Digital Library Organizing

This topic isn’t to request any features I am just curious what others use or do to keep there digital collections organized. On windows I use Yacreader which has a comicvine plugin. Do any of you organize by author? Or storyline?

1 Like

Hello, I’m on a Mac, and organize on folder By Series or Character (depending on the amount of issues I have for each). But I use the App Comckaze, where I can sort and search by any tags.

I used to put Author on the tags too, so I can make smart playlists, but it was in an old App that doesn’t work anymore!

I’ve been trying to organize my Batman comics by run. The rebirth Batman series for example on some of the sites I’ve been to show the order by three different authors. It shows reading all star then rebirth Batman followed by detective comics.

From a librarian standpoint, this is always a fraught issue because you have significant named authors that are widely recognized, like Alan Moore and Grant Morrison and so on, which you would think would make sense to then alphabetize based on author. However, with title runs that’s a terrible method for sorting because you end up with Batman all over the alphabet of author.

It’s less bad to only organize titles by series name, since if you’re looking for Grant Morrison’s run on Batman, you just locate him in the timeline. It separates his work on non-Batman titles from the rest of his work, so if someone was a big Morrison fan it puts more work in it for them.

Then there are separations into the two big publishers and then a third category of “Indie” which is everyone who is not Marvel or DC, which is weird because it’s not like Fantagraphics or Dark Horse are some up and comers you’ve never heard of before.

This is why metadata tagging is obviously the best solution for this issue, but it’s work. And I mean it’s a time consuming process if you have a huge library and you haven’t done the work all along. It’s going through title by title and making sure you have the author name correct and in the same format across all uses, the illustrator’s name, the inker’s name, the colorist, and as deep down the credits as you wish to go. Then there’s the series title. It’s “Detective Comics” not “Batman” or “Legends of the Dark Knight.” Then there’s storyline run, like “The Long Halloween.” And the issue number, and what do you do when the title decides they’re going to mess with the numbering of issues?

“Swamp Thing” #1 came out November 1, 1972, ran for 24 issues and was canceled in 1976.
In 1982, they rebooted the title, came out with “The Saga of the Swamp Thing” which was on the cover for 30 issues, but they officially changed the name starting with issue 46 where it became “Swamp Thing” and ran like that until it was canceled with issue 171 in 1996.
“Swamp Thing” returns in 2000 with Issue #1, which only runs until 2001.
Revived again in 2004, “Swamp Thing”, starting with issue #1 ran for 29 issues and was canceled again in 2006.
The series that would not die came back as “Swamp Thing” in 2012 and ran for three years before dying in 2015, running from Issue #1 to Issue #40.
2016 saw a 6 issue mini-series entitled “Swamp Thing” which starts with issue #1.
And our very own 2021 saw the character return in a new series “The Swamp Thing” (Note the “The” now at the start of the title.) And this, of course, started with Issue #1.

Obviously in this case, the metadata for Volume is the best option for keeping track of these issues, but as you can see, as I said earlier, it’s WORK.

For the organizing of the files themselves (thinking of them like physical copies), you could do by main character, so you have a “Swamp Thing” folder and within that you have “Volume 1” as a folder, “Volume 2” as a folder, and so on, even including “The Swamp Thing” and “The Saga of the Swamp Thing.” Because frankly I can’t see any better way of doing it than that and getting super pedantic into boxing up each title as a separate folder just separates the series in ways that aren’t helpful.

The size of the runs that deserve nested boxed folders is of course up to you. Mini-series characters that never reappear are their own thing. Single issues are there own thing, etc.

I’ve learned from organizing my Plex library of music, movies, audiobooks that it’s just best to create at least one folder for every single series. Even if it’s a single title in a series that’s outside of the normal numbering sequence. So you’d have a folder for “Batman” and inside that folder you’d have a folder for “Detective Comics” and a folder for “Batman” and a folder for “Legends of the Dark Knight” and a folder for “Batman: The Killing Joke” even though that last one is a single issue title.

This creates a consistency which ultimately makes it easier to sort and to find titles if you’re visually scanning your folders.

On the metadata side, you’ll want to sit down and think about your tagging structure and plan for it and then keep a separate text file document or spreadsheet or whatever system works for you, and keep all your tags in that as the official source. That way when you’re tagging crossover events you are making sure that you are being consistent. “Countdown to Final Crisis” can be tagged with that specific title but since it’s a “Final Crisis” adjacent title, you’d want to include that tag as well, and then you’d want to tag issues like Batman 682 and 683 with “Final Crisis” so you pick up the arc of the story.

And unfortunately, there’s no easy and foolproof way of doing this. Some plugins on some libraries will catch some titles but they may be incomplete in data and whoever uploaded the metadata to the site might not have been as fully informed as someone else who did the same, so you end up with a “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader” and a “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader, Part Two” when it’s the same story arc and there was no need for that second part to the story arc tag.

Then don’t even get started on the metadata for character names because you’ll get “Penguin,” “The Penguin,” “Cobblepot,” “Oswald Cobblepot,” “Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot,” “The Penguin (Cobblepot)” and so on and so on.

The truth is, no one at the publishers cares about this except the archivists whose job it is to keep things straight for the occasional writer or editor who actually cares about continuity. All 3 of them.

So you can organize to your heart’s content, but just beware of relying on any site at all for definitive data.

1 Like

I used to user ComicRack and had complicated way of doing it but after it’s iOS client died I gave up on all of it.
Now I just run this sort in filebot:


I use Komga which is a media server for comics, a little like Plex/Jellyfin for videos. I save my comics based on series, but thanks to Komga, which interface with Comicvine, I can search by authors, storilyne, …, basically any information supported by Comicvine. And it also easily allows me to keep track of what I’ve read (and even more easily once Panels will add the integration of Komga api :wink: )

1 Like