How do I track my DVD-Rs?
November 25, 2008 7:18 PM   Subscribe

Is there any good, free UNIX/Linux software you can suggest for keeping a searchable index of removable media?

I have a large collection of backed up files on DVD-R (about five or six hundred volumes). I have been using a proprietary and rather crufty application called CDFinder. My Mac laptop has become rather less stable recently (and I haven't got enough money for one of them nice new MacBooks), so I've made the leap to a netbook running Linux. This is the one application I can't find a decent equivalent for.

Ideally, I want an application that will maintain a database of all the metadata about the files on burned CD/DVD volumes. That metadata will obviously include the file names, creation/modification dates, but also ID3 data for audio files and the equivalent metadata for videos, photos, PDFs and all the other stuff I haven't really thought about. Search speed isn't tremendously important - it doesn't bother me if it takes fifteen seconds to do a search.

One of the things I would like would be for the data to be in an open format, and for the search tool to be usable from the command line (so I can use it over SSH).

I have done some Googling, but all I can find are the sort of things record collectors would use to keep track of their albums. Not what I want: I basically want UNIX's metadata-aware 'find' or 'locate' commands for unmounted volumes.

I've been thinking about building something like this myself as a fun little open-source project over the Christmas holidays. If someone has a suggestion of an existing project that would do what I want that is free, open source and preferably not tied to any windowing environments (command line ftw!), I'd be greatly appreciative.
posted by tommorris to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
The only thing I can think of would be either Amarok or Rhythmbox - my music collection is a mix of CDs and downloaded mp3s. Whenever I load a song in either application, I get cover art, album name, artist name, and so on. Not sure about Amarok, but Rhythmbox has an excellent search engine.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:32 AM on November 26, 2008

As for your DVD's, Totem Media Player would be the way to go.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:36 AM on November 26, 2008

Well, you mentioned 'locate', and although it doesn't catalog metadata it can be used to catalog removable media by creating additional databases. See your local man pages for more info.
posted by MaxK at 8:06 PM on November 26, 2008

Gnome Tracker appears to be a Metadata indexing tool that does what you want. it has command line and GUI search tools. I've never used it so I don't know how it handles removable media though it probably can be made to.
posted by tallus at 2:14 AM on November 27, 2008

If you can export the data from your current program, you could put directory/metadata listings in text files (one file per disc) and then use something like Glimpse or even grep to find what you're looking for.
posted by fengshui at 7:09 PM on November 29, 2008

Here's a perl script (If you're so inclined):
use File::Find;
print STDOUT "Enter a disk id number:";
$disc_id = ;
system("mount /media/cdrom");
open FILE, ">>dvdrecord" or die;
find(\&process_file, "/media/cdrom");
close FILE;
system("eject /media/cdrom");

sub process_file {
my $filename = $_;
my $fullpath = $File::Find::name;
$fullpath =~ s/\/media\/cdrom/$disc_id/;
print FILE $fullpath."\n";

posted by nimmpau at 8:02 AM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I've been looking for something along these lines for years, had some good results but never ended up using anything extensively. I have used CdCat for a number of my archives on disks, though it looks like there are some newer applications now I'd like to try. It has no CIL, unfortunately, and the interface is a little crusty. For as obvious of an application as this seems to me, I've spent a lot of time looking for a solution with few satisfying results. Hopefully I can help you out a bit, though.

The only one I've found that (I think) meets all your criteria is GTKatalog, which has a (slightly limited) ncurses interface (a wonderous thing), metadata/file information extraction via plugins, and storage of directory structure and file information. It doesn't appear to scan MP3 tags by default, but I think you could make a plugin.

Look at some of the other solutions on linuxappfinder. I think the rest are GUI-based, though perhaps a CLI could be added to some.
posted by nTeleKy at 10:14 AM on December 12, 2008

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