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Ask Slashdot: Huge Digital Media Libraries

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the need-more-tbs dept.

Media 361

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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361 comments

Nope (4, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35560020)

The simplest solution is just to use directories and if you want to find something specific say all films by Scott Ridley's for example films just search IMDB. Sure its not as clean cut as say Songbird or iTunes but it works.

That's alright (5, Funny)

sneilan (1416093) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559240)

You can admit it. Slashdot understands that you have a large *personal* media collection *AHEM*.

Re:That's alright (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559358)

You can admit it. Slashdot understands that you have a large *personal* media collection *AHEM*.

Hee hee, you are so funny and original!

Oh yeah yeah and you are very pasty, very fat, and very live in your mom's basement. LOL! Oh wait, and you also never had a girlfriend or a job because that would take time away from hacking the Linux kernel or playing World of Warcraft or something. Oh man, it is funnier and funnier each time I read it ... somehow ...

Stereotypes are so clever and fun! It is like all of the humor with none of the pesky thought! I mean hey, who wouldn't want to see that over and over and over again in each and every story...

Re:That's alright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559500)

Living in his mom's basement and never having a job are why he can afford to have such a large music collection.

Re:That's alright (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559748)

Or he could, you know, earn money from actually knowing "computer stuff" which other people can't be bothered to learn, but are willing to pay quite well for. Would it surprise you to know that my mother doesn't even have a basement? And that I don't even live in her house? I also have a large music and media collection, though I can't be assed ripping all the movies. More likely I will be on a monthly HD streaming service before I ever need to do that.

Re:That's alright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559784)

Looks like someone got trolled.

Oh really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559270)

One has to wonder where he GOT those terabytes of digital content...

Are you with one of the **AA's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559328)

No? Then who cares? I have 300+ DVD and BR rips from my personal library that could easily fill any decent media server. TB's of digital content != piracy.

Re:Oh really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559330)

Maybe he got copies of commercial media from his friends. This is legal in some countries. For example in Germany it's perfectly fine to distribute up to 7 (rule of thumb) copies of an audio CD among your real-life friends. This copyright law exception not widely known though.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privatkopie [wikipedia.org] (no English article available)

Re:Oh really? (2)

Fibe-Piper (1879824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559520)

Here in Canada, Libraries are being asked to repurchase eBooks they have bought and distributed after about 30 people have "checked it out". Its all a bit of a farce, all things considered.

Re:Oh really? (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559620)

> One has to wonder where he GOT those terabytes of digital content... ...looks at shelf full of leather bound CD/DVD binders. "Sci-Fi" spans 4 binders. "Comedy" spans 3 binders.

Re:Oh really? (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559964)

I own the David Attenborough Life Collection. It's 24 DVDs. Even assuming they are the single-layer type, that would be:

112.8 Gb. Roughly.

Now say I own, say, several boxsets of comedies, series, documentaries, a few dozen movies, maybe even a couple of dozen free promotional DVD's with full-feature films on them that are given out when the film stops selling.

Now, *NOT* including anything I've recorded from TV / Movie channels for my own consumption, not including any home videos, not including ANY Blu-Rays, etc. I can *EASILY* fill terabytes of data without even blinking an eyelid.

Hey, I could probably fill a terabyte or two with DVD images of cartoons (proper children's cartoons) and stuff I watched when I was younger (I have the complete set of Dangermouse, Batfink, etc.) and that's hardly something I go out and buy every day and keep buying. A terabyte, or even half a dozen terabytes, is NOTHING. It's just when you have to copy it all into a single place, like this guy is doing, that it appears to be a lot.

It's just that he's obsessively backing it up and/or converting it to free formats so that he can just browse from a media library, like the ones he desires, so it's all on one hard disk (or more likely RAID). It's not "abnormal". It's nowhere near "evidence of piracy". It's just a media collection stored on disk instead of the original DVD's.

Try using the user interface (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559286)

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

Re:Try using the user interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559774)

Actually, there isn't.
At least I have no idea how to find it in Windows 7.
There isn't even an "Edit -> Find" option anymore. :\

Shortcuts anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559856)

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?

You do know what "shortcuts" are, don't you? (or "aliases" on the Mac, "soft links" on Linux)

Put "Good Omens" in your "Books" folder and create shortcuts in your "Terry Pratchett" and "Neil Gaiman" folders. Problem solved.

Re:Try using the user interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35560010)

do you feel guilty for your sarcasm yet?

Fedora Repository (5, Informative)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559344)

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]

Re:Fedora Repository (2)

croddy (659025) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559472)

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.

Media Library (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559348)

I created my own, Completely searchable (by actor, director, genre and more) with data from IMDB, NetFlix and Amazon as each titles is added. Complete movie and tv episode sysnopsis as well.

Re:Media Library (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35560026)

AniDB is great for Anime but nothing like that exists for other media.

Heirarchy by subject matter? (1)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559350)

/var/media/video/bondage/ ?

Re:Heirarchy by subject matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559438)

"1-dimensional" hierarchies are rather limited. Let's say you want to browse your media not only by subject but also by creation date, e.g.: /var/media/video/bondage/2011/ /var/media/video/groupsex/2011/

It gets increasingly tedious to browse for "all videos from 2011" with an increasing number of subjects. That is why tag systems exist and also why MP3 ID3v2 sucks, unlike Vorbis Comments (used in FLAC and Ogg).

Re:Heirarchy by subject matter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559564)

Yes but movies can be several things at once, are you going to symlink a movie into 20 different directories?
/var/media/video/faye.valentine/pornucopia.25.divx
/var/media/video/sasha.grey/pornucopia.25.divx
/var/media/video/mff/pornucopia.25.divx
/var/media/video/natural.tits/pornucopia.25.divx
/var/media/video/redheads/pornucopia.25.divx
/var/media/video/rope.bondage/pornucopia.25.divx


That would work but it's a pain in the ass, there must be a better way.

hardlinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559352)

I use multipull links to the same file.
thats what they are there for.

and directorys are your catagorizing unit.

the more work you put into building and keeping a good schema the better off you'll be

you have a database configured right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559354)

dude, all you need to do to get the results you are describing is to set up a relational database! you can easily do this with MySQL for instance. simple queries will yield the results you are looking for, even the neil gaimen / terry pratchett title depending of course on how you related your tables to one another.

Calibre, open source ebook manager (4, Interesting)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 3 years ago | (#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]

Re:Calibre, open source ebook manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559914)

Be warned, the UI is really ugly with strange icons (Hearts and stuff) and non-standard interface.

Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559366)

You can always look in the trash bin for Uwe Boll, at least it should be there unless someone misfiled it in the junk folder.

purge (4, Insightful)

anyaristow (1448609) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Mod Parent Up (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559724)

Personally, I re-read/re-watch/re-listen all the media while transferring them from medium to medium. If I didn't re-watch/re-listen to it, I don't transfer it.

Re:purge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559740)

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?

This.

He'll be spending more time organising and categorising all that content than he'll spend watching it. Then again, maybe filing stuff is his hobby.

One of the more liberating things I did was delete my audio/video archive. No more trouble categorising, no more constant background music, no more transferring loads of data from HD to HD. Suprisingly a huge media library is one of these things you're better off without.

Re:purge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35560032)

This is the realistic, mature approach. But this is a website where people ask, in all seriousness, how to archive ten year's worth of emails...

XBMC ? (2)

rrey (1886420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559372)

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:XBMC ? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559440)

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 ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559574)

I use XBMC in conjunction with myMovies. myMovies can save xbmc compatible .nfo files so I dont have to worry about the scrapers messing up and the info is always the same if i add another media center or rebuild the library. It really works great.

Re:XBMC ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559524)

I've been using XBMC as a Linux HTPC for two years now.

It's a good solution for {Music, Television, Films} hooking into {moviedb, last.fm, thetvdb.com, many more} to allow search/sort by meta data.

It doesn't support {books, comic books, etc}.

Re:XBMC ? (4, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559642)

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].

Re:XBMC ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35560030)

It's also buggy as hell. Expect crashes, and strange behavior with fast-forward & rewind.

Still, I like it better than the alternatives.

Re:XBMC ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559994)

Another vote for XBMC. Hands down, the best media center software available (unless you want integrated TV tuners, then look elsewhere).

boxee (1)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559376)

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.

Yes, use Netflix and YouTube (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559386)

Let the cloud do all that for you. Done.

Re:Yes, use Netflix and YouTube (2)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559578)

Honestly, if you don't mind relinquishing some control over the media (and risk that Netflix chooses not to carry some obscure cult classics) using those cloud based "delivery on demand" options makes a lot of sense. They're certainly attractive to non-techie types that have no interest in managing media servers or migrating storage mediums every decade.

I wrote a custom Database (2)

hodagacz (948570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559388)

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.

XBMC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559394)

XBMC

Try it and thank me later.

iTunes (5, Insightful)

aclarke (307017) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559402)

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 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:iTunes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559644)

Why would you not just use VLC for Mac? It plays everything.

Re:iTunes (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559664)

>>>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 times (like Star Trek) or if it's just plain junk (like one of Glenn Beck's books), I'll probably never watch/read it again, so I get rid of it.

re: iTunes (another option) (4, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559802)

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.

Re:iTunes (1)

Lord_Jeremy (1612839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559868)

I second this. iTunes takes the ID3 tags concept and wraps it around movies, audiobooks, etc. As you can sort and categorize your music with various metadata properties, movies can be organized likewise. I don't do too much movie/tv show viewing in iTunes, as I either use just plain old Quicktime or my iPad. Unfortunately it's pretty much MPEG4 (h.264 optional) or bust. Even with Perian or other codecs installed, no go for alternative formats.

Re:iTunes (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35560028)

> 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: drive you into buying something from the Apple store.

XBMC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559414)

Ever given it a try? Might be worth an attempt with 10% of your music/video data. There is a vast array of plugins available (no clue about one for comic books) and sometimes developers willing to create one just for the fun of it.

MyMovies and XBMC (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559424)

I keep a database of my movie collection using a program called myMovies. http://www.mymovies.dk/ you get most of the important features in the free version. It interfaces well with Windows Media Center. It can also generate .nfo files that can be read by XBMC. I use XBMC for playback of nearly all my media on the big screen / stereo. I can search for media by almost any criteria I can think of and the User Interface is great for browsing with cover art, fan art banners an synopsis of movies and tv shows.

Re:MyMovies and XBMC (2)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559682)

this.

and since the information database MyMovies pulls from is community maintained and vetted, it is far superior to the metadata that you will get from even good metadata sources like IMDB.

You can use MYMovies for frontend interface on Windows Media Center or you can utilize one of a number of other front ends and only use the MyMovies Collection Management DB backend.

The nice thing about this product is that it does store actor/director/crew information, so you can easily pull up any director and see all of the movies in your collection and with a simple click then pull up any of those movies for immediate playback.
I have 20TB+ of movies/tv shows in my collection (yes i own them, i buy dvd's instead of paying for cable/satellite service) and utilize the MM front end and backend and everything is fast to utilize.
Another nice thing about MM is that it is completely free to use for home use and allows for all of the "nifty" special features people like, including screen customization, movie art, etc.

their newest version (still in beta till the end of the month) also now includes specific features for handling tv shows ripped to individual episodes if you are one the "acquires" these.

More details required? (2)

frying_fish (804277) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559450)

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 continues. You can also sync all these details with an online tracking website such as the relatively new trakt.tv so you and your buddies can see what you recently watched (all done automatically once you have an account at the website and configure the plugin). There is an equivalent for movies called movingpictures which does pretty much the same thing, and you can set up your own categories for sorting too. Mediaportal is a spin-off from XBMC, but is also opensource, and free, but only runs on windows (and makes a very good HTPC software on the whole). So if you're not running windows, maybe try XBMC instead. That is just my personal experience, your mileage may vary.

created a website with tagging (2)

Zine (989213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559454)

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. If you wanted to get fancy you can reuse the metadata to present lists using the views module. For direct access via the application (like the audio player), that is when I go to the backend, but generally at that point I know what I want after going through the website.

XBMC for movies and TV shows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559462)

For movies and TV shows I suggest using XBMC media center (or similar media center software). It downloads additional information (director, actors, posters, synopses..) from the net and puts everything into a database. You can then browse movies by director, by actor, genre.. the kind of limitation that you mentioned.

minus the BAD fiction, we'd fit on a thumb drive (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559480)

deception is constantly evolving, & requires constant editing/attention/compliance. there'll never be enough room for all that in a life expanding universe? back to the chapter on father mopery, & his legal paperwork/costs? see the problem? substitute any life threatening entity. more & more of less & less, truth?

Moovida (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559482)

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.

Movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559488)

http://www.videodb.net/blog/

Is awesome for movies, and it would be great to get some people re-involved as the project has stagnated.

Videodb (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559498)

I've used videodb with good success. Takes the filename as the name of the tv program/movie, and there's an interface into IMDB and other media related search engines what allows you pull data into your videodb database.

http://www.videodb.net/blog/

It doesn't really cope with music, but from what you've said you can find all that without too much difficulty.

WM7 + MediaBrowser + MetaBrowser (1)

nearlyhugh (2022452) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559512)

MetaBrowser grabs meta data for tv-shows and movies (cover art, banners, backgrounds, IMDB info, descriptions, actor images...) and MediaBrowser is a great add-on to Windows Media Center that replaces the (rubbish) built in movie library browser. Both are free and work really well for me - they allow browsing by genre, starring actor, rating and more.

Filesystem overlays (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559552)

There should be a Fuse [user-space filesystem] plugin or two that can help you with organizing, although I don't know how well they work.
In theory when you mount a media folder you should see something like:

$ ls
by_author/
by_name/
by_genre/
etc..

It's a while I want to try them out but I never got the time.
This is one http://code.google.com/p/media-fs/ can't find the other at the moment.
 

Windows Land (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559598)

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.

Symlinks and filenames (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559626)

Pretty much everything asked for in the original post can be covered with links and filenames. Where is Good Omens? Put it in one author's folder with a link in the other author's folder.

mv good_omens-terry_prachett_neil_gaiman.ext ~/Books/Terry_Prachett/
ln ~/Books/Terry_Prachett/good_omens-terry_prachett_neil_gaiman.ext ~/Books/Neil_Gaiman

That was pretty easy. Also, since both authors are in the title, the "locate" command will find it with just the book title or either author. You want to keep track of all of Scott's films? Make a directory for him and put links in there to all of his films.

Whatever you do, you're going to end up entering extra data (author, actor, director, item name). You could either work out a tagging system and enter the data that way, or use the existing file system and a few links to produce the same effect. The latter will cut down on your search time because

ls ~/Film/Director/Scott_Ridley

has a darn short run time.

Calibre and ComicRack (2)

Xadnem (1120075) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559632)

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.

SCOTT RIDLEY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559652)

Has a better H1-N visa than this ask-slashdot idiot.

I've been happy with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559658)

http://www.collectorz.com/ for my book needs.

MediaTomb (4, Interesting)

gregthebunny (1502041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559672)

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.

Gotta agree with purging it all (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559684)

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 as a huge waste of money or it's for people that just have to collect stuff.

Re:Gotta agree with purging it all (3, Insightful)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559896)

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.

Re:Gotta agree with purging it all (1)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 3 years ago | (#35560014)

Agreed. I found that around the age of 25, I began re-reading certain books and re-watching movies to find that I interpreted them differently the second time. Years later I'm still re-watching movies that I forgot I watched. Thanks to Netflix of course.

Filthy pirate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559690)

Theres no way you own all that media. And even if you do own it. You have no license rights to transfer it anywhere.

Obviously your only solution is to delete all of it and turn yourself into the media police.

We have your confession already. We'll be waiting for you.

Don't make us come get you.

Comic Reader / Manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559692)

ComicRack is a nice, free, actively developed comic reader / manager for Windows.

I actually use my iPad most of the time when I want to read them, but it's great for managing your collection, and can pull and auto-fill meta information from comicvine. For reading on the PC it's still nice and pretty quick (I think it uses some hardware acceleration).

Subsonic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559694)

Yes absolutely! I use http://www.subsonic.org on a daily basis to manage and enjoy my fine collection of 1.5TB carefully archived music files.

It's a java based webservice, and it supports https and streams to mobile devices
GPLv3
Oh, and it also streams video.*

So far I have no solution to my MASSIVE ebook collection, and searching for one.

* = I am not affiliated with Subsonic, only a huge fan.

Electronic Hoarder (0, Offtopic)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559708)

You likely need help. 99% of your stuff could disappear overnight and you'd never miss it.

Re:Electronic Hoarder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559870)

You likely need help. 99% of your stuff could disappear overnight and you'd never miss it.

I've dealt with people like this. They have a very simple three-instruction mind when it comes to data and media:

1. If you have any free space available, it MUST be filled. Else you are clearly wasting it.
2. If you do not have any free space available, you MUST obtain more. Else you can't get more stuff.
3. If you have the most media, you have the highest score, and thus you win.

1 and 2 make up the main processing loop, 3 is the watchdog that reboots them back to the 1-2 loop if they ever hear an argument like yours. Note that "enjoy media" isn't anywhere in there. And you're not going to change them at all.

My Movies 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559778)

Try "My Movies 3" I have 5 TB of movies and it handles them no problem. It does not do other media, but it is great for movies.

For photos... (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559780)

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.

Semantic (Tagged) Filesystems (2)

TheTyrannyOfForcedRe (1186313) | more than 3 years ago | (#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]

Electronic Hoarder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559794)

As pointed above. Ditch the dumb TV series, all they do is make you dependent and asocial.

Re:Electronic Hoarder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559922)

Or if like me, you have a very small child you don't have the option to go out much. In which case you are already asocial so you might as well watch TV. At least until your small child is big enough to look after itself

Calibre (2)

pvera (250260) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559814)

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.

Libra (1)

Lanforod (1344011) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559816)

I used to use Libra - seems like it's gone defunct now, but was great for what you are looking for. Anyone know the story on why it's gone now?

Dedicated DB & Web Interface & Thumbnail C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559848)

Well, I developed by own little db: one entry per line, tab separated fields, first name has fieldnames.

As next I have a web-interface which sorts according fields, the default fields are uploader, title, author, year, time plus custom fields. As next I have a file which describes how the fields are treated, e.g. time (UNIX epoch) is formated as YYYY/MM/DD and sorted so, author is sorted by occurancy etc .. a bit like SQL's sorting on 'select count(*) from ... where ...'

And then the perl script which does handle that flat-file db . . . and there is a script called 'thumb.pl' which does the magick: creates a thumbnail of the cover of .cbr/.cbz (comics), .pdf (books), .avi (movie poster), .mp3 (cover art of the CD) where the true programming work lies ... parsing the filename (supporting several conventions), and derive author and title, time comes from the date of file.

Yes, I thought of releasing it, but it's a mess I know .. and too lazy to clean it up and publish it ... (call me a bastard) - maybe a bit later when I get motivated I do it.

Anyway, in essence, I run my script over my HD and get several dbs for comics, books, and movies, also picture-sets, and via browser I search for the content ... I thought of doing one web-interface for all media .. but right now I have for each media separate interface.

Hint: First I was very eager to gather all kind of metadata (which I still consider most important), but later realized visually it's more important to have a proper cover - it lets me find things very quickly and memorize what I have already (I'm more visually oriented and memorize what I have already).

Collections Manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559866)

Like you I also have a large amount of media and have been looking for a good collections manager. If you looking for a program based solution one that I have played with and like is GCstar (http://www.gcstar.org/). You can create your on collections or use there predone ones, and the best part is that it runs on most OS's.
The other solution that I have migrated to is creating a media wiki for each of my different collections. The reason that I have migrated to this option is it is highly configurable and I can import a lot of the data form wikipedia.

No standard for meta-data (2)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35559928)

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.

BeFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35559962)

Okay, yes, it's largely obsolescent by the standards of modern applications and hardware, but your situation is precisely what BeOS was designed to serve. Built-in arbitrarily-extensible metadata attributes, non-heirarchial relational database file structure, built-in indexing and querying functionality: good, forward-thinking stuff.

Take a look at SkyOS or Haiku for contemporary implementations.

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