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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Data Crow: Media cataloger that's simply caw-esome


Almost everyone owns media. Books, DVDs, CDs, Software, it's all around us. Sometimes it can get a bit messy of what you have or don't have, and you might be looking for a way to organize it, and Data Crow can do just that.

Data Crow is a multi-featured media cataloger, designed to make it extremely easy to keep track of you various types of media. Right off the bat, it handles CDs, Movies, Books and even Software. It's pretty straightforward and easy to use, but also has the ability to be extremely customizable to an experienced user.

 Almost every single area of Data Crow is extremely well organized. It has everything divided up into "Modules" that can be enabled and disabled, so you can choose your own list of items you want to keep track of (example, "CDs", "Movies", "Books", etc). Under each module, there is also sub-Modules, like "Actors" or "Directors" for the "Movies" module, or "Artist" for the "CDs" module. Furthermore, under a module, you have a list of the items, like for example, I have "Extreme Days....I-Robot....Monty Python....." under my Movies, but you can also choose different ways to sort, like by "Actors", "Year", "Director", or just even by "Title".

The thing that (A) most impressed me, and (B) drew me to Data Crow is the ability to import an item. There's a TON of information for media items. Instead of entering in a DVD's title, director, actors, front cover, play length and other stuff that you might want, you can also just import all that data with a few clicks. The "Item Wizard" lets you search various online databases for the item that you have right in front of you. You can use the ISBN for things like books, and the UPC (barcode) for CDs, Movies, Software, etc. It's extremely accurate (from when I've used it). It uses well known sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IMDB, SourceForge.net and gets almost every field available (depending on what site you choose). If the websites miss something or get it wrong, you can always manually edit a field.

The only other features I can think of to mention are Report and Filter. Data Crow can generate amazing reports in either PDF or HTML of an entire Module (ie, CDs, Movies). Very nice, if you need a detailed list of every CD/Book/DVD you own. It also has Filtering, which will bring up only the Movies/CDs/Books that match your filter, whether it be Actor, Author, Director, Title, etc.

The only thing that I was disappointed in was the ability to create your own module. Sounds great, right? Yeah, I thought the same thing too. I wanted to make a module dedicated to Steam games, but I found the process extremely difficult, and in the end, it just did not work out at all like I hoped. That being said, please don't let that taint your vision of Data Crow. I actually did create a good module, it just sorted the fields alphabetically, which put "Title" halfway down the list other than on top.

Otherwise, it really is a wonderful program. It's written in JAVA, meaning that it is cross platform. To be honest, Data Crow is the first program that's written in Java that I actually enjoy profusely. Other programs do their job well, but they still have that Java-y feel to them, and they're often slow. Not Data Crow. It can actually be skinned to where it hardly feels like Java, and it's extremely fast.
On top of that, Data Crow is portable, and open source. What more could you ask?

Visit Data Crow website for Download

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing, it seems an intelligent data crow. I think its value will be found soon later.

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