The journal of Paul M. Watson.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Managing your media library

Media Man

You have a leaning tower of Pisa inspired stack of CDs, a T.V. shrouding collection of DVDs and your book shelf is propped up with extra nails as the wood bows beneath the accumulated years of words. The other half of your collection is spread amongst a dozen friends and family, much of it never to be seen or heard of again. When you visit your mate Ronny he proudly displays his first edition Catcher in the Rye which you swear blind you lent to him last year, only you aren't that sure because you have twelve copies of the book. When your mother-in-law asks if you have the b-sides of Prodigy, her mid-life crisis you understand, you mumble and scratch your head hoping to remember.

You need more than scribblings on a bit of paper stuck between two books to keep track of all this. You need a media manager, a legible, easily updateable system that will show just how many U-Hauls you will need for your CDs when you move house.

There are many of these applications out there but instead of doing an objective review of all I'd like to point out one that is working well for me; MediaMan.

Its biggest feature is its simplicity. Load it up and you can quickly start adding books, CDs, DVDs, games, software and VHS cassettes. The key is its integration with You enter in a keyword or the ISBN of the item you are adding and it gives Amazon a call, retrieves all the details for you and adds it to your collection. That means you don't end up transcribing hundreds of titles, authors, bands, publish dates and track names. If you have a barcode scanner or even a webcam you don't even need to type as it will scan the barcode, hook up with Amazon and bob is your uncle, a recorded library.

I also rather like the presentation. You can go with a dull list or you can view a virtual shelf showing the item's cover sitting alongside other items.

Really, it just works. It is also free.

(Thanks to my mate Brian for twigging me onto MediaMan.)


Blogger Gaurav said...

Hi there,

I am one of two ex-Amazon engineers who launched in mid-January. Our site helps friends manage their collections of items online via the BillMonk Library.

You can add items by a title or author search (we pull results from as well as ISBN or asin. However unlike the Amazon library, you can also describe arbitrary items and add them to your collection.

One of our coolest features is that you can track who you loaned an item to, or borrowed it from. Never lose your stuff again, or be embarrassed about forgetting to return that book!

Even better, you can search or browse your friends' collections. Looking to borrow a DVD for the weekend? Simply browse what your friends own.

Finally, you can make your BillMonk Library public and share it with visitors to your blog. We provide you with an HTML snippet which will draw a graphic containing 5 randomly picked items from your library. Visitors to your page can click on this graphic and browse your collection. See it in action on our own blog at

BillMonk was launched with an emphasis on helping folks split bills, and just over a month ago launched the BillMonk Library due to popular demand. Have a look and let us know what you think.


Gaurav (one of the BillMonks)

4:23 AM


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