Personal Video Database

English => Help => Topic started by: on September 30, 2010, 08:48:12 am

Title: 1060 Importing Existing Collections [In Progress]
Post by: on September 30, 2010, 08:48:12 am

(  On this page:
  • Introduction (#post_intro)
  • Identifying Data Sources (#post_s1)
  • Preparing Data for Import (#post_s2)
  • Using the Data Import Plugins (#post_s3)
  • Case Study: Importing the IMDb Top 250 (#post_s4)


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PVD includes import plugins for Excel files and text files in CSV format. Regardless of where the information comes from, if it can be arranged in the necessary format, it can be imported. The best tool for doing that is a spreadsheet. If you have Excel, use that and the Excel import plugin. If you don't, use any other spreadsheet application to prepare the data, save it in CSV format and import it using the CSV plugin.

As for plugins that import data from other applications, there is only one—the Ant Movie Catalog ( plugin (download ( So this topic will focus on the universal method of importing data from any source—using a spreadsheet as an intermediate step.

For the purpose of this topic, "existing collection" means anything which is—or can be converted to—a list of movie titles, which may or may not include information in addition to the titles. Even if it's just a simple list of titles, importing that list will be much easier than entering them manually, one-at-a-time.

Identifying Data Sources

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If you don't have an existing "database," there are many possible sources of movie lists you should consider. If you do have an existing database, you may want to add additional movies from such sources to your import. Even those will established PVD databases may find it useful to add movies from lists. Additional movies can be imported at any time.

Here's a list of sources to consider:

Preparing Data for Import

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Review of Excel use and tips.

Using the Data Import Plugins

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The plugin is not dependent on headings in the Excel file. As long as the configuration has the correct sequence of columns specified, it will work even if there is no heading row. On the other hand, it does recognize the first row is headings, if that's what they are. It's helpful to be able to view descriptive headings while entering the configuration—where the fields must be listed in exactly the same order as the columns in Excel.

( Import config.png)

When importing additional information to existing records, the following confirmation dialog appears. It may seem straightforward, but can be a little confusing when one appreciates the import works on a field level, not just for each record as a whole. This is what each option does:

( Import confirmation.png)

This dialog will appear for each record already in the database unless "do not show again is checked"—then the response is applied to all records imported.

It's easy to assume all records will be "updated" when choosing Overwrite. It can be important to recognize blank fields in import records will not cause existing data to be "deleted." If this is what is intended, blank cells in Excel should be changed to "null" or "delete me," which can be deleted in PDV after importing (if available for the field, using multiple movie editor).

Case Study: Importing the IMDb Top 250

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( Top 250.png)

Cut & paste this into Excel, and create...

( Top 250.png)

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Title: Re: 1060 Importing Existing Collections
Post by: on September 30, 2010, 08:55:26 am
Title: Re: 1060 Importing Existing Collections [In Progress]
Post by: deazo on October 01, 2010, 08:06:51 am
Rick, correct me if I am wrong but if I remember well, when I imported an existing collection into another one using CSV import, the "date added" field was not captured, and all "date added" values became the date when I imported the collection.
Even if choosing to overwrite.
Title: Re: 1060 Importing Existing Collections [In Progress]
Post by: on October 01, 2010, 10:51:08 am
If a record in the import file doesn't exist in the database, then it's going to be added and Date added set to today. To set it to a value specified in the import file, run the import again. The second time, Date added will be set to the import value, and not set to today—because the record is only being updated, not added.

Since the import works on the field level, it can be run any number of times to add, change or rearrange data. That's a big help when creating a new database from an existing collection, and you're not too sure on the exact design or content of the database. In this case, the answer is to just run the import again. In another situation, it may be to add another column of data to the import file, map that to a new custom field, and run the import again to add the additional data.
Title: Re: 1060 Importing Existing Collections [In Progress]
Post by: deazo on October 03, 2010, 08:22:33 pm
I didn't know that. Good thing I kept the old database, I can re-run the import to change the date, nice one!