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Old 2008-09-14, 09:44 PM   #1
ntappin
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Hard drive organization

How do other people organize their massive music and video libraries? Do you have a special system to keep everything in order and such?

I'm currently in the middle of a massive overhall of my external 500 GB hard drive. Right now I have two main folders one for video and one for music.

The music is all organized alphabetically by artist in folders, then in each folder I have the name of each album.

It is taking me forever though to weed out the partially downloaded albums, having all the names in the right format, double checking to make sure no albums are in the wrong folder/songs in the wrong albums and the like.

How often do other people go and organize their media?
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Old 2008-09-14, 09:51 PM   #2
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media monkey
will do it automatically
get the pro version from a torrent

but once its all organized, the program is pretty useless.

I had over 100 Gb of completely unorganized music.
i made a new folder, told media monkey to put all the music there, and it did, you can change how it does it, but i chose artist/track title so that i would have less copies, i don't care too much about albums tho. i think i have 75Gb now that i've gone through and deleted the music that i don't like and will never listen to (this is an on going process, don't get me wrong)

didn't use it for videos, but i'm assuming that it would do very well.
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Old 2008-09-15, 02:06 AM   #3
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I use J. River Media Jukebox (free) or J. River Media Center to manage and organize and play my music files. Makes it easy to completely reorganize the file and directory structure, get all the files named consistently in the same form, find partial albums, and other organizational needs. It's also a great program for playing music (it does perfect gapless playback of MP3 files). I like the program enough that I paid for the full Media Center version. I have gone through several complete reorgs and file renames using the J. River software.

All of my music in my main library has been personally ripped by me or purchased from Amazon MP3. So I don't have to deal with finding partial albums, finding poor quality files, finding tagging problems, and such like that. I have a second library that is in disarray full of stuff that I share back and forth with my brother (my brother is not much on organization and consistency). I only use that library for trying new music that I'm not familiar with. Once I find something I like I rip it myself and put it in my main library.
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Old 2008-09-15, 06:44 PM   #4
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My music is in iTunes. I figure somebody should mention that because it handles the vast majority of all that organizing work for you. But if you don't want to be linked to the iTunes music store, or use the iTunes file-organizing system, stay away. If you're familiar with iPhoto, it's a similar system, where all your files go into a database where you don't have to mess with the back end. That's the good part, as long as that database does what you need it to do. For me iPhoto is way too weak to handle the quantity of pictures I have along with what I do with them. So I don't use it.

But iTunes works great for me. I just want my files organized, and don't need to do lots of hand-tweaking. I can buy music from wherever I want, basically as long as it's not WMV, and import it into iTunes. Then I can create my playlists or other forms of organization like setting up database queries. Mostly my music is organized by artist. If I have more than 10 tracks by an artist, I create a playlist for them so any new songs I add from that artist will automatically show up there when they're added to the library. Everything else has a playlist by letter. Supertramp, for example, would be under S. Eventually I'll do better organizing by genre and star-rating.

My videos are not particularly organized, just in sub-folders by topic. The "unicycle" folder is broken down by MUni, convention, Trials, etc.

If you want to talk about organizing photos, then I can really talk your virtual ear off...
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Old 2008-09-15, 07:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfoss
If you want to talk about organizing photos, then I can really talk your virtual ear off...
Please do! What do you use? I used ThumbsPlus once. Now I don't use anything. I just put the pictures in subdirectories. I'm always afraid of entering keywords, descriptions, annotations, etc., into a program -- only to have them get lost or divorced from the image. Ideally, I want all the metadata stored in the image file. That way, the database can always be regenerated. And I would be free to move files around manually. Or switch to a different application.

I haven't looked into this because it's not a priority (in other words, I'm asking for help without having first done my homework), but if you could point me in a good direction, I'd appreciate it. Also, have you ever lost metadata? Do you feel comfortable that the software won't get confused? Can you move files around manually? Are you confident you can migrate to another application if necessary (keeping your old data)?

As a software developer, I'm not very trusting of other people's software. I'm hoping you can tell me that that mistrust is misplaced.
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Old 2008-09-15, 08:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uni57
As a software developer, I'm not very trusting of other people's software. I'm hoping you can tell me that that mistrust is misplaced.
Weeell.... The product I currently use for organizing my photos, iView MediaPro, was bought by Microsoft a few years ago and "absorbed into the behemoth." They eventually came out with a product called Microsoft Expression Media, which appeared to be essentially the same thing as the last version of MediaPro (which was a good thing). But I couldn't see going forward using a "professional digital asset management" product from Microsoft, so I haven't switched or upgraded yet.

There's a new version (2.0) of Microsoft Expression Media. I went to click on the What's New in Version 2? link on the web site and I got a pop-up asking to install Microsoft Silverlight but not telling me what it is. For this and similar Microsoft-related reasons, I don't need to learn more about Expression Media. I feel bad for the folks at the old iView, many of whom left the company after the Microsoft purchase, while others moved to the US to be part of the new team.

I expect to eventually switch to Adobe Lightroom. It gets good reviews, goes well with the other Adobe suite products, and is covered with lots of articles in my NAPP magazine so it seems like the logical choice for me. However there are some things iView/Expression can do that Lightroom can't, and the author of The DAM Book, Peter Krough, says there are some compelling reasons why he sticks with Expression Media. I got to speak with him directly when I went to Photoshop World last year.

Software aside, here are a few things I do that you can do anyway:

My photos are organized by date. Top-level folders are the year, and groups of images (like events) are in subfolders by date. For example, a folder called "20080330 Moab Muni Fest" for this year's Moab pictures. This keeps the folders in date order, even if they're outside their year folder.

The individual images are also organized by date. The important part of doing this is to keep your camera(s) clock(s) up to date. Especially when you fly to different timezones! I often forget. If you only have one camera it's not a big deal, but if you have multiple ones it's good to synchronize them from time to time. That way if you're using both together, all your shots can be in order.

After downloading (and backing up) images from the camera card, I do a batch rename using the date. This is done within MediaPro, but can probably be done with Lightroom, Aperture or other programs. Or with cheap or free utilities like ExifRenamer, a little utility for the Mac. I use ExifRenamer if I forgot to reset my camera when traveling to a different timezone as well.

So with a simple keyboard command I can apply a preset renaming scheme to any group of pictures. In my case, I do the date so it will come out in numerical order. My photo filenames look like this:
2008-03-28_13-17-29_foss.dng
Year, month, day, hour, minute, and something to identify it with the shooter, though that data is inside each image file as well, if I've done my homework.

Quote:
have you ever lost metadata?
Not really, because I never used it before using MediaPro. I've managed to hold onto all those databases over the years by being a decent backer-upper. Also, you can write most of your metadata to the files themselves. After adding this important step to my process, I've found that photos I upload to Smugmug will have their keywords and captions already there if I've used those fields.

Quote:
Do you feel comfortable that the software won't get confused?
Generally I assume it's me that's confused. Not sure what you mean. It's taken me a while to develop my workflow with MediaPro, and it's still far from perfect. It takes me too long to get my photos up for everyone to see! I can't help tweaking them first...

Quote:
Can you move files around manually? Are you confident you can migrate to another application if necessary (keeping your old data)?
I can move the files all I want, especially if I do it from within the software. As for migrating the data to Lightroom, That's something I'll have to look into. But again, most of the metadata can be saved to the image files so that's not such a huge problem. It becomes a problem with the "special queries" I've created, such as only pictures of a certain person (when that person isn't keyworded), collections I put together for photo books, etc.

I used to use ThumbsPlus when I was on Windows, but at the time I was only interested in the viewer capabilities of the program and didn't delve much into the other areas it had. It was great for viewing nearly every kind of image file. Not sure where it is these days.
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Old 2008-09-15, 08:36 PM   #7
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BTW before you geeks all jump on me, I have now looked up Microsoft Silverlight to see that it's a new competitor to Flash (sort of, among other things), that I just happen to not have heard of. Is it popular? Does it work? Do I need it to view anything other than the Microsoft Web site? So far, not that I've noticed...
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Old 2008-09-15, 10:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfoss
BTW before you geeks all jump on me, I have now looked up Microsoft Silverlight to see that it's a new competitor to Flash (sort of, among other things), that I just happen to not have heard of. Is it popular? Does it work? Do I need it to view anything other than the Microsoft Web site? So far, not that I've noticed...
Silverlight works. It was the engine for online video at the NBC Olympics web site. Anyone who wanted video from the NBC site had to install Silverlight.
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Old 2008-09-16, 12:20 AM   #9
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Ive been doing it by hand for years. I used to use WinMX all the time, and would share all my music with people. So I had D:\Frigadosis\WinMX\My Shared Folder. And thats where all my Audio would be. All by Band name - Album Name - Track Number - Track Name.

The Frigadosis Folder is my main folder, so my Emulator Folder is in there, which trees out to Sega folder, N64, PS, PS2, Dreamcast, Gamecube, Xbox, and a few more.

It would take too long to explain everrything out, but I keep my computer very well organized. You wont find one misplaced picture, mp3 or any other file type just sitting around.
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Old 2008-09-16, 01:02 AM   #10
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For music, I generally use Artist/Album/Track. The problem is now combining the music that I used to have on my desktop with what iTunes organized on my old laptop. iTunes had imported from my previous laptop, and messed up the order if something wasn't tagged right, so now I have a few hundred tracks that are only the track number and title in an "Unknown" folder :P

Home video and photos I organize the same way: Year/MM-DD-YY of the day I copied the files off the camera, with MM-DD-YY Event Name for special events.

My wife says I need to start organizing stuff better, but it's worked pretty well for me, and since I started doing this before there were any management tools for photos, I'm used to it. Even with over 9,000 photos, I can generally find any photo in only a couple minutes.
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Old 2008-09-16, 01:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfoss
My music is in iTunes. I figure somebody should mention that because it handles the vast majority of all that organizing work for you. But if you don't want to be linked to the iTunes music store, or use the iTunes file-organizing system, stay away. If you're familiar with iPhoto, it's a similar system, where all your files go into a database where you don't have to mess with the back end. That's the good part, as long as that database does what you need it to do. For me iPhoto is way too weak to handle the quantity of pictures I have along with what I do with them. So I don't use it.

But iTunes works great for me. I just want my files organized, and don't need to do lots of hand-tweaking. I can buy music from wherever I want, basically as long as it's not WMV, and import it into iTunes. Then I can create my playlists or other forms of organization like setting up database queries. Mostly my music is organized by artist. If I have more than 10 tracks by an artist, I create a playlist for them so any new songs I add from that artist will automatically show up there when they're added to the library. Everything else has a playlist by letter. Supertramp, for example, would be under S. Eventually I'll do better organizing by genre and star-rating.

My videos are not particularly organized, just in sub-folders by topic. The "unicycle" folder is broken down by MUni, convention, Trials, etc.

If you want to talk about organizing photos, then I can really talk your virtual ear off...
I use iTunes on my mac and windows media player on my PC (which I much prefer).

I do like that iTunes and WMP organize your files nicely for you in their library, but I also like to keep all of the actual files organized meticulously, and although iTunes does do that to some extent it only seems to do create folders for albums, and so it still turns into a pretty big mess to sort through.

Photos are something I haven't even thought about sorting yet, I really need to start uploading them to flickr though.
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Old 2008-09-16, 02:18 AM   #12
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My current directory and file naming method for my music is:

Directories: [Library]\Album Artist - Album - Disc#
Filename: first 20 chars of album artist - first 20 chars of album - Disc# - Track# - first 20 chars of track title

[Library] is a general genre that I have divided my music into:
Blues, Christmas, Classical, Jazz, Organ, Other, Rock

All the info is from tag info inside the MP3 files. All the files have proper tags so it's an easy process. J. River Media Center (or J. River Media Jukebox) manage the process easily.

The rename script I have in J. River Media Center is:
Directories: [Library]\[Album Artist (auto)] - [Album]If(IsEmpty([Disc #],1),,-PadNumber([Disc #],2))
Filename: Mid([Album Artist (auto)],0,20)-Mid([Album],0,20)-If(IsEmpty([Disc #],1),,PadNumber([Disc #],2))-PadNumber([Track #],2)-Mid([Name],0,20)

The reason for chopping off parts of the filename to 20 characters was because the filenames of some classical albums were too long. When you start getting some 250+ character filenames it gets to be a mess. Fortunately J. River Media Center makes it possible to chop things down to just the first 20 characters of different fields.

An example of a directory and filename would be:
D:\My Music\LIB\rock\Pink Floyd - The Wall [Ultradisc] (Disc 1)-01\Pink Floyd-The Wall [Ultradisc]-01-01-In the Flesh_.mp3

Since all the naming info is from tags I could change things and run the rename script in J. River Media Center and have a whole new directory structure and filename convention. All my playlists in J. River Media Center would still stay in sync. No orphans or lost playlists just because a filename or directory changes.
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Old 2008-09-16, 07:03 AM   #13
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That sounds like mine, except the program and character cutoff. I dont have a limit. I see where it would come in handy, like when looking at my mp3 player, but I hardly look like that as it plays through its playlist.

I just use realplayer when my tags get messed up on a new disc. I still hate tags. Older mp3 players I sued would organize by file name, thats why all of them are set like how they are; Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos - 01 - In The Presence Of Enemies Pt.1

Noow im in the habit of strict filenames, and strict tags.
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Old 2008-09-16, 07:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerrick
Older mp3 players I sued would organize by file name, thats why all of them are set like how they are; Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos - 01 - In The Presence Of Enemies Pt.1
That's why I have the filenames named the way they are. I still have a CD based MP3 player (it can play MP3 files on a CDR) that sorts by filename. So I needed the filenames to be more than just track# and title.

I have gotten fanatic (neurotic?) about tags and cover art. The tags are what keeps the collection organized. The cover art are what keeps it visually interesting.
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Old 2008-09-16, 07:49 AM   #15
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I would love to have mp3 cds. My car stereo cant play them though (Just regular audio cds) which sucks, I have only have 80mins instead of hundreds of songs. I dont have a casette player in there either, so I cant use one of those really cheap line out to caseete adapters. I could wire in RCA in, but, I just found a line out to car cigarette lighter adapter for $30 at walmart.

I dont have an iPod. just a 4gig Sansa, which is eprfect for uni rides. Big enough for variaty, but small enough that Im only putting on waht I want and browsing doesnt take forever. Doesnt support covers though.

I reinstalled VLC today and it was asking about cd covers. I didnt look into it, but im sure ill be getting the cd art for all of my albums soon. Thats the only appealing part for me when buying a cd. Getting all the cool art that sometimes comes with the cd. Booklet, poster, 8x10s.
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