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Another method
Authored by: cmac6126 on Apr 20, '11 01:46:03PM

I have a large CD collection and started ripping them back in the iTunes 1.0 days, although I have them all in iTunes now.
I like rummaging through second hand stores for discs and sometimes can't remember if I already own a particular disc or not, which has resulted in a few duplicate buys over the years. I needed a way to have a 'portable' CD Catalog to prevent this.

I came up with a method where I use the iTunes 'Export Library > Plain Text' command to create a tab separated list of all discs/tunes in my collection. A bit of massaging the file in a spreadsheet app (or with awk) and I have a list of all the discs I have.

I used to then load this onto my iPod (1st gen!) as a contacts note file for use when I was at a store. Notes have rather small limits on the length though so I'd have to split it into many contacts which was a pain, but at least I had a list.

When I got the first iPhone I realised there was better way (I have more ripped music than will fit in any iPhones iPod app, so that's still out)

I now take that exported text file and through a combo of a shell script that runs UNIX awk, sort, uniq and cat commands I get an html table formatted file that gets uploaded to the web. I can access that via Mobile Safari for perusal while on-the-go, and since iOS 4.2 I can also use the 'Find on this Page' functionality to do a search. I run the script one a week or so to make sure it's upto date.

Of course I just need the discs title/artist/year info, but there's no reason you couldn't extract other info (ie song titles, times etc). It's all contained in that 'Export Library' output. I did try to use the XML export initially, but found it simpler to use the text for my purposes. If you were trying to get the info into another database the XML could be the best way to go with the data loader.

Until I read this hint I'd never thought that someone else might find that useful too. If anyone's interested I could supply my shell script(s) and try to find some time to write it up properly.

I also been experimenting lately with exporting the text from long webpage articles I don't have time to read to the ePub format where I load them (via iDisk) into iBooks for reading later on offline (like on a plane). This might also be a nice way to get that list portable with me as well (2nd hand CD stores are often in basements where 3G connections are flakey so I need to make sure the page is loaded before I descend).

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