How-to: Free software to catalog your DVD collection

Difficulty: 1.5

Ant Movie CatalogThere are many good reasons to have a list of what movies you own. It can make it easier to choose a film to watch, give you film information and it provides a record of what you had in case they get stolen. I have wanted to catalog my movies for a long time in case they got stolen but did not get around to it as all DVD cataloging software I could find, was shareware and costed money. Besides, I thought I had a good idea of what I had.

Last year my fears came true, I had my entire collection of 400 DVD’s taken from my house. I was lucky as later in the evening, some were found in pawn shops and on the people who carried out the crime, the rest could not be tracked down.

Insurance covered a certain amount of the DVD’s which had vanished, in the form of a voucher. I created a list of the DVD’s from the pawn slips and included the ones I received that night from the cops. Then I headed to the shop to replenish my collection. I thought I would have a good chance of buying the same DVD’s that had been stolen. I ended up not really having a clue, and instead I ended up purchasing a whole heap of DVD’s that were different to what I previously owned, and then ended up missing badly. If only I had a comprehensive list of DVD’s before the series of unfortunate events happened.

This article will show you the Ant Movie Catalog. There are two parts to the software. One part is the editor, which does not look all that great, but it does work. Secondly is the Ant Movie Viewer, which you can see a screenshot of in the picture above. It looks nice and does what I want. Best of all, it is the only free DVD catalog software that I have found which is worth using.

One of the features that I was really keen on, as I was looking around for DVD catalog software, was the ability to export the data so that it can be viewed on my PDA. This serves as a good reference point when I go shopping in the future, and it also serves as a backup of the list of the collection in case the computers go missing again.

I still have moments where I have people around to watch a film, and they suggest a title. I search for the film as I know I had it. Now all this information is in the Ant Movie Catalog, so I don’t need to physically look through the multiple rooms I have DVD’s in for a title I don’t have.

There is a loans management feature, which is easy to use and will clearly let you know who has your DVD’s. I have tried doing this in my head, but my brain is nowhere near as accurate as having the information stored somewhere safe.

The software is open-source, and therefor free. You can even get your hands on the source code to make your own changes if you would like. Of course you have the option to contribute money to the ongoing development of this software.

Moviecatalogxp

I entered in my collection of 380 DVD’s in just over 4 hours. All I had to do was enter the movies titles and then run scripts to get the rest of the movie information from sites such as IMDB.

I was scared off when I first saw that I needed to use scripts, but I gave them a go. They were incredibly easy to use and offer you a whole heap of options of where you can get the movie information from. You receive a selection of information that you can choose between, ensuring you get the information for the correct film. I.e. The Italian Job will ask you which version. As the information is downloaded, you will also receive a picture. This information will be stored on your computer, so the software does not require the Internet to receive information each time.

There are a lot of fields that you can manually change, just in case you don’t like what the various reviewers said about a film.

The export feature currently supports 3 main formats including html, csv and sql. I used the CSV method and copied the file to my PDA. This allows me to view the file in Pocket Excel when I’m on the move, or at the shops trying to remember what I’ve got.

I can’t stress the importance of having your DVD’s listed somewhere, especially if you have a lot of them. Even if you choose not to use this software, list your movies in an Excel file. Once you have done that, you are almost there and you may as well have the movie information with you also as it is easy to achieve. 

You will most likely want both components of the Ant Movie Catalog. Vista users may be missing a few field labels in the software but there is a patch, available in the forums. Get them from antp.be.

If you want to spend a little money, check out DVD profiler. It looks nice and has a Pocket PC version of the software which will synchronise with the desktop version. This is shareware but has some limitations if you don’t fork over the money. Check them out at Invelos Software.




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