I don’t know if it’s because I’m a Virgo or because it’s Spring, but this weekend I felt the irresistible urge to empty my CD racks and re-organize my CDs. I have about 400 CDs, and I have a tendency of messing them all up if I have no structure I can follow. It’s not as bad as my cousin Quasi-Modo, who keeps dozens of CDs and DVDs on one large stack, and owns LOADS of empty boxes, but anyway … (Weird, he’s a Virgo too?)
So how can I organize them? What should be the logic? I remembered this quote from Dave Winer
“Well, I think there are three ways of managing and finding information– chronology, which is blogs, search, and taxonomy (…)” Dave Winer, while visiting Microsoft.
Let me re-taxonomize this to: sorted, categorized and indexed.
Storing in an certain order, defined by a number of sortable non-ambiguous parameters (numbers/text). Typically this leaves you with a one-dimensional space where each album has its coordinates. Micro-organization of a library: per author/title. Mental image: a sorted Excel sheet.
For CDs: release year, label, album, artist name (but watch out with Me’Shell Ndegeo’cello, The The), …
Storing in a taxonomy of preferably non-intersecting groups and subgroups, based on easy-to-discern characteristics. Macro-organization of a library: fiction/non-fiction/poetry/… Mental image: Outlook folders.
For CDs: genre, compilation, record company, sleeve colour, artist gender, …
Storing in a way that information can be found by searching on keywords and/or properties. Mental image: Google.
This would be my ideal way of buying music: I purchase an album/a song – I get a token/proof of purchase – using this token, the music automatically ‘shows up’ on my PC in a format I can use for burning CDs, loading onto my portable player – I can search for artists, genre, title and even have collaborative filtering: ‘music that sound like Jazzanova’. Basically this is iTunes. Does this work with ‘real’ CDs? Apart from manually scrolling through your collection (which can be a physical pleasure with the occasional surprise) I see no implementation of this. Virgin Megastore used to have something inspiring though: you scrolled through their huge selection, took out any CD, showed its barcode to a reader, and could listen to 30-seconds excerpts of each song.
So what did I end up with? A custom mix of Sorted & Categorized:
Satisfying weekend 😉