As much as we ask of our Macs these days is it any wonder that we need even more utilities to help us organize our organization tools?
Think about it. Apple gives us iPhoto to manage our digital photo collections. We get iTunes to manage our digital music. Both are very capable, useful, valuable tools.
Yet, both need a little something else. Multiple libraries.
For the savvy Mac user experienced with iLife, I know what you’re thinking. “Alex, both iPhoto and iTunes already come with the ability to create and manage multiple photo and musical libraries.”
You were thinking that, right? After all, we’re Mac users, so we know Apple provides many little useful tricks in OS X and iLife and then doesn’t bother to tell anyone about it.
Why are multiple photo and music libraries important? It’s an organizational thing. Though the Mac is multi-user capable, most of us dump all our music into iTunes and our photos into iPhoto.
That works OK, but sometimes our lives are a little more complex, so the obsessive compulsive gene takes over and requires that we become better organized.
For many Mac users, a single iTunes or iPhoto library is not enough.
What does Apple do for us? They give us this very useful, very unheralded (that doesn’t sound quite right; is that really a word?) way to create and manage multiple libraries.
In fact, it’s downright Apple easy. Hold down the option key on your Mac and double click to open either iTunes or iPhoto. What you get is a little dialog box asking if you want to open a different library or create a new library.
Testing your organizational talents and ability to remember what you create, your Mac can create and manage multiple libraries for iTunes or iPhoto for free.
Handy, right? Even better are the useful utilities that make managing multiple libraries even easier, with more features, more capability.
For example, iPhoto Buddy lets you create multiple iPhoto libraries but adds a variety of tools to ease your way. You can split your big iPhoto library into multiple small libraries, organized however you wish.
iPhoto can have only one library of photos open at a time. iPhoto Buddy lets you manage them, switch them around, move photos from one library to another, even move their location (stored elsewhere besides in the Pictures folder).
You can even create a thumbnail page so you can see some of what’s in the library before opening it. You get access to more details about the number of photos in the library without even opening iPhoto.
Not bad for free, huh?
What about iTunes music? Guess what? There’s a utility for iTunes, too. It’s part of Doug’s Scripts, and it’s called iTunes LIbrary Manager.
This nifty utility makes back up copies of your current iTunes database files, your iTunes preferences, and lets your create and manage multiple iTunes music libraries.
Create a library for your music, one for your wife or husband, one for your kids. Or, segregate your large music library into separate categorized libraries.
Whatever preferences you set for each is retained for each.
The advantages for multiple libraries may not be worthwhile for all Mac users. After all, it’s something else to keep track of, remember the details about, and figure out why you need it in the first place.
But if your library has grown large and unwieldy, and somewhat painful to manage, use the divide and conquer technique. I use it on my kids all the time. Break up your larger library into smaller ones which are easier to track and manage.
Each library can have a different set of preferences which is handy for multiple iTunes accounts and music or photo sharing.
No matter, right? Necessity is the mother of invention. How do you manage your iTunes and iPhoto libraries with multiple Mac users?