By Mark Harris
If you archive your digital music to CD, DVD, or other types of storage, then it can be really frustrating trying to find a particular song. Even though software media players make it easy to locate songs within a scanned library, this doesn't cover archived music that can be in various locations. Fortunately there are cataloging software tools that you can use to quickly build up a searchable database. The following free software programs have been selected for their use in archived digital music collections, but can also bee used for other types of media.
As well as being a good all-round disk cataloging program, Visual CD has some great facilities for cataloging media files. This free software program for Windows can index information from ID3 tags, video and image metadata, and filename and date information; Visual CD can also look inside popular archive formats (Zip, Rar, 7-zip, Cab). One excellent built-in feature is a playlists generator that negates the need to have the music files already on your hard disk -- this can save heaps of time when your MP3s may be hiding away inside an archive file. Other useful tools include: duplicate files finder, advanced renaming, and file splitting. Overall, a feature-rich cataloging program that works well with different types of media files.
Data Crow is programmed in Java and so works on practically any operating system -- Java 1.6 or higher. This media cataloger is different to the others in this list by being module based and therefore more structured. To catalog your audio CD albums for example, you need to choose the Audio CDs module to automatically fill in all the information about the album using online resources. Similarly, to index your MP3s, you need to select the Music Albums module and click on the File Import icon in the toolbar to index and automatically tag your digital music files. Data Crow is a full-featured application with many configurable options for building huge databases for practically any media type.
This Windows-based cataloging tool can index files from various types of storage, like: CD, DVD, Blu-ray, magnetic disk, hard disks, and network-based storage. As well as building up a searchable database of files and folders, Disk Explorer Professional (DEP) can also scan the contents of popular archive files (Zip, Rar, 7-zip, Cab, Ace, and more). For indexing your digital music library, DEP uses multiple filters to extract metadata from MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, WAV and VQF files. The program is also compatible with a large array of other media formats which makes it a flexible tool for cataloging other collections.
This is a program for the Windows platform that catalogs your CD collection. Disclib preserves the directory structure of CDs by cataloging their file and folder names. You can then use Disclib to search and browse your CD collection without having to physically insert them. The program can also extract MP3 tag information which makes it useful for finding a particular artist, song, or genre.