Originally published April 28, 2003

CD Organizer an electronic librarian

Iím a sucker for gadgets and every once in a while one comes along that is particularly useful. The CD Organizer by KDS is a PC-controlled disc storage and archiving system that eliminates the more typical storing systems ó shoeboxes, jewel cases and a variety of odd-sized zipper bags. I have so many CDs in unusual locations that it's amazing I can ever retrieve the proper disc when needed.

The CD Organizer has seventy-five trays with accompanying software that catalogs your compact discs with the efficiency of a skilled librarian.It connects to the PC via USB and requires its own power source. The software takes only moments to install and you're ready to consolidate programs discs, drivers, audio CDs or DVDs into a single, electronic library. The discs do not actually run from the Organizer, itís merely a convenient method to archive, store and retrieve your discs.

When you add a new CD to the Organizer, the software automatically reads and archives the disk information, including the title, tracks and folder structure. You can assign your CDs to one of the Organizer default categories, such as Programs, Audio or Video, or create your own unique category. I added the categories of Drivers and Utilities to be more even more specific and detailed. There is also an area to add notes for such information as serial numbers or key codes, for example. The auto detect feature recognizes commercial CDs as well as discs that may have been burned for personal use.

Once the disc is archived, the tray assigned to the new disk magically opens as the new storage location for your data. The entire process for each entry takes only minutes. Once a CD is cataloged, you can view its folder structure and file contents. A search feature lets you find a particular CD by description, file name, title, directory or date.

If a disc is removed from the Organizer, its title in the list changes color, reminding the user to return the disk to its proper place. The lending feature is particularly helpful for system administrators who need to keep track of software.Choose Lend from the Tools menu, and the Organizer checks the CD out to a particular user, much like a book is checked out from the library. Date tracking features prompt the user when the borrowed disc is overdue.

From the Print menu, users can create a hard-copy listing of all CDs and their location in the Organizer. A keypad on the top of the Organizer enables disk retrieval manually, even when the PC is not powered.

The only downside of the CD Organizer is that itís a bit large, about the same size as the average PC tower.This may be problematic for many offices that are already challenged to accommodate their existing peripherals. But if you have plenty of room, you can purchase multiple Organizer towers and link them to a single PC. The KDS CD Organizer retails for approximately $125.  

Cathi Schuler is an Assistant Professor for the School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of the Pacific. She also owns a business software training company, CeePrompt!  cschuler@uop.edu or cschuler@ceeprompt.com or by mail c/o The Record, P.O. Box 900, Stockton, CA 95201. She is on the Internet at: http://www.ceeprompt.com. Click here for past archived columns.  


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