Tuesday, April 3, 2012

iTunes and being a Librarian

I'll let you in on a little secret to why I love iTunes. It has nothing to do with the store, Genius function, or even many of the other fun capabilities that make it unique from other media players. I love iTunes because of 3 columns of data that are displayed for songs: "Rating," "Last Played," and "Play Count." This probably means I'm a bit of a nerd, but I love it! I love to watch the Top 25 Played playlist to see what my wife and I have been listening to. In looking at this playlist, I love the fact I can tell whether we've been listening to something recently or not, or whether we are listening to a new album that has come out or a single that gets played over and over. I also love to see whether the songs I rate 5 stars are actually the ones we listen to the most or not. There is a little correlation with 4 or 5 star songs, but interestingly a lot of 5 star songs are more "classic" ones so they may not get played all that often in the here and now!

Seriously, I have to rate every song in the library, and frequently check this data. We've had to move our library to a new computer (or hard drive) three times, and this actually bums me out because it resets the play counts back to zero! Right now, the most listened to song has been played a whopping 16 times since we just had to have a data recovery done on our computer when the hard drive failed!

(Is there a point to this post? Does there need to be?)

I think it speaks into some of the organization skill-set I have. Growing up I collected baseball cards and NASCAR die-cast. I still have the collection, and took pride in organizing and re-organizing them by team, in alphabetical order, in display binders. Also, growing up, even Hot-Wheels and Matchbox cars were organized in how I placed them in the little plastic trays you could get to store them in. Sure, I played with these hard, but I kept them organized!

When I was taking "What career should you choose" aptitude test in high school, do you know which career field ranked number 1? Librarian. Number 2 was Forest Ranger. (Perhaps another post can describe this career field - after all I did go in the Army!)

Even today, I realize I still enjoy organizing! I have always kept my DVDs in binders alphabetically and categorically with whether it is a 1- or 2- disc DVD. Amanda and I enjoy wine, we have a small cooler, and I have always catalogued (at least mentally) what we have. In fact, I can still remember whether I have tried a wine before or if it is a new one! We have books at home, and finally have enough shelving that I was able to split them up and arrange them into theology, nursing, non-fiction, reference, and fiction sections. Actually, fiction and non-fiction are found in separate rooms these days! My computer filing system is also pretty organized in folders - I hate a cluttered computer desktop. But in real life, my desktop actually is cluttered because "action items" stay out while things accomplished are then "filed away." (interesting)

Everything in our house has a spot, which was part of the fun of getting used to each other when we got married and moved in together since we did things differently (of course!). I've worked on filing all my coursework from graduate school in some semblance of order, and have boxes of my military stuff in the garage in a manner where I know where it is for reference. Even hiking gear has an place and system for the backpacks and locations of the gear.

But I'm also not obsessive compulsive about this. Rather, its about an order to allow access to the information, and to fully enjoy the space! Coming all the way around to iTunes,  I not only have rated and catalogued the music, but enjoy looking at the play counts, etc.

To conclude this post, I simply hope that it is an insight into how you can reflect on little things in your life that can illuminate themes into your talents, gifts, and abilities. I laughed at the librarian idea in High School, but in the context of this post it now makes a lot more sense. (Although, there are a lot of other skills and talents that make me know I shouldn't make a career switch at this point into library science!) Can we see how we are gifted, to utilize and adapt those gifts?

Have you reflected, seriously, on your life in this manner?

What little things have you seen in your life that illuminate a truth about who you are?

What are your organizational, interpersonal, or practical skills that are true strengths or weaknesses?

Do you understand yourself? (Ok, maybe not completely because I sure don't!)

Take some time to do this, and crank some music on iTunes while you do!


1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I enjoy organization as well. Though I'm more of a lazy organizer. For example when I moved, I unpacked my library and made a fiction bookshelf and a nonfiction bookshelf. But now, anything new gets sort of tossed in the general direction of which bookshelf it belongs on.

    Another example is notes. I saved all my notes from undergrad, all on notebook paper, filed away in folders. When I moved I bought a small filing cabinet to put them in. But I never got around to putting them in the filing cabinet. Additionally, will I ever look at them again? Probably not. Any factual info I need I can look up on Google/Wikipedia and any creative items (essays and so forth) are all saved on my computer.

    Another example of my laziness, I also enjoy looking at the play counts for songs (I use Winamp which has the same categories that you mentioned by the way, no Apple products necessary ;P ) but I don't rate my songs. Because that would take a lot of work to go through and rate each one. (I have around 6,000 songs)

    One thing I am really good at is making programs to organize data. For example, I use Google Voice as my primary phone number. Any calls or text messages go through Google before it gets to my phone. This means Google keeps a copy of my text messages online. I was able to get a copy of all my text messages and put it into Excel where I wrote a small program to organize everything. Then I used tools in Excel to slice and dice the data into interesting tidbits. The moral of this vignette is that I like working to make the computer do stuff for me so I have to do less work. ;)

    Interesting insights. =)

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