A general cataloguing issue

Back in the day it was easy to catalogue a new purchase. You’d stuff the CD in the drive, press read and a shiny new entry was added. Vinyl was similarly easy. With the advent of digital downloads things have on occasion become a little more complicated.

I recently purchased a box set of the Collected Works of John Dowland. As a download it came in one folder containing 149 files. It was taken from a 12 CD set which in turn was based on a set of 20 vinyl LPs over 15 albums. To save space the CD set splits the vinyl across disks.

So, do I catalogue this as one unwieldy file, 12 messy CDs or the 20 original LPs and collate them as a boxset?

Your thoughts please

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I’m also perplexed. My first reaction is to divide them into CDs, but you mentioned messy. Then I thought about the LPs, but I would only do that if I could find the original album covers to go with it. I think, in the end, I’d keep it as one big download since that’s how I got it.

Hope this helps.

p.s. ultimately, I’d change my mind three or four times, change the entry in my db, and then settle on one way or the other. I’m like that. And, John Dowland. Lotsa lute. Love it

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That’s sensible. I swither between various methods depending on what I feel I should be using MuC for. Is it the music, the recording or just a catalogue for insurance purposes? Usually a bit of all three . But before I go back through all 5000 entries add consistency I thought I’d get some other perspectives

On the rare occasions I download stuff (eg The Spanky and Our Gang Complete Mercury Recordings 4CD boxed set which I missed at the time). I always burn a CD equivalent with printed artwork and it’s that which I catalogue. In this case it is a single muc entry with format ‘QuadCD’ and packaging ‘Boxed Set’. Mind you all my cataloguing is done manually and I don’t bother entering track lists; do sometimes link to my mp3s though which has the same effect. Prefer Mediamonkey for playing tracks on my PC.


I, too, use MediaMonkey. However, I’m in the process of ripping all my CDs to hard drive.

I primarily use MuC to keep track of all my audio, be it CD, LP, or file. I catalogue everything so I know what I have and ultimately so I can play it from my PC.

Lots of options here, and as you say,

Couple of years ago I copied all of my music to my home media server, so at that point the actual LPs/CDs became artifacts. I don’t think in terms of insurance, but it’s probably not a bad thing, just in case. Add to that the electronic albums I’ve since downloaded, and … well, what?
My solution is: if I own a physical object to go with the tracks, it’s “in collection,” otherwise “not in collection.” A standard field, there to use, so I use it.
In terms of the discs, where they’re real, no problem. When they’re virtual (tracks that are server files only), who really cares? If a “disc” is cataloged with 120 tracks, so be it. I consider it a virtual container only.

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I actually use two systems. Almost everything is ripped to FLAC, stored on server and tagged within an inch of its life to enable maximum flexible playback. Everything here is independent of its original album, especially the classical stuff which is by work, rather than collection

And then there’s MuC which I use for basic cataloguing and statistics. Mainly so I can quickly see what I’ve got & don’t duplicate too much. This is ordered by album, hence the quandary about erratic classical boxset downloads

I’m only lightly into classical, so I’ve avoided the intense pain that some of you hard-cores have suffered. I remember the passionate discussions on the old forum, and being glad I was such a lowbrow that I didn’t have to dive into that dogfight.

Man, how the world has changed since! I guess it’s amazing that a cataloger still can be used effectively now, considering how the sources, formats, and … everything … are different. I still use MuC a lot, for things like finding out how many artists and versions I have of a particular title, or how many of Artist X’s tracks were cut before 1960. Maybe not stuff that ends plagues and wins wars, but for me provides many fun hours.

One other use for the physical media we haven’t touched on is - the liner notes! What a wealth of insight they collectively contain! Sometimes you want to read them to get some facts and stories, encyclopedia-style, about artists and performers. My catalog tells me where to look.

Now if I could figure a way to get all those notes into tabbed text files … future project?


I tend to catalog my classical by work, too, unless the album is by a performer or soloist. All my Pavarotti that has multiple works is under his name, not the works he sang on the album. An opera, though, like Turandot, is catalogued by work with soloists, orchestra, and conductor listed by album even if Pavarotti is the featured tenor.

I could go on, you’d all get bored and cry TL:DR, so I’ll stop. The beauty of the software is you can make it your own.

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I convert my liner notes, if not already done so into PDF. I then link it in MuC.

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Most of my classical music comes with a PDF as part of the download but often I just visit the originating webpage which normally has a copy. Well at least Hyperion & Presto do

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Pop music is so much easier to catalogue


If you haven’t decided what to do once all your music is on a hard drive, let me suggest Plex. When I built my server I was in exactly in your position: all this friggin’ music? How am I going to listen to it? A friend said, “Try Plex.” Wow.

Plex has kept all its promises. I’ll get right to the finish line: with one of their iOS/Android apps called PlexAmp (they admit their admiration for WinAmp) I can do something I never dreamed would be possible in my lifetime - play whatever I want to hear from my collection housed on my server - in my car! for as long as I like.

I start the PlexAmp app on my phone, in the car (Bluetooth connection to car audio, of course). It then links to and streams from my Plex Server via 5G! Use the phone app to select what I want to hear (a little clunky i/f, but hey!) and spend the rest of the trip enjoying music, as long as 5G is available.


I will definitely look into this. I’m browsing the site now.

I scan any cover/booklet to jpg files that I store local and online. I’ll never lose another to sun fade or mildew again. Makes looking up info a lot easier too.

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I’m hugely impressed by you guys in the ways you imaginatively use the software to catalogue your collections and how you manage and access digitally stored music.
I use MC for recording physical media only, 2/3 of which maybe is now in digital form initially for use on ‘walkman’ mp3 players
A key reason for using MediaMonkey is for playlists (don’t think MC handles playlists but that is not its purpose), but I soon learnt whereas you can use MM to transfer albums to an I-Pod don’t use it for playlists. Leave that to I-Tunes,