September 2012 Blog Posts

The Cataloging Process

As part of my media center solution, I have a fairly rigorous media and metadata management process that goes on any time I acquire new media. I figured I might give folks a glimpse behind the curtain so you know what goes on. Broken down by media type, here's how it goes from acquisition to "in the system."

  • Audio (Music, Audiobooks)
    • CD
      1. Add to Music Collector.
        • Enter the CD info, generally by bar code.
        • Clean up artist or album name data if needed.
        • Synchronize collection with Music Collector Online.
      2. Add to iTunes.
        • Rip CD as Apple Lossless. Files end up on Windows Home Server for later serving via Asset UPnP.
        • Clean up metadata as needed - artist, album, cover art, etc.
      3. Synchronize iPod.
      4. File the disc.
        • Pull the disc, front cover, and back cover out of the plastic box.
        • File the disc with the front cover in a DJ box.
        • File the back cover in an expanding folder.
        • Recycle the plastic box.
    • Digital (MP3, AAC)
      1. Download from original source (usually Amazon MP3).
      2. Add to iTunes.
        • Drag into iTunes. Files end up on Windows Home Server for later serving via Asset UPnP.
        • Clean up metadata as needed - artist (last, first), album, etc.
      3. Synchronize iPod.
      4. Add to Music Collector.
        • Add the digital files to Music Collector.
        • Clean up artist or album name data if needed.
        • Link to a Music Collector album profile.
        • Synchronize collection with Music Collector Online.
  • Video (Movies, TV Shows)
    • Blu-ray
      1. Add to DVD Profiler.
        • Update the local profile database for my existing collection.
        • Enter the disc info, generally by bar code.
        • Synchronize collection with DVD Profiler Online.
        • Backup the local profile database.
      2. File the disc.
        • Pull the disc cover, discs, and inserts out of the plastic box.
        • File the disc with covers and inserts in a DiscSox storage set.
        • Recycle the plastic box.
    • DVD
      1. Add to DVD Profiler.
        • Update the local profile database for my existing collection.
        • Enter the disc info, generally by bar code.
        • Synchronize collection with DVD Profiler Online.
        • Backup the local profile database.
      2. Rip the disc and add to media center.
        • Rip the disc with DVDFab HD Decrypter.
        • Update the folder name with the disc image so XBMC can scrape data.
        • Update the DVDID XML file if needed for Windows Media Center.
        • Copy the disc image onto my NAS (Synology DS1010+) for later serving.
        • Start XBMC on my master computer (read/write access to the database) and let XBMC scraping add the new item to the database.
        • Verify/correct any XBMC metadata issues.
        • Start Windows Media Center on my master computer and wait for it to add the cached metadata XML file to the system.
        • Correct the metadata using DVD Library Manager including better cover scans.
      3. File the disc.
        • Pull the disc cover, discs, and inserts out of the plastic box.
        • File the disc in a binder.
        • File the cover in an expandable folder.
        • File the inserts in a small photo box.
        • Recycle the plastic box.
      4. Optional: Convert for Mobile Use (via Handbrake). If I do this, I put it into iTunes and then sync iPod and iPad.
    • Digital
      1. Redeem the "digital copy" code (in iTunes).
      2. Update any metadata as needed.
      3. Sync iPod and iPad.

You'll notice that, at this time, I'm not ripping Blu-ray discs to any media server/digital format. I don't have a ton of them and they just eat disc space, so I'm not there yet. I've also still not figured out a good compression format that retains the surround sound, which is why I rip full images from DVDs.

You'll also note that I don't really buy digital videos. The only ones I have are from those "digital copy" things you get with some disc purchases. There's no DRM-free equivalent that they sell videos in right now, so these are "neat" but aren't my system of record and probably won't be if I have anything to say about it. (Which, someday, I may not - thanks Hollywood...) The only time I even use these is if I've got my iPad on a trip or something. I don't/can't use them through my media center.

For all the folks that think maintaining something like this is free... now you see it isn't. Or maybe it is if you don't care about the housekeeping part, but I can see that after you get to a sufficient size then having no organization (or not caring) may render the system unusable, which is what I'm trying to avoid.