Now that you’ve ripped and digitised all of your CD library – what do you do with your CD’s? One idea is to create a catalogue and then you can box or put away (or recycle) your CD’s and DVD’s giving you much more space to fill with books, CD’s or other stuff.
If you’re like me, I’ve been ripping all my CD’s for years and the CD and cases were just collecting dust in my room. Some audiophiles or purists will have you believe that you still will want to play the CD, but I don’t own an £800 CD player.
I wanted to recycle the packaging, keep the CD and the booklet for its album artwork. Recycling the CD or giving it away to Oxfam is also a nice spacesaving idea – but then technically, you wouldn’t own the music anymore so that digital copy would become illegal.
Where to start – searching Google for keywords like CD library, collection or managing CD’s led to lots of spurious results – like suggestions for iTunes, MediaMonkey and so on. All useless in this case. I knew that a program called Delicious would do the trick and had come across Anobit and Librarything for books. So there is some software for collectors.
I settled on testing
- Music Collector
- Delicious Library 2
Delicious Library has the nicest interface and a number of options like coverflow, browse by bookshelf (like a library). First time users will like Delicious – it can import your iTunes automatically and its best feature is using your Mac’s iSight to scan and search for barcodes. During testing I was under joyed to find that Delicious Library free version only supports 25 entries. Then they wanted $40 to upgrade. Booo hisss.
CDpedia seems the most like iTunes. Layout is column based and clean. It matches Delicious Library in its ability to use your iSight camera as a barcode scanner. Its free version supports 25 entries. By the time I got to 25 entries, I thought paying $18 was going to be worth it.
Curiously the company behind CDpedia also makes a version of the software called Bookpedia and DVDpedia. I’m not sure why … when CDpedia does a good job of managing my CD’s and DVD’s. Delicious Library will also allow you to add books and DVD’s in the same version.
Music Collector also limits its free version to 100 entries. It lacks the Barcode Scanning ability of the other two apps. However, it can search all the same databases like Amazon, CDDB, etc if you first put the CD into the computer. Music Collectors visual style lacks any eye candy being more like a excel spreadsheet then a library database. Music Collector was the only software to have a windows version which is good news.
Features and Usage
Adding CD’s was probably the best fun - whamo … the builtin iSight camera had my adding CD’s all afternoon. I quickly found that a lot of errors come from the type of paper used for the jewel case inlay paper – shiny, coated stuff was not so good. Searching for barcodes should be easy – by default all the software want to search Amazon US or CA first. Annoyingly little things when you live somewhere else. Options to change this are under the Preferences.
One nice feature of Delicious and CDpedia is its ability to import your iTunes library as well - kinda over-rated as what you would want is the ‘sync-up’ or symbiotic link to be made between the CD entry and the iTunes entry. A good feature in Delicious is that you can click on an entry from your iTunes library and play it immediately.
All three pieces of software will support adding CD’s via a barcode scanner, importing a text file with barcodes.
Export and Publish your Collection
Delicious Library wins out on visual experience, creating bookshelves like libraries or exporting as fully functioning website were cool. CDpedia too can export as HTML or create Smart Collections like smart playlists.
Kind of cool, but not of much use is the ability to export your collection to your iPod or iPhone. If you wanted to check if you have that CD then it might be nice.
All 3 pieces of software allow you to backup with options to backup to CSV or spreadsheets as well.
Loans & Library tools
What seemed very ‘strange’ to me was the ability to check in and out CD’s from your collection. CDpedia also allows you to setup email reminders and send Late Notes to your tardy friends. I kinda think that any friend of mine receiving such a reminder might tell me to £$%-off and never return my CD.
I thought in away that Delicious Library and CDpedia have forgotten what it is they are about … Creating a Catalogue and focus on ‘me’ first. It’s nice to have some bells and whistles but getting the core right is more important.
What convinced me of one app over the other was the addiction of adding and that the trial or ‘free’ version gives you a chance to add enough entries in the CDpedia database so that you wont want to start again. In the freemium world this is a good move.
CDpedia does have the look of a quality piece of software. Its developers Bruji should bundle the DVD and Bookpedia versions as part of the licencing. You can see quickly that Delicious and CDpedia are going head to head on features.
Limiting trial software to a few items doesn’t win converts combined with the price of Delicious Library 2, this was a turn off when I didn’t know what I wanted. Based on the internet reputation, then Delicious Library would probably be the winner with the most ‘memes’.
I’ve now added my 700+ CD’s into CDpedia and am working through creating collections. Useful when you have any number of CD/DVD holders and want to know what folder the CD is. Delicious Library has won the awards and the plaudits, but CDpedia is probably the first choice for Collectors wanting alot of features for good value.
the people at Music Collector should tweak their apps visual style, de-clutter their website and make entries unlimited to grow the number of users.
iTunes, Songbird, Winamp, etc – are more media player and can't manage your CD library … your digital format is what to use for every day playback. However iTunes doesn’t keep track of what happened to the CD.
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