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There’s information and there’s organization February 1, 2014

Posted by sjroby in Life in general, Music.
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I’ve got a lot of mp3s. For one thing, I have a lot of CDs, and I rip those; more importantly, I’ve been an eMusic member for over a decade, and it’s possible that I’ve hit the 2000 albums mark there (legal, of course). Not to mention Bandcamp, Bleep, Boomkat, iTunes, Silver Mountain, DGMLive,and many other sources of fine musical audio.

Since 1999 I’ve been backing up mp3s on CDR data disks and, more recently, DVD-Rs. I’ve got an Excel spreadsheet listing band name, album title, the date the CD/DVD was burned (they’re labeled by date and stored in chronological order) and by sequential number if I burned a few the same day, and in some cases with a meta tag so I can filter for all jazz, reggae, or dubstep, or all albums connected to bands like Joy Division or Wire (solo albums, offshoots, side projects, etc). And that’s helpful.

But what really helped was getting a good new PC a few years back with a much bigger hard drive than I’d had before. Now it made sense to keep more stuff permanently on the hard drive, and I started organizing a number of folders by genre or artist. I bought a portable terabyte drive and backed it up. If I decided I wanted to create a mix CD or playlist of the singles by all the Joy Division/New Order side projects (Electronic, Revenge, The Other Two, Monaco, Freebass, Bad Lieutenant, Peter Hook and the Light, Gillian and Stephen), all the stuff I had by them was neatly organized in the JDNO folder, so it wouldn’t take long.

Then the PC died, Well, I still had the external, and I have a laptop. But the laptop doesn’t have as much space, so it didn’t make sense to mirror the structure back on here. Well, guess what? The external drive died. I’d bought a second one and had backed up some stuff to it, but I’d been thinking of using one for some things and the other for other things.

Now, here’s the thing. Because of the CD and DVD backups, I haven’t lost any of the music. But I lost the organization, and recreating the structure is proving to be annoyingly time-consuming. I’m not going to do cloud storage for two reasons: there’s too damn much stuff, and I’d use up too much of my monthly Internet use uploading it all. It would take forever. So I’m just slowly dumping files off CDRs on to the second external drive, and I’m going to organize the hell out of that stuff (right down to editing ID3 tags), and I’m going to get a couple more external drives and copy it all on them, and I’ll make new DVDR archives of organized folders.

A librarian should have some proper disaster recovery plans, even at home.

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