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Using MediaMan for the first time

After installation, the application shortcut should appear in Start menu. Click this shortcut to start MediaMan.

The startup screen presents 3 options to create a new collection file, or open an existing one. Option "Create Empty Collection and Import Samples" might come in handy if you are creating the collection for the first time. MediaMan uses the file concept to store contents of the collection, it will prompt you about the location and name of the file to save. The entire collection, including all folders, items, and pictures are stored in this file.

MediaMan will create your file, then opens the Import Panel (same as pressing F8) and starts importing sample items automatically. The import process is semi-automatic, and this applies not only to samples, but also to the items you might enter in the future. MediaMan will only require your attention when you have to pick one from multiple results during an import search.

Items imported will be saved right away. Feel free to close MediaMan at any time and you won't lose anything.

To try import your own items, click somewhere in the keyword entry box in Import Panel, enter either the title or the barcode and press enter to import this item. You will be prompted at the Item Detail Panel at the right if there are multiple results to choose from. If you missed it, click the blue result links at bottom right to bring the results up again.

Press F8 or "Import" on toolbar to close Import Panel. Advanced import features are explained here.

Backing up collection file and tips to keep it safe

Once you established the collection with the items, you would never want to do it again. That's why collection file safety could be your primary concern.

We've found many customers who had their collection file wiped-out due to virus-attack or hardware break-down. That's why MediaMan prompts to backup your collection file by default. The first time you close the program, you'll see the backup dialog like this:

[picture: backup dialog]

In this dialog, you can pick a safe location (maybe on an external drive) to store backups of your collection file, and specify a schedule. You may uncheck "Ask me before making a backup" to let MediaMan run backup on schedule automatically.

Additionally, these incidents may cause collection file to damage:

  1. Sudden power-loss
  2. Windows crash (Blue-Screen-of-Death)
  3. Hard drive problems
  4. Not using "Safely Remove Hardware" on USB flash drives* (see technical explanation below)

"Safely Remove Hardware" is especially important if you are using the file on external drives. Most collection file corrupt incidents are related to putting the file on external drives and not using "Safe Hardware Removal" before unplugging. This will damage the file because Windows might not finished writing the file content when you unplug.

Last, remember that a MediaMan Collection File is just like any other files on your hard drive. You can copy it to transfer to another computer or make copies as you wish.

Understanding MediaMan concepts and terms

MediaMan's user interface and help information on this website often make use of these concepts and terms to describe features:

  1. MediaMan Collection File is the file format MediaMan uses to store collection content, it usually comes with .mmc extension.
  2. Import is the process where you enter an item into the collection.
  3. Folders in MediaMan works similar to folders in Windows, it provides a hierarchical structure to classify items, MediaMan used to call them categories. Each item must be assigned to a folder, and it can be reassigned later on. A folder can contain many items. A folder can also contain other folders.
  4. Fields are attributes of items. MediaMan provides a series of fields for different kinds of attributes, such as the Title field, and release date field to define or distinguish items in detail.
  5. Flag is a special field dedicated to item's borrow/rental status tracking.
  6. Tag is another special field, that you can use to classify items based on their nature or subjects. It's different from folders because it doesn't have a nested structure, and that an item can have multiple tags. For instance, an item under "Books" folder may have tags like Romantic, Classic, Haven't Read. Tags are separated by the return (enter) key. The Tag Mode (Ctrl+F3) provides navigation of collection content based on tags, so it helps to further organize collection in addition to folder structure.
  7. Edit is the process where you make changes to fields.
  8. Gallery is the place where you view and manipulate pictures for items.
  9. Attach Files is the process where you link files on your hard drive to items. MediaMan will record the linkage of files so that you can easily open it. However file content will not be transferred into collection.

MediaMan user interface tour

[picture: ui overview]

From top to bottom, and from left to right, the user interface of MediaMan is composed with Tabs and Toolbar, Folder/Tag Panel, Item List Panel, Item Detail Panel, and the Bottom Panel.

Folder/Tag Panel often behave as item navigator, its primary purpose is to select and limit the scope of items.

[picture: item list panel]

Item List Panel lists items within the selected scope. It has different view modes (Virtual Shelf, Detail, etc.) suitable for different perspective of the collection.

[picture: item detail panel emphasizing mode switch area]

Item Detail Panel displays item information (fields) in detail for selected ones. It has got a mode switch area at top. Using these modes, you can also view gallery or start editing the item within the Item Detail Panel.

Bottom Panel shows statistical information about the current selected scope. It also provides quick-access features such as zooming icons and changing sort options.

The thin bar splitting the Folder/Tag Panel, Item List Panel, and the Item Detail Panel can be used as a resize handle to resize these panel. Move mouse to these thin bar until the cursor changes shape, and drag it to resize. You can even drag the splitter to completely hide the detail panel. If a panel becomes invisible, you can still move mouse cursor close to its edge and drag it back.

[picture: tabs and toolbar overview]

Tabs and toolbar provides access to most features in MediaMan. Clicking on tabs (folder, tag, etc.) will make MediaMan switch to tab-defined program modes, in different view layout. Tabs can also be dragged to rearrange order.

Toolbar provides access to features such as collection printing, importing, and view mode switch. Toolbar buttons are collapsible. Clicking the toolbar button (Collection, Views, etc.) will make it expand to display child buttons, links and other things. If you have enough screen space you can choose to expand all of them. Or if you have little screen space, you can click the big arrow at left (the one pointing to the right) to collapse this toolbar button group, and click the arrow at the right of this button to use it as a menu.

[picture: bottom overview]

Bottom Panel provides additional features to scope statistics. To access these features, click any blue links in Bottom Panel to try them. There is a blue star mark at the left of the second line in Bottom Panel. This link will provide graphical chart of statistics under the current scope.

©2003-2011. He Shiming.