A reader sent me an e-mail asking if Bento, FileMaker’s “simple” database tool, could read and import an iTunes library. It can’t, unfortunately, but if it could, it would be a very useful way for people to examine and organize a library. Not only would it be practical to view a music library in Bento, but given that the program offers a number of search options, users with large libraries would be able to search and sort in different ways.
In addition, record collectors who still buy those plastic and vinyl discs could take it with them on an iPhone or iPad when they visit record stores to know what they have and what they don’t. One of the features Bento touts is the use of the program to organize collections, and this would fit in perfectly. (The company has many user-created templates available for download, and there are a lot of templates for managing collections.)
All Bento would need to do is to be able to parse the iTunes Library.xml file, which is quite simple, and be able to create individual records with the information they contain. Adding album art would be a bit more complicated, but this should be possible as well.
While the number of people interested in this may be limited, I’m sure there are still a lot of people who would benefit from this ability. I get occasional e-mails from people who organize lots of sound files in iTunes – sound effects, sermons and others – for whom these advanced sorting and searching features would be a big help.
Update: There is a way. See Doug’s comment below.