All my music is on CD. What's the best way to sort the shelf of CD boxes so I can find what I'm after quickly? By artist? By album title? What do you do with compilation CDs? As the collection grows it's getting harder to find things...
the path of least resistance for popular music, as suggested by Johnny Bones above, is sorting first by artist, then by release date.
however, this approach falls over in several cases. with classical music, you may care more about the composer than the performer; when a musician joins several groups in succession, their work won't fall together; collaborations can only be filed under one artist's name; and there is no way to grab all the music of a certain genre, or from a certain country, or a certain year, etc. you need a faceted database like that of discogs or musicbrainz to answer these questions.
I had the same problem with my LP collection, so when I switched to CDs (35 years ago) this is what I did:
- Put a ID-number sticker on the spine of each case,
002, etc. when I bought it.
- File each CD in order of date of purchase.
- Record the ID-number, Artist, Title, Price, Where-bought, etc. in a text file on a computer, with one line per CD.
grepthat file whenever I want to find anything.
That file now has nearly 800 entries in it, and has changed format many times.
The file is organized by Artist and several generic categories. Looking for something in a printed copy of it is a lot easier than looking through stacks of CD cases. Once I've found what I want, it's trivial to locate the case and disc as they are physically stored based on the numerical ID I assigned to it.
It's also easy to write a quick program to display the results in any order or format.
If I were starting all over, I'd likely choose to keep the information in a MySQL database. (I'm not sure why I haven't bothered converting it.)
Assigning the ID-numbers in order of purchase is handy, but not necessary. For an existing collection, just assign the numbers in whatever order the cases happen to be.