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How do you organize your sound collection? (1 Viewer)


I haven't seen a discussion about ways to organize your sound collection here, so I'll start one.

I do not yet have a large sound collection. But the one I have is not well organized. It is simply a single folder with the original files with the names generated by my Olympus LS-12. For example: 150523_0177.wav

Metadata is generallly recorded in my field notes, I.e. on the page for May 23 2015 I might have scribbled down:
"Empidonax sp. 0177"

In the field notes I have of course also noted data on location, time, behaviors etc.

In time, I would like to sit down with my note books and go through all my recordings and get them properly organized and uploaded to xeno-canto where appropriate.

So: How do people here organize their sound libraries?

I think that my preference is to keep all the files in a single folder and create a searchable database where I can collect all the metadata.

The easiest way to start would probably be to use the command prompt to create a list of all the file names, drop the list in excel, and record the metadata in separate columns. But that approach is a little less convenient when I want to add more files later. Could be done, though.

Appriecate input on ways that you have found works for you!


New member
I simply have the files in folders based first on the recorder used as I've had several, and then by year. Within each year folder the .flac files are organized by date. Each recorder folder has a text file with all the file names, which contains the type of sound, description, any extra notes and the duration of the file. I don't save exact time information; I record for sound effects, not for any kind of scientific research. The files are still in their original order though, of course. As I am not only recording birds, but also other animals, ambiences and non-natural sounds, this system works best for me.


For now i use one 'birdsound' folder with different subfolders. One of the subfolders is a general folder with all identified sounds. I use filenames with scientific name and date, for example crex_crex_2020_06_24. When i'm looking for more info on the recording i just check the date in the online database system i'm using (in my case waarneming.nl or xeno-canto.org). Sometimes i edit the sound and save different types of the same call or song etc., for example crex_crex_2020_06_24_nr (noise reduction).

I also have a folder with unidentified sounds which i name spec_2020_05_20_nr etc.


Well-known member
You should be able to use most any music manager software. Normally, they have a system to figure out what a song / album is and download the metadata. But you should be able to create your own artists (e.g. species), albums (e.g. ssp or locations or mating/non-mating, etc) and tracks. It should work OK with WAV files, or they can be converted to mp4.

You can also use other metadata like "genre" and classify tracks by whatever tags you want. You could make playlists of "cooing" or "screeching" for example.

I do not have any specific recommendations, it would really depend on your platform. You might want to pick software that you do not normally use for your music to keep it tidy, or define a separate library.


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