So now that I’m done teaching that copyediting class (YAY!), I apparently felt the need to find something new to swallow up every free moment, but at least this time, I’m having some fun with it: scanning our scores of CDs and organizing our hundreds, if not thousands, of digital music files. Sean and I had been meaning to do this for years, literally, but we’d never quite gotten around to it. Now I’ve completely immersed myself in the project, to the point that I have to force myself to go to bed at night because I simply must copy and format one … more … CD.
The complicating issue is that we have a very diverse music collection, so I have to create a System to address all of it. I eventually decided that different genres should have different parameters for what fields should be filled out and how they should be filled out, and then I had to determine what the genres should be, which took lots of list-making and -remaking, and then I had to hammer our exactly what the parameters should be, and so on, and so forth. I was happily explaining all this to Sean (who nodded along, because he knows enough not to challenge the crazy), and he sensibly pointed out that if the System is so complex, I should create a style guide for it, like I do at work.
So that put an exciting new spin on the whole project. Style guides, for the uninitiated, lay out rules for how different stylistic questions should be answered (serial comma, yea or nay?—that sort of thing). A style guide was exactly what I needed to organize my project—and, of course, to kick it into utterly insane, OCD overdrive in which I spend hours agonizing over where conductors should be listed and how to handle featured artists on R&B albums and what constitutes a compilation. My heavily revised style guide is now eight pages long and far from complete.
But the dorkiest thing is that I’m actually enjoying the project a lot, despite the fact that I’ve started to have cataloging dreams. It’s oddly satisfying to make my way through one of our massive binders of CDs—scanning all but the most embarrassingly ’90s among them—and know that all that music is now at my fingertips in a way that it hasn’t been for years. I’m discovering music I’d forgotten, and I’m ridiculously excited about the prospect of reloading my iPod with all my old-but-new, tidily organized files. It might me take weeks, it might even take me months, but as crazy and overkill as it is, this is a project worth finishing.