Organising Your DVD Collection
The first thing to consider when you decided to organise your collection is the system that you are going to use. This could include any of the following:
- Date of Release
- Main Star
The main thing to consider when deciding on how you’re going to organise your collection is how it will be stored. If you’re putting them in boxes then it may be better to organise by Genre rather than Alphabetically, if you’re using slotted shelves then sorting Alphabetically could be a pain as you’d have to move each DVD down a notch if you buy a new one starting with “A”.
Once you have decided on the storage, it’s time to move on to top-level categorisation, then once you’ve chosen your categorisation method, are you then going to order by a sub-category (which could be any of the examples above)?
What if DVDs are stored in multiple locations? Then it may be better to have no organising as such on the DVDs themselves but rather a list of locations and approximate order the DVDs are in.
Once you have chosen your category then stick to it. Don’t vary sub-categories within the main category contexts as you’ll lose all benefit of the top-level organisation.
So basically the workflow is:
Storage Solution > Main Category > Sub Category* > Track
* If required
Tracking your DVD collection
Once your DVD collection reaches a certain size it can, and will, become difficult to remember what you have, who you lent it to and whether you bought the limited edition or standard DVD. This is where Tracking tools come in.
You can start off with a simple list or spreadsheet, make a database or use the various software/web tools that are available (see below). Sample information you could use (and this will be dependant on what tool you use for the job) could be:
- Movie Title (Obviously!)
- Script Writer
- Year of Release
- Format (this could include widescreen, 4:3, or DVD region code etc.)
- Main Cast (probably best to limit this to about 5 or so)
- Date Purchased
- Purchase Cost
(Useful for keeping track of a running total for insurance purposes – you’d be surprised how much it’d cost to replace your collection)
- Purchased From
- Lent to
- Date Lent
Of course, not all of this information may be applicable or they may be further categories you wish to add, just use what’s relevant to you.
Storing the Information
Once you’ve decided what information you want to store about your DVDs then you can decide on the appropriate tool to use.
For example, a simple spreadsheet may do if you just want to keep the Movie Title, Director and who you lent it to but you’d probably be better off with a database if you wanted to record anything more complicated.
If you don’t currently have a spreadsheet package on your machine (such as Microsoft Excel, MS Works or Lotus) then I’d highly recommend OpenOffice which is a fantastic free package and easily rivals Microsoft office.
Update (13th May 2016): I’d also recommend LibreOffice which is a fork of OpenOffice and updated more often and is a bit more modern.
If you want to use a database then MS Access would work quite well (or the database that is shipped with OpenOffice 2), however, if you want to get more complicated you can always use MySQL as an alternative (using a web-based front-end).
But then again why build your own (like the muppet that I am) when there’s so much stuff already available that’ll download Covert art, running times etc when you select the item in your collection? Here are a few examples:
DVD Affictionado *(I started using this before fiddling about with my own view some of my collection here)
- Update (13th May 2016:) It would appear the DVD Aficionado site is no longer working. I moved over to Trakt.tv some time ago which allows me to keep tabs on all the TV shows and Movies I watch as well as list the ones I own and want to watch – view my collection here (I’m still adding to it at the moment!)
- DVD Corral
- Movie Organiser (Windows) (Mac version soon)
- DVD Collector (Windows)
- DVD Shelf (Mac)
- Delicious Monster (Mac only?)
- DVD Listing (Pocket PC)
So, organise your collection and never be wondering who you lent that DVD to again!