Indexing CDs
May 11, 2004 12:48 PM   Subscribe

I have 500+ CDs, and I'm thinking about indexing them so I know what I have (none were stolen in our recent break-in, but now I'm mindful of what COULD happen). What's the best way to do this? Make a database in a Microsoft program? Is there a free easy utility out there? Someone might have asked this already, if so, I apologize.
posted by agregoli to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
i store my300+ cds in those 4-cd-to-a-page sleeves, which have room for the cd booklet, but not the paper which covers the back of the jewel box. i'm one of those people who hates throwing away anything that isn't obviously broken, so i have all those left over bits of cd liner art in alphabetical order (by artist, then chronologically by album) in a photo file box in the garage. should my cd sleeves ever disappear, i'll know what was in them.

not quite a database, more like a card catalogue.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:59 PM on May 11, 2004

Being THAT kind of geek, I converted all of my CD's to high quality mp3s some time ago, so I can play whatecver I want from the computer without having to deal with the piles of CDs. Making a bunch of mp3 cds with the resulting files means I can carry around a 32-disc book instead of a 200+-disc book when I travel. And, to respond to your question, the file-structure of the mp3 folders acts as an index of the CDs I own, so if I ever lose that old physical copy, then I know it's gone. Though, really, I use the mp3's a lot more than the CD's, so it's usually the other way around...
posted by kaibutsu at 1:09 PM on May 11, 2004

By no means easy, but ripping them all into iTunes & hooking your PC to your receiver will
-- create that database for you
-- allow you to hide those original CDs away in a box
-- provide you a backup if anything should ever happen to them
-- turn your PC into a [any number]-disc changer

Alternatively, somebody with a CueCat and a dream has probably already hacked together something that will enable you to just scan the CDs, one-by-one, into a database (except those that for whatever reason don't have barcodes)
posted by luser at 1:13 PM on May 11, 2004

Here you go, the CueCat solution. It's $40 tho, might be worth it.
posted by luser at 1:17 PM on May 11, 2004

The old trick for cataloguing your possessions for insurance purposes is to walk through your abode with a video camera and carefully make a record of everything you have. If you get close and go slowly you could record the CD titles. The insurance company won't care though, unless you have some rare stuff worth more than average, they just want to know how many total CDs. Oh, keep the tape someplace different, such as at work or in a safe deposit box.

I have tried cataloguing my CDs in a database, mostly so I can stop buying the same ones over again. I think I am far from anal enough to keep up with such a project. A few come in here and there that do not make the database and then to catch up you have to go through the whole collection again. What a pain.
posted by caddis at 1:24 PM on May 11, 2004

Response by poster: I do not want to convert all these CDs to mp3. It's not practical for our purposes, nor do we have the computer space required. We want to keep the liner art/case. I was just hoping for a solution that would involve slightly less work than just typing in every title into a Word Document, but I'm thinking that might be easier, now.
posted by agregoli at 1:40 PM on May 11, 2004

Why not download EAC? Pop your CD into the drive, Database / Get CD Info from FreeDB. Remove the CD, insert another, and when you're done, Export Whole Database To DB Text File, which is delimited nicely for import to Excel or whatever. Just tested this, and there's no ripping required!
posted by punilux at 1:49 PM on May 11, 2004

Would creating an account on Mediachest be the answer? You can enter things by artist or title (artist is handy if you have multiples of the same artist, and then check off the list they provide). It's free, and you needn't use it for sharing if you don't care to, but I think it's easier than typing everything into a Word document.
posted by ambrosia at 1:53 PM on May 11, 2004

If you are sure you want a database, that Cue Cat Solution referenced above looks pretty cool. However, I would guess you are then giving some company a database of your musical tastes, if that sort of minor privacy invasion doesn't really bother you. If you are set on typing them in, why not go with a spreadsheet over a word processing file. Sorting and manipulating your data will be much easier.
posted by caddis at 1:53 PM on May 11, 2004

Response by poster: Mediachest might be just the thing, thanks!
posted by agregoli at 2:01 PM on May 11, 2004

Best answer: I use Music Collector myself. It's rather good, keeps getting better and not too expensive.
posted by dodgygeezer at 2:12 PM on May 11, 2004


i'm curious, where do you put all those cds? i went with the sleeves mostly because i just couldn't find a reasonable way to store all those cds in their boxes.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:40 PM on May 11, 2004

If you happen to have a CueCat from a few years back, Orange CD will catalouge them for you. (Scroll down to the Feb. 16 entry).
posted by ArsncHeart at 2:59 PM on May 11, 2004

I use Music Label for cataloging and DiscSox for physical storage.
posted by Sangre Azul at 3:19 PM on May 11, 2004

If you are sure you want a database, that Cue Cat Solution referenced above looks pretty cool. However, I would guess you are then giving some company a database of your musical tastes, if that sort of minor privacy invasion doesn't really bother you.

I don't think it works like that. The readerware program for books just has you scan all of your books and then you have it query a bunch of online resources (Library of Congress, amazon, etc) for matching isbn numbers. I guess the program they have for audio stuff may be somewhat different, but I don't think it is by much. Either way, you never use the cue-cat software.
posted by eckeric at 3:57 PM on May 11, 2004

Physical storage: put 'em in individual sleeves with the booklets, then put the sleeves in your leftover 5.25" diskette boxes, or in CD boxes.
posted by kindall at 5:41 PM on May 11, 2004

Or, if it's solely in case they get nicked, take photos of them on your shelf, close enough to tell what they are. No typing required! (The insurance co. will be happy enough with photographic evidence and the no. of CDs)
posted by cogat at 6:00 PM on May 11, 2004

rate your music allows you to catalog your cds into a sortable, searchable, csv-exportable list like this. i think it's slightly more work to enter all your data there than typing into a word document, but perhaps the extra features make it worthwhile.

disclaimer: this is my site.
posted by helios at 6:04 PM on May 11, 2004

You can also use I Own These which is something I created to catelog all of my DVDs.
posted by thebwit at 7:42 PM on May 11, 2004

Response by poster: Kindall - I said above that we don't want to remove the sleeves from the cases.

crush-onastick - It IS a problem of storage. A few months ago, I convinced my boyfriend that the racks and cases weren't enough, and we got a four shelf bookcase to hold them all. With double rows of CDs on each shelf, and the shelf being about 5 feet tall, it holds them all.
posted by agregoli at 9:06 AM on May 12, 2004

caddis: I have the same problem with maintaining the database. I store new CDs separately from the main collection until I've done the database inputs. It's kind of like an incremental backup. When the separate storage gets full, I cut myself off from buying new CDs until I've updated the database. (Nothing motivates you to work like the need for that new Zamfir CD, right?).
posted by joaquim at 10:39 AM on May 12, 2004

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