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How I stay digitally organized: media files

2 Comments | This entry was posted on Dec 03 2008

As a follow up to my “How I stay organized post” here is how I keep my music, pictures, and videos organized.
First I need to talk about where/how to store important files like media files. All of my media files are stored in one place as a master and multiple other places as copies. I keep my master copy on my home NAS and then I have secondary copies on my laptop, desktop, and MythTV. I also keep a backup of the master on one of my USB hard drives and a second backup on my webhost (no you can’t have access). This is the ideal way to keep this information backed up for me. If I ever find a file that is labeled wrong I change it on the master copy and eventually it will filter down to the copies. Storing everything in one place has helped my organization habits more than anything.
My music folder is organized with the following folder structure.
Artist
Album
Songs

In order to keep all of that organized I had to make a standard naming scheme for all my files too. Here is what I chose. My album folders are named %Artist% – %Year% – %Album% and my songs are named %Artist% – %Album% – %Track% – %Title%. I chose this naming scheme so that if a file gets lost somewhere where it does not belong, which they often do with this many computers, I can easily find where it goes. Two extra things that I make sure all my music folders have is every album folder has a folder.jpg file of the album cover art and every artist folder has a copy of the folder.jpg named after each album I have. For example I have the artist Bush. Inside of that folder I have two folders for the two albums I have and two pictures for those albums. This way when I view the artist folder I can see what albums I have without even opening the folder. This doesn’t work so well in OSX or Linux but works great on my Windows machines and Xbox Media Center.
I have used TagScanner to edit all of my songs by hand. Yes it has been very tedious but I have yet to find a automatic tagging system that did well for me. I also use TagScanner and Album Art Downloader to embed album pictures into all of my songs. This took a while but is worth it when you see the album art in XBMC, on an mp3 player, or any other player that supports viewing album art from within the ID3 tags.
My pictures are stored in folders with the “Date (Event)” so Halloween is “2008-10-31 (Halloween)” This sorts my pictures by date taken, and then with a description of what the event was. If the event is multiple days I use the first day for the date and then I have sub folders for day 1, day 2, etc. I keep a few category folders for folders I don’t want to have to sort through every time I view my pictures. Some of the main folders I have are Automotive, Desktops, Misc, Downloaded, and folders for Beth and I. Desktops and Automotive are pretty obvious but Misc is for 1-2 pictures for a event, screenshots, icons, and drawings. Downloaded is for fun pictures online that I have found. :) The user folders are for project pictures and other misc stuff that Beth and I want to keep.
Finally, videos are stored by type. Not filetype but more source type. Movie, TV, Web, Shot are the main categories I have. Most of my shot video is actually in my pictures folder with the event it is tied to.
Once all my media is organized on one source it is fairly easy keeping it maintained (so long as I am the only one writing to the NAS). Got any tips or questions just let me know in the comments.