It's easy to lose track of DVDs and downloaded videos in a big collection. To keep better tabs on your visual stuff, check out our top five finalists for best movie cataloging tools.
Photo by Andres Rueda.
Unlike many of the Hive Fives where all the tools are freeware, several of the reader favourites in this list were paid commercial releases. The price and supported operating system are noted beside each entry.
Delicious Library / Mac OS X / $US40
Delicious Library was a popular candidate for organizing movies, but this app can cover a lot more of your organizing needs. Users can gather and catalog anything they can assign tags and attributes to—books, movies, music, glass gnome figurines, exotic ale collections, you get the picture. On the movie side of things, it excels in the ease of use and visual appeal category. Movies are pleasingly arranged, face-out style, on a virtual bookshelf. The virtual shelf isn't just eye candy however. Using the Smart Shelves system you can create a nearly infinite variety of displays based on search expression. Want a swank wall of cover art that displays all your Western movies from the 1960s and 1970s, or a tribute shelf to Neil Flynn? A simple boolean
this and that in the Smart Shelves search will whip it up. Delicious Library supports manual importing or—as the screenshot here demonstrates—you can simply hold the barcode of your item right up to your web cam to import it. Your library can be exported and published on the web, or even shared with friends through your own website or Bonjour, if they are on the same network. In addition to a robust cataloging feature set, Delicious Library even has a super quick process for listing your items for sale on Amazon.com if you want to convert some of your unused media into cash. Photo by J_O_I_D.
DVD Profiler / Windows / $US30
DVD Profiler is a commercial application, but with a generous trial. All the features of the program, save for high resolution cover art, are available for the the first 50 movies you enter into the program. Beyond 50, you need a $US30 licence. What features are packed into DVD Profiler? You can add movies by UPC or title, the app provides results as you type in titles, and usually offers multiple versions to fit the exact edition you have. You can search your movie collection by all manner of filters, like cast and crew or release date. Data geeks can generate serious charts highlighting the miscellanea of prices paid, genre type break-downs, years of release, and other data sets and combinations. DVD Profiler also lets you track movies you wish to own, have on order, or have lent out to friends. If you're at a loss for what to watch, the interactive Movie Pick feature uses variables like your personal ratings, critical reviews, and time since you've watched a movie last to suggest a movie from your collection.
Collectorz Movie Collector / Windows & Mac OS X / $US30
Movie Collector sports many of the features available among other cataloging applications here, such as support for bar code scanning, the ability to export the collection, and advanced searches for drilling down through your media. Movie Collector also has support for television series and boxed sets, including specifics on which episode is on which disc and in which part of the box. Like DVD Profiler, Movie Collector supports tagging you movies as owned, on order, and on your wish list. Unfortunately, several of the features that are included in the other applications on this list are only available in the Pro version of Movie Collector, which will run you an additional $20.
Libra / Windows / Free
If you're a Windows user, and seeing apps like Delicious Library leave you muttering words like "Apple-only," "pretty," and "stupid," calm your nerves and peek at Libra. The Windows app shares more than a few similarities with Delicious Library, and can manage more than just your movie collection. You can import your collection from other cataloging apps, enter items by scanning the bar codes on a web cam or actual scanner, or enter your titles manually. Libra has built in loan tracking, list creating tools for web posting, and an old-fashioned paper catalog print-out of your titles. Oh, and Libra also has the distinction of being among the free-as-in-beer applications in this list.
Eric's Movie Database / Windows / Free
Eric's Movie Database is the smallest in scale, by far, of the applications in this week's Hive Five. Weighing in at just under 1MB, Eric's Movie Database is surrisingly effective for its spartan stature. If you're not looking for a flashy movie catalog, but want something a bit easier and more graphical than manually hacking together a spreadsheet, Eric's Movie Database is a great choice. You can search by cast, crew, director, or your own search terms. Cover art is grabbed from the Internet Movie Database, or you can supply your own if you want better quality. You can import and export your database as a text or HTML file, and for good reason—although you have to install and extract Eric's Movie Database, changes are written to its local directory, making the application semi-portable. Like Libra, Eric's Movie Database is free.
If you have tips and tricks, software or otherwise, for corralling movies or other media, sound off in the comments below and help your fellow readers whip their media collections into shape.