672) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:31AM (#35559928) Homepage Journal

    ID3 is a de facto standard widely used for music. It is targeted at MP3 file format but many alternative music file formats also support embedding it.
    see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ID3 [wikipedia.org] for more details.

    Now, for everything outside music, the need/usage/online-store haven't managed to create a standard (even de facto) for meta-tagging files.

    Since all formats might not support metadata, the simplest would be to use the file system meta-data/extended attributes.
    see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_systems [wikipedia.org] for the list of FS supporting extended attributes.

    As with music, you'll need dedicated applications to edit and browse those tags. Since you already have a folder structure, you could jump start those tags with the information that can be retrieved from the folder names. For movies and books, you might be able to complement those tags from IMDb or Amazon.

  • http://www.voidtools.com/ [voidtools.com] As long as you use a descriptive filename or have your media in hierarchical folder structures you can find any file within seconds on any indexed hard drive. It only works on filenames and folders, not metadata.
  • by lordlod (458156) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:59AM (#35560284)

    I looked at exactly this problem and came up with my own custom solution.

    I wrote a Perl script that queried IMDB, there are simple CPAN libraries out there. The highest rank search based off the filename was always the correct movie.

    Then I pulled out the director, lead actors, proper title etc. Any details that you actually care about.

    Finally I created the directory structure for each detail and put a hardlink to the file. The original files were all kept in a single flat directory for storage, symlinks would work just as well if you prefer.

    The end product is exactly what you are looking for:
    Media
    -> Directors
    --> Ridley Scott
    ---> Actual movie file 1
    ---> Actual movie file 2
    --> Tim Burton
    ---> Actual movie file 1
    ---> Actual movie file 2
    -> Actors
    --> ...

    No issues with duplicates or anything like that. No requirement for your media player to understand some sort of database. No problems sharing it across a network filesystem.

    All less than a page of Perl. Unfortunately the code is currently inaccessible to me.

  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Monday March 21, 2011 @12:01PM (#35560320)
    Probably the best interface and organizer of movies, TV shows, etc., that I have seen. Add in the Moving Pictures an MP-TVSeries plugins and you are all set with an awesome interface.
  • That is all.

    Well, not quite all - I'll sing XBMC's praises for a bit. It's got quite extensive media metadata + storage backend functionality; you basically just define a directory (or a bunch of directories), and tell XBMC "this contains movies" and "get movie metdata from themoviedb.org" and you're away. After a while scanning your files and pulling down the metadata, you have a very swish interface and movies subdivided into title, genre, director and actors. I've got a collection of about 1000 of my DVD

  • For music, audio books, podcasts, and most videos, I use MediaMonkey 4 (still in beta testing). It crashes quite a bit right now, but it has some great tagging abilities, which leads to great searching abilities. It also has a pretty powerful ability to organize files, which makes it easier to find stuff when you aren't in the software. It doesn't work great for full DVD rips though - by which I mean VIDEO_TS folders/ISOs. Those I just have in a folder. I don't have too many of those. MediaMonkey has a "V
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday March 21, 2011 @12:07PM (#35560430) Homepage

    XBMC

    Works great. It indexes my 2TB of movies and Tv shows... although I am trimming the TV shows down, no reason to watch season 1 episode 3 of glee more than once.

    Plus how often do you REALLY need to sit down and watch " the last 3 Sigoruny Weaver" movies.. you browse by Genre 99.99783% of the time. People all claim they want to search video content by director, actor,etc but in reality they never use that. And yes I know what I am talking about I have installed and helped with several hundred installs ofhttp://www.kaleidescape.com/ media systems... after a year you discover that by title and by genre are the ONLY search methods used. These are owned by people far FAR richer than all of you here on slashdot combined and have very little time to waste.. they dont search by director or actor ever.

    Honestly step one is to be realistic about your media organization. Do not go nuts and cross reference on everything...

    "Show me all the films that had a Audi R6 in it", "show me all films that were shot on a Tuesday in France when it was raining....."

  • Back in the early 00's I had a problem with having a huge music library and trying to keep it synced across my work computer, home computer, and laptop. It was frustrating, I had a 'collection' but in 3 distinct piles. I'd end up with some songs on one machine and different ones on another, etc. At some point a music subscription service came along. I gave it a go and I'm still happy with it even today. Instead of having to copy 10's of gigs of MP3s over, I just install the app, log in, and play.

    I know

  • by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Monday March 21, 2011 @04:56PM (#35564590) Homepage

    PVD sounds like it would meet your needs. It's free and can scrape multiple sources for movie/TV show information and posters. It uses SQlite for the database.

    http://www.videodb.info/forum_en/ [videodb.info]

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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