Why is Apple so totally opposed to the term 'catalog'?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by AES, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. AES

    AES Guest

    And AES responded:
    As an addendum to my recent rant, I'm very curious as to why Apple
    appears to be absolutely opposed to the very term "catalog" or the
    very concept of "cataloging".

    A number of major Apple apps -- iPhoto and iTunes, for example -- are
    in fact (at least in part) serious cataloging apps. Apple insists,
    however, on mislabeling the catalogs created by these apps as
    "libraries".

    (Libraries -- including for example the various System Libraries --
    contain and store actual content; a catalog is traditionally, among
    other things, a list of, or set of pointers to, what's in a library,
    or in some similar storage system.)

    From time to time I've dug through the web pages, product
    descriptions, and varied user documents for iPhoto and iTunes, using
    full-text search tools -- and Apple simply _never_ uses any variant of
    the term "catalog" (at least I've never found one).

    Bento (a cataloging app sold by Apple) has a 157-page User Guide --
    which does not contain one single instance of the word 'catalog'.

    This _has_ to be a deliberate and enforced policy . . . but why?
     
    AES, Aug 22, 2011
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. AES

    MartinC Guest

    You will find lots and lots of complaints about both iPhoto and iTunes that
    they are indeed *Libraries* that "store files at a location and in a way
    that the user can't control".

    You will need to open each preferences to *change* the settings in order to
    let the tools keep all files on their original place - i.e. in order to only
    make them catalogue tools.

    By default iTunes will copy all files into myhome/music/iTunes/ and there
    you will find the library with the actual files.
     
    MartinC, Aug 22, 2011
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. AES

    Thom Rosario Guest

    Bento's sold in Apple's App Store, but made by a third party.
    Their philosophy is to abstract the file system away from users. They,
    for their own reasons, feel it's too much hassle to deal with.

    I kind of agree, at least in the examples of iPhoto and iTunes. I don't
    need to know what directory a file is in if the library app allows me to
    get at the files just as easily.
     
    Thom Rosario, Aug 22, 2011
    #3
  4. AES

    sbt Guest

    If you consider a wholly-owned subsidiary a "third party"? FileMaker,
    Inc. is owned by Apple (it used to be named "Claris" until about 1997,
    when Apple absorbed a couple of products, disposed of a few, and left
    FileMaker Pro as the major product of what remained of the subsidiary.
     
    sbt, Aug 22, 2011
    #4
  5. A catalogue is a listing of items. A library is a collection of items.
    Thus Apple is correct to use library instead of catalogue for apps like
    iTunes which by default keep their own copy of media in it's own
    seperate place. Now if you make life hard for yourself and don't let
    iTunes organise your media, it is instead being more of a catalogue.
    Though since the iTunes UI shows the same regardless of the media's
    actual location, it's something of a moot point.

    BTW - OCD much? ;-)
     
    Jamie Kahn Genet, Aug 22, 2011
    #5
  6. AES

    Thom Rosario Guest

    Huh. I had no idea. Thanks.
     
    Thom Rosario, Aug 22, 2011
    #6
  7. AES

    AES Guest

    It's been a while since I had anything to do with iTunes, so perhaps I
    should be cautious here. But it's certainly my impression that what
    Apple calls "iTunes Libraries" do not _ever_ contain any actual
    musical content; they contain only _pointers_ to files containing the
    musical content -- files which are stored elsewhere.

    In other words an iTunes Library file is _not_ a library; it's at best
    directly analogous to a library catalog.

    [Of course, its also true that a fair number of public and university
    libraries these days may contain few or even zero books; instead they
    may only have lots of terminals which can pull in online content from
    elsewhere -- and yet they're still called libraries. But nobody yet
    has called one of the old style library card catalogs, by itself, "a
    library".] [And in fact, maybe no one else on this group has ever
    even seen a library card catalog, much less used one.]
     
    AES, Aug 22, 2011
    #7
  8. AES

    Alan Browne Guest

    It's slightly grey because iTunes is also used to capture audio, such as
    from a CD. So it reads the CD, encodes it to .mp3 and stores it in the
    Music/iTunes/ folder.

    ~/Music/iTunes/Artist/Album/...

    So, iTunes creates the /Artist/Album/songs... and of course enters it in
    the library that it maintains (the pointers). The music itself is
    imported below the iTunes folder.

    Grey, you see.

    Thus when you "erase" a song in itunes it offers the option of also
    erasing the actual song. If you don't it remains under the iTunes folder.

    Grey, too.

    The actual "catalog" { library } is an .xml (sample below).

    Album artwork is actually kept in a parallel folder in the iTunes folder.
    now listen here sonny!

    Sample of lib .xml.


    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN"
    "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
    <plist version="1.0">
    <dict>
    <key>Major Version</key><integer>1</integer>
    <key>Minor Version</key><integer>1</integer>
    <key>Application Version</key><string>10.4</string>
    <key>Features</key><integer>5</integer>
    <key>Show Content Ratings</key><true/>
    <key>Music
    Folder</key><string>file://localhost/Users/alanbrowne/Music/iTunes/iTunes%20Music/</string>
    <key>Library Persistent ID</key><string>B659C8CD04BE4363</string>
    <key>Tracks</key>
    <dict>
    <key>558</key>
    <dict>
    <key>Track ID</key><integer>558</integer>
    <key>Name</key><string>Allison</string>
    <key>Artist</key><string>Elvis Costello</string>
    <key>Genre</key><string>New Wave</string>
    <key>Kind</key><string>MPEG audio file</string>
    <key>Size</key><integer>3296027</integer>
    <key>Total Time</key><integer>206001</integer>
    <key>Date Modified</key><date>2000-11-25T16:06:58Z</date>
    <key>Date Added</key><date>2008-08-27T15:18:38Z</date>
    <key>Bit Rate</key><integer>128</integer>
    <key>Sample Rate</key><integer>44100</integer>
    <key>Play Count</key><integer>2</integer>
    <key>Play Date</key><integer>3329744761</integer>
    <key>Play Date UTC</key><date>2009-07-06T21:06:01Z</date>
    <key>Persistent ID</key><string>A75E4C79EDD4B651</string>
    <key>Track Type</key><string>File</string>

    <key>Location</key><string>file://localhost/Users/alanbrowne/Music/iTunes/iTunes%20Music/Elvis%20Costello/Unknown%20Album/Allison.mp3</string>
    <key>File Folder Count</key><integer>4</integer>
    <key>Library Folder Count</key><integer>1</integer>
    </dict>
    <key>560</key>
    <dict>
    <key>Track ID</key><integer>560</integer>
    <key>Name</key><string>05-Grantchester Meadows</string>
    <key>Artist</key><string>Pink Floyd</string>
    <key>Album</key><string>Umagumma</string>
    <key>Kind</key><string>MPEG audio file</string>
    <key>Size</key><integer>7183287</integer>
    <key>Total Time</key><integer>448417</integer>
    <key>Date Modified</key><date>2001-03-10T22:24:56Z</date>
    <key>Date Added</key><date>2008-09-27T03:37:08Z</date>
    <key>Bit Rate</key><integer>128</integer>
    <key>Sample Rate</key><integer>44100</integer>
    <key>Persistent ID</key><string>E084E5148582A669</string>
    <key>Track Type</key><string>File</string>

    <key>Location</key><string>file://localhost/Users/alanbrowne/Music/iTunes/iTunes%20Music/Pink%20Floyd/Umagumma/05-Grantchester%20Meadows.mp3</string>
    <key>File Folder Count</key><integer>4</integer>
    <key>Library Folder Count</key><integer>1</integer>
    </dict>
    <key>562</key>
    <dict>
    <key>Track ID</key><integer>562</integer>
    <key>Name</key><string>C
     
    Alan Browne, Aug 22, 2011
    #8
  9. AES

    Jim Gibson Guest

     
    Jim Gibson, Aug 22, 2011
    #9
  10. January 1998.
    True, but even though Claris/FileMaker is a wholly owned subsidiary, Apple
    kept a hands-off approach to a lot of its workings. For instance, Apple
    wouldn't give Claris a price break on its installer app, so Claris went
    with Vise instead, because the license was much less expensive.
     
    Michelle Steiner, Aug 22, 2011
    #10
  11. AES

    MartinC Guest

    Go to iTunes > preferences > advanced

    There you find a checkbox "copy files to library" (or similar, depending on
    the language).

    It should be turned on by default - in this case iTunes will copy *each*
    song that you drag on it into the myhome/music/iTunes/ library folder.

    Not a pointer, the *file*

    If you leave it turned on for good, this folder will always contain your
    entire music files - not just pointers.

    If you turn off this checkbox, then iTunes will keep the imported files at
    all original places - this way it only keeps a catalog.

    So iTunes is providing a library by default, but you can manually set it up
    to be catalog only.

    The only exception to this rule are files purchased in the iTunes store or
    ripped from a CD - since there is no "original place" on your harddisk
    (because it would be the physical CD or the iTunes store server) they get
    copied straight into the library in all cases, no matter if the checkbox is
    turned on or off.
     
    MartinC, Aug 22, 2011
    #11
  12. AES

    AES Guest

    Just to be precise here:

    1) iTunes copies each actual song into the hierarchy

    myhome/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/

    None of the directories in that path contain the word 'library'.

    2) There are a number of folders and files in the overall iTunes
    structure that contain the string "Librar" or "iTunes Librar".

    _None_ of those folders or files (AFAIK) contains a single piece of
    _actual_ music.
     
    AES, Aug 22, 2011
    #12
  13. AES

    Tim McNamara Guest

    They are careful about terminology use with the consumer- not developers
    and nerds- in mind. Apple is successful with consumers for precisely
    this reason, and successful with developers and nerds because under the
    hood they can use language in the ways they are used to. They use
    "libraries" because users experience those applications as containing
    content not pointers to content.
     
    Tim McNamara, Aug 23, 2011
    #13
  14. AES

    Tim McNamara Guest

    You're thinking like a nerd or a developer, not like a computer user.
     
    Tim McNamara, Aug 23, 2011
    #14
  15. AES

    Tim McNamara Guest

    Now you're just trolling.
     
    Tim McNamara, Aug 23, 2011
    #15
  16. BFD! Some people are not happy unless they have something to whine about,
    no matter how inconsequential.
     
    Michelle Steiner, Aug 23, 2011
    #16
  17. AES

    MartinC Guest

    I'm sorry I can't provide all english names, because my iTunes is localised.

    However, it should be structured like this ("myhome" being the home folder
    of your account):

    myhome/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Music/

    It contains *all* of the .mp3 or .m4a (or whatever format) media files.

    It is structured by a further folder hierarchy in the format of:

    /artist name/album title/song.xyz

    If you don't have the actual files there, then you have used iTunes with the
    setting to *not* copy the files.

    But don't be afraid - there is a solution even then.

    Select the menu:

    File > Library > Organize Library

    There you will find an option to immediately copy all "linked" files *now*
    directly into your iTunes folder (as above).
     
    MartinC, Aug 23, 2011
    #17
  18. AES

    Paul Sture Guest

    FWIW, back in my mainframe days I used to hate IBM calling things
    "catalogs" when to my way of thinking they were clearly "libraries".
    I could imagine someone long ago at Apple making a deliberate decision
    to avoid mainframe terminology.

    Taking that further, the word "catalog" is strongly associated with
    "mail order catalogs" to me. Mail order - submit a request and wait
    more than a day for the result.

    I can see how it was a word to be avoided in Apple's early days when
    they were introducing a very radical alternative to the mainframe
    experience.
     
    Paul Sture, Aug 23, 2011
    #18
  19. AES

    Thom Rosario Guest

    You just broke your own example. What you're asking for is for the
    brick & mortar library to have it's books built into the walls and
    floors of the building, instead of sitting on shelves.

    Apple's use of the file system to hold the music files, however, is
    analogous to the shelves in the brick & mortar library holding the
    actual books.
     
    Thom Rosario, Aug 23, 2011
    #19
  20. AES

    Alan Browne Guest

    on my iTunes the actual music is in:

    ~/Music/iTunes/Artist/Album/...

    And from the 'library' file (in ~/Music/iTunes ...) the "pointers" point
    within the same folders: Look for the .mp3 file in <key>Location:

    <dict>
    <key>Track ID</key><integer>558</integer>
    <key>Name</key><string>Allison</string>
    <key>Artist</key><string>Elvis Costello</string>
    <key>Genre</key><string>New Wave</string>
    <key>Kind</key><string>MPEG audio file</string>
    <key>Size</key><integer>3296027</integer>
    <key>Total Time</key><integer>206001</integer>
    <key>Date Modified</key><date>2000-11-25T16:06:58Z</date>
    <key>Date Added</key><date>2008-08-27T15:18:38Z</date>
    <key>Bit Rate</key><integer>128</integer>
    <key>Sample Rate</key><integer>44100</integer>
    <key>Play Count</key><integer>2</integer>
    <key>Play Date</key><integer>3329744761</integer>
    <key>Play Date UTC</key><date>2009-07-06T21:06:01Z</date>
    <key>Persistent ID</key><string>A75E4C79EDD4B651</string>
    <key>Track Type</key><string>File</string>

    <key>Location</key><string>file://localhost/Users/alanbrowne/Music/iTunes/iTunes%20Music/Elvis%20Costello/Unknown%20Album/Allison.mp3</string>
    <key>File Folder Count</key><integer>4</integer>
    <key>Library Folder Count</key><integer>1</integer>
    </dict>
     
    Alan Browne, Aug 23, 2011
    #20
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.