Data Crow is a free, open-source media cataloger and organizer, a multi-purpose tool that helps you to manage a massive amount of data in a single place.
It is powered by an intuitive, customizable user interface and has an impressive amount of features (see below). Although the program comes with a few, standard modules that allow you to organize your books, contacts, containers, images, media, music albums, software, users, there is no limit regarding the number of modules. Advanced users can create their module such as the one listed on the official homepage for "stamps": there is documentation available for those who wish to create their own module. The software is written in Java programming language by Robert Jan van der Waals (the author), and it works on Microsoft Windows®, Mac OS X®, and Linux.
Trademark Note 1: Microsoft®, Windows®, and other product names are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States or other countries.
Trademark Note 2: Mac and OS X are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
- cross-platform including a portable version
- completely customizable software
- excellent cataloger/organizer for movies, audio, software, books, photos, stamps, etc.
- documentation for creation/export of new modules
- loan administration feature
- retrieve online info from well-known services such as IMDB, Amazon, MusicBrainz, and others
- import data from popular multimedia formats: AVI, XVID, MP3, DIVX, MP4, OGG, PNG, JPG, and others
- advanced reporting available in PDF and HTML
- support for multiple languages such as English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Dutch
- clean app: no adware, spyware, bundles or anything like that
Data Crow Review
Setup: Before attempting to install Data Crow, make sure that Java is installed; otherwise the installation will not continue (you will notice an error message: "Java Runtime Environment not found"). Please note that a portable version is also available.
Configuration: As soon as you install and start Data Crow, the "Tool Select Wizard" window will appear with the following message: "Data Crow is divided in modules, such as the software and movie module. Each module has specific tools, such as the online search, that can be used. In this step, you have to select the module for which you would like to use a tool."
A second window will show you how to add or create a new item. The "Tool Select Wizard" prompt window is enabled by default and will appear each time you open the software interface. However, you can easily disable this by unchecking the "Run on Startup" box.
Using Data Crow: When you open the program for the first time, you might feel a little intimidated by its rich user interface. There's a ton of options, and you quickly realize that customization is indeed one of its strongest points.
Play with it: As dumb as it sounds, each time I try a complex tool such as this one, I always try to use almost everything. For instance, what I did was to try the "default" modules by adding a new item to each module, tested the "Find and replace" filter, browse the "Settings" section, used the "Create a report" option, used the "Backup and Restore" function, tried the "Online Search" using IMDB and so on.
If you get stuck, feel intimidated or want to learn more, try the "Help" section (or press F1 from its interface) and you should be able to find a crystal clear answer. The help section is one of the best structured I have ever seen so, kudos for it!
When you get more familiar with the program, feel free to use it as your permanent cataloger/organizer, but please note that is extremely important to learn how to back up your data (just in case that something terrible happens - you don't want to lose your collection). There is a "Backup and Restore" feature in the "Tools" section so make sure that you use it regularly.
Just a few thoughts: I went online and searched for other people's opinions. Some people say that there's a small disadvantage (nothing major) because the program is developed in Java but hey, Java is almost everywhere and the program, at least on my laptop runs like a charm. When I used the online search feature, the program "downloaded" the data from IMDB a little slow but this is probably related to my Internet Connection or the IMDB servers which perhaps has a limit on the number of queries.
I also noticed an interesting comment saying that we manage our stuff using all kind of tools such as iTunes, Calibre, Ant Movie Catalog and so on. Data Crow doesn't have all the features found on other apps, but this has nothing to do with the current program capabilities.
My personal opinion is that the program was designed to help people gather their data in one place and quit using a separated movie, audio or book manager. Probably a good idea would be to allow the program to launch other 3rd party apps such as an audio/multimedia player when someone is browsing his (module) collection.
Conclusion: I love the program, and it was fun to play with and learn more about it. The concept is unique and offers one of the best solutions for those who enjoy the idea of creating an extensive database that can be accessed from a single place. If this software is useful for you, please consider a donation to the author for his excellent work and also for keeping Data Crow free and clean!