Data Sharing

BC users can share album data via the use of export/import files. One user can create a file containing all the data of a specific album already entered in their database and transmit that file to another BC user. The receiving BC user can import that album file, validate the entries, and then load the data to their database, saving themselves tedious data entry.

Only one album can be contained on a file. The files are created using the JSON format.

Because the entry style of one user may not match the receiving user, BC has a way to validate the data and make it correspond to the importer's format. As an example, one user may enter a song as “Chega De Saudade (No More Blues)” while another may enter it simply as “No More Blues”. The exported song will not match the importer's database so a mechanism is required to synch the entries. The Import Album window provides this feature.

While the import feature provides the way to synchronize unmatched database entries, at this time it does not provide a way to add names and song titles to the importer's database in the case where they do not exist. If the exporter sends a new data element, the importer will use the existing BC data entry windows to enter that element and then import it via the JSON file. This is discussed in more detail later in the doc. A feature to add non-existent items directly via the import is being considered.

Exporting Data

To export an album, first display the album in the Albums window. Once the album is displayed, use the File->Export Album... menu item to generate a file for export. The name of the export file will default to the first 35 characters of the album title followed by “.json”. This can be changed to suit the sender, but the .json extension must be retained for the convenience of the importer. Press save and the file will be created.

Once the file is generated, it must be transmitted to the importing user. The file transmission is done outside of the BC application. Two possible methods are email attachment or Dropbox.

Importing Data

Files are imported by using the File->Import->BC Album menu. A dialog box will appear to select the file. Once that is done, BC will parse the file and display the data in the Import Album window as shown below.

Beyond Category import window

BC will evaluate the data and flag items that need to be corrected and/or added to the database before importing. Items needing attention will be designated using red text.

On initial display of the window, the Load button is disabled. Before the album can be loaded in the database, the Verify button must be pressed to force a review of the data. If the data is determined to be suitable for import, the Load button will be activated to allow loading into the BC database. After load, the Albums window will automatically display the recently loaded album.

Editing the Displayed Data

All data on the JSON files is text. There are no internal keys that will specifically identify a name or song title. The import feature simply looks up names and song titles by matching text.

A user can export data from his or her database, but it may not correspond exactly with what an importing user has on their database. Often this is due to style in entering names - using nicknames (or not), formatting song titles with parenthetical subtitles (or not), etc. To facilitate data element matching, there are lookup fields and popup menus for the purpose of selecting the correct match on the importer's database.

For instance, the exporter may have entered Fats Waller as a artist name, while the importer may have entered Thomas "Fats" Waller. Obviously, to the naked eye these are name variations of the same person. But BC can't know that. It can only match the text against the database. The imported name of Fats Waller will be displayed in red to indicate there is no match on the importer's database. The importer will then use the Personnel Lookup field to find the entry for Fats Waller as stored on their database and select that for use in importing. Once a matching entry is selected, the text will be displayed in black.

In some cases, for instance fields like catalog number, album title, release date, etc., need to be edited to correspond with an importer's preference. The text for those can be edited directly in the field.

Import Album Components

There are 3 sections to the Import Album window:

  1. General album info
  2. Track personnel
  3. Track info

General Album Info

To be added later...

Track Personnel

This section contains two lists, one for the collective personnel on the album and another for the individual players on each track. This is similar (but not exactly like) the way the Albums window displays personnel for an album.

The collective personnel list contains a unique entry for all musicians found on the album. Unlike the Albums window, only unique names are displayed, not all combinations of names and instruments used. The instrument displayed in the collective personnel list is the skill field as used on the personnel entry in the Personnel window. There is no direct correspondence to the skill field and what the musician may actually be playing on the track.

The Track Personnel list displays the actual personnel and their role on each track. The names displayed are only for the track selected in the track list below. The 3 columns in this list display the full name, skill, and actual instrument played on the selected track. In the window shown above, Ray Nance will appear once in the Collective Personnel list, but twice in the Track Personnel list for some tracks - once as playing trumpet and once as a vocalist.

Editing Track Personnel

In the example above, the names of Cat Anderson and Louis Bellson are displayed in red. In the case of Anderson, the exporter used Anderson's full name while the importer has Anderson on the database only using his nickname as the first name. In the case of Bellson, both the importer and exporter have spelled the name the same way but the exporter did not have a skill field entered for Bellson while the importer did. (Skill fields are optional on the database.)

Also notice that in the Track Personnel list, although Willie Cook's name is displayed in black, indicating it was found on the importer's database, the role instrument of cor is displayed in red. The instrument abbreviation was not found. In this case, the importer's database uses the instrument abbreviation of c for cornet.

The Collective Personnel list is where names are resolved to match the importer's database. The Track Personnel list is where roles of the musicians are resolved to match the instrument abbreviations used on the importer's database.

In both cases of the unresolved names, the importer would select the name in the Collective list and then use the Personnel Lookup field to find the corresponding correct entry name on their database and select it. Once selected, press the Update button to the right of the Pers. Lookup field. This will substitute the correct record entry of the importer's database to resolve the entry in the list. Resolving the entry in the Collective list will automatically resolve it in the Track Personnel list.

Names can only be resolved in the Collective Personnel list. Selecting names in the Track Personnel list will not resolve the name there.

Entries in the Track Personnel list can only be resolved for the instrument used on the selected track. To correct the entry for Willie Cook to have the matching instrument abbreviation in the importer's database, select Cook's name in the Track Personnel list and then select Cornet from the Inst. Lookup popup menu to the right of the list.

Only one entry in the Track Personnel can be selected at a time. Also, only the entry for the displayed track can be resolved. The entry for Willie Cook must be changed for each track where appropriate. This is tedious, but unless done this way, we can't have variations of what a person is playing. In other words, if Cook played trumpet on some tracks, we wouldn't want to do a global replace. There are other ways to make this editing less tedious that will be explained later in the advanced section.

Track Info

This section contains an entry for each track found on the album. Only the take type and the song title can be resolved in this section. Any other data in this list that may be different than what the importer would like to see will need to be edited after the album is imported.

The import file will only contain the song title of the track without the composers. In the window, the composers, as stored on the importer's database are displayed. In most cases, there is only one version of a title so there is no problem. In the case of the example above, there are two songs on the importer's database with the name Caravan. In this case, the title is displayed in red and a "D" is displayed in the Dup. column to indicate why it is flagged in red. In the case of the other 2 songs listed in red, there is no title found with those names.

Editing Tracks

The Track list allows multiple selections for editing. This is mainly for the purpose of editing take entries. In the example, each entry has a take designation as "Live" shown in red. In this case, the importer's database has no matching take entry. Selecting multiple tracks and selecting an entry from the Take popup above the list will change each selected entry.

The song names in red can be edited using the Song Lookup field above the list to resolve them. After finding the correct entry using the Song Lookup field, press the Update button to the right of the field to have it substituted in the selected entries in the list. Care should be taken to deselect the entries selected for changing the type before changing the song title entries.